Anacondas The Hunt for the Blood Orchid
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir Dwight H Little
scr John Claflin, Daniel Zelman, Michael Miner, Ed Neumeier
with Johnny Messner, KaDee Strickland, Matthew Marsden, Morris Chestnut, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Karl Yune, Nicholas Gonzalez, Eugene Byrd, Andy Anderson, Nicholas Hope, Peter Curtin, Denis Arndt
release US 27.Aug.04, UK 8.Oct.04
Screen Gems
04/US 1h36

"Just scream for five more minutes then you can hit the pool": The cast toughs it out in Fiji

messner strickland chestnut
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Anaconda was so awful (it beat Batman & Robin for my Worst of 1997 award!) that no one expected a sequel. Then like a snake created in a hack screenwriter's mind and not remotely related to anything that exists on earth, it's suddenly back in our face.

Bill (Messner) is the hunky American skipper hired by a pharmaceutical research team to take them up a Borneo jungle river in a rickety boat called (heh-heh) Bloody Mary to get samples of the ultra-rare blood orchid, which may be the secret to eternal youth. Bill is happy about the big fee, but he and his sidekick (Yune) earn it tending to this bickering seven-person team. Especially when, after a fatal error, gigantic anaconda snakes start stalking them like a serial-killer tag team.

As long as you realise that all natural laws and most logical ones have been suspended, this film is rather good fun. At least the filmmakers don't take it seriously like the first film. I mean, watch the pet monkey's hysterical reaction to, quite literally, everything! The desperate-to-please actors have a real go at all the team camaraderie/rivalry stuff--little plot elements designed to keep us interested in their fates and to help us figure out who's going to get chomped next.

Chomped? Hey, I said forget the laws of nature! These anacondas do a lot of chomping and only the rare spot of squeezing. But then they're the size of small commuter trains so they can do what they like. Obviously the cast and crew don't care that this makes no sense--they got a great holiday in Fiji. At times you can see how bored they are with all the screaming, but that only makes it more fun for us to watch. It's a crazed movie that feels made up as it goes along--each plot turn is more desperate than the last, and they even throw in two romances and some extraneous beefcake to distract us. But by then we're having too much fun. Bring back the paralysing spider...

cert 12 themes, language, violence, innuendo 7.Sep.04

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2004 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall