Anaconda (15)

Directed by Luis Llosa
Starring Jon Voight, Jennifer Lopez, Eric Stoltz, Ice T, Jonathon Hyde

A film that is so bad, you wonder whether the director was TRYING to make a classic! It is hard to pin down its precise bad points, although Jon Voight's ridiculously over the top performance and dodgy accent is a start.(Surely he MEANT this caricature of a performance?) Then we have the story and script, both of which are very poor. A film crew head off into the Amazon rainforest to film a reclusive tribe. On the way they pick up a stranded sailor-Voight, who turns out to be a snake hunter. He want to capture an Anaconda-alive! Naturally, the journey is a perilous one now, and we the audience play guess the survivors. The script is terribly predictable, and the characters are crude caricatures; black LA homeboy Ice T, repressed and fussy Englishman-Hyde, who used to be a decent actor until he became a professional Englishman for crap Hollywood films. Eric Stoltz bizarrely sleeps through the whole film, literally, although he isn't the most dynamic of actors even when awake. Strange career choice Eric. He has the best idea I think.
The action sequences don't redeem things either- the animated/computer generated snake is frankly unbelievable. The SFX people have been watching too much of Jurassic Park. It may be quite authentic as anacondas go, but it didn't look very realistic to me. Jennifer Lopez as the heroine is moderately spunky, but the films next foible is having her and the other female aboard spend too much time screaming and letting the men go wading around in the water after the snakes. Not very liberated. The finale in an unlikely deserted factory-in the middle of the jungle??- is notable for Jon Voight's demise, and the incredibly predictable, 'it's dead.-Or is it?' surprise. Director Llosa made the similarly bad The Specialist, which also had a way over the top, and wierd accented Rod Steiger. He obviously goes for that. How does such an incompetant film as this get made? Bad story, hammy acting, flashy but unconvincing effects. I suppose on the plus side, the jungle looks quite nice. The film is a right load of rubbish though. 2/10

May 1997

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