Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid

Reviewed By David Cornelius
Posted 12/20/04 20:11:13

"Will put you in one of them Eric Stoltz movie-length comas."
1 stars (Sucks)

I’ll admit it: I kinda liked “Anaconda.” Despite its every last bit of stupidity, I had a good time watching anyway - all its dopey B movie excesses reminded me why I like B movies in the first place. That confession made, I also admit to actually wanting to see “Anacondas: The Hunt For the Blood Orchid,” an in-name-only sequel that just had to have its own fair share of accidental brilliance. I mean, the thing takes place in Borneo, where there are no anacondas. Oh, and for a while, the movie was going to be called “Venom,” never mind that anacondas are not venomous. No matter. I was determined to love this movie.

Turns out, to my great dismay, that I was bored for 97 minutes straight. This is a film that manages to take what should have been delirious camp fun and turn it into a struggle to keep any remote interest. And I’m not only ticked that the movie turned out to be so very bad. I’m ticked that even in badness, the film failed to entertain. Consider a scene in which our heroes go over a waterfall, despite their course being upstream, making such a fall impossible. This should’ve left me howling with glee. Instead, I was checking my watch.

And then, there’s the ending. Let’s just skip recapping all that dumbass plot (Morris Chestnut leads a group of jerks going Borneo, where they find a rare plant, find snakes, get eaten, yell a lot, etc.) and go right to the finish. For the final act of the story, director Dwight Little (whose only good movie was “Murder At 1600,” and back off, I actually liked it) decides to shoot everything in available light. Mind you, the last third of the film takes place in the dead of night, meaning moonlight, flashlights, and torches are our only means of seeing anything at all.

Now, there’s a reason filmmakers have for a century now cheated when it comes to lighting night scenes. It’s because otherwise, we, the audience, can’t see diddly crap. Which is what happens here; the film becomes a game of Spot the Actor. And it’s a royal pain in the ass, to say the least. Of all the movies to ask you to strain to keep up, this is not one worth the extra effort.

That’s if you’re still watching anyway. “Anacondas” is a series of bad actors playing annoying characters that beg you to go find something else to watch, and fast. Here’s a cast so bad that its villain is played by a British actor whose British accent sounds fake. I’m not sure how one accomplishes such a feat, perhaps years of training at the Horrible Actor Academy, followed by a chance to see the Academy’s equivalent of James Lipton interview Freddie Prinze, Jr., complete with a Q & A session with the audience afterward about how he prepared for “Wing Commander.” But I digress.

In addition to Lame British Guy, we also get Obnoxious Black Dude (who’s so overplayed in his hip hopness that I’m surprised he didn’t say “oh snap!” every five minutes), Screechy Girl (whose obnoxious horror movie screams will leave you hunting for things to jab into your ear), and, most of all, Serious Action Man. Serious Action Man, played here by Johnny Messner (“Tears of the Sun,” although I don’t remember much about that movie either), is the rugged boat captain who always talks like someone just punched him in the throat. Serious Action Man gets to say, with his raspy throat punch voice, such nuggets of wisdom as “Everything gets eaten out here. It’s the jungle,” and “If you need anything... well... if you need anything, you’re shit out of luck.”

Again, why aren’t I in hysterics at how wonderfully dumb this all is? Because despite its every effort to be magificently, uproariously asinine, it still manages to be a colossal bore. This is a movie that’s so un-fun that merely keeping up with it becomes a major hassle. What I wanted was more Jon Voight-getting-regurgitated; what I got was third-raters-yell-at-each-other. When a lover of awful cinema thinks your bad movie is dull, it’s time to get a new bad movie.

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