Reviewed by: Phil Layton
Just when you thought you’d seen it all with movies about natural disasters, volcanos, tornados, and aliens, Sony Pictures comes out with a monster-piece that tops them all off, so to speak. Yes, indeed, an entire movie dedicated to a forty-foot long slimy, slippery snake practically the size of Leviathan. Unfortunately, the film didn’t even live up to the “scary” B-movies of the seventies, and I’ve seen better special effects on home videos. In case you didn’t guess by the preview, this flick is no “Jaws” blockbuster; it’s not even up there with “Congo”. Before I get too far into this review, I must confess that Ice Cube was the best actor in the film, which should already tell you something.
We join our all-star cast on a Brazilian jungle cruise, hoping to make a documentary on a legendary lost tribe deep in the Amazon. All is well until the boat (and movie) loses course when Danny Trejo, a python poacher, joins ship. Our motley crew consists of an American who talks about how the river makes him “horny,” a British gentleman who tees off at least 1,392 golf balls from the boats' deck during the course of the film, two females whose job is wearing tight clothing, locals who don’t sound anything like the accents of my Brazil native friends, and, of course, our hero—Mr. Cube, our Photographer / Rapper / Serpent-slayer. At first we ignore the acting (I’ve seen better in high school plays) and expect some half-baked “Jurassic Park” thriller or at least some “Jaws”-style action. But our fears subside when we see the fake snake up close and realize the only thing scary is how this script managed to slither by Sony Pictures executives onto the big screen.
Now for the bad news: In one of the more realistic scenes, an underwater cockroach swims into the mouth of our American friend (I’m not sure how it managed to get through his Scuba gear, face mask, and mouth-piece). And the big boa isn’t like those big heavy snakes at the zoo, mind you. These mechanical computer-animated beasts defy both physics and logic, travel faster than cheetahs, don’t die when set on fire, and they seem to be able to fly. In one scene, when the British guy falls off a 60 ft. waterfall, our Super-Serpent, still at the top, swoops down and catches him in midair, swallowing him while dangling in space. But nothing beats the scene when the already-eaten bad guy is barfed back up, and winks at Ms. Lopez—in all his regurgitated splendor!!!
You get the picture. The only reason I’m wasting my time in writing this is so you won’t waste your money watching it. In all fairness, a couple guys said they thought the show was all right. 1 Cor 6:12 reminds us, “All things are permissable but not all things are profitable.” In all movies and endeavors we undertake, we should consider Paul’s words.
Christian note: This film is rated PG-13 for some swearing and violence like guy’s eyes popping out, which look more like painted ping-pong balls. There is no sex or full nudity in this film.
Year of Release—1997