Dir: Luis Llosa
Release Date: 1997
“A documentary film crew on a boat in the Amazon picks up a mysterious stranger who dupes them into pursuing a monstrous and deadly 40-foot-long snake”
Nothing says quality in a movie more than an appearance by Danny Trejo.
Unfortunately, he is in this movie for about 3 minutes.
In that time, he looks worriedly at some screws in slow motion, shoots a wooden step for no reason, climbs up the mast of a small boat and kills himself.
The documentary film crew mentioned in the plot summary we will be in the company of for the next 90 minutes are as follows.
· Eric Stoltz – Famous adventurer out to find an Amazonian tribe. Inexplicably dressed as a scout leader
· Jennifer Lopez – The best damn documentary director there is.
· Ice Cube – Backwards-hat-wearing camera man. Went to college with JLo’s character. Likes giving hugs for things way after the appropriate time to hug has gone.
· Mateo - Greasy haired captain of the “Michaela I” boat they will be travelling on. He has an earring and wears a sweat stained vest. Certain death for this guy.
· Westbridge – The bad guy from Jumanji and Richie Rich’s butler is here playing against type as an uptight Englishman.
· Owen Wilson as Owen Wilson
· The Production Manager – A female who looks destined to be Owen Wilson’s love interest with the odd comedy line thrown in before being eaten alive.
They set off down the river whilst Owen Wilson asks if the production manager is horny. It starts to piss it down and we are introduced to the true star of this movie.
More specifically John Voight with a ponytail.
Even more specifically, John Voight with a ponytail attempting to do a South American accent.
His boat is stranded on the side of the river so they rescue him and promise to take him as far as the next village. We find out he is from Paraguay, can catch fish with a spear, was a priest before tapping into the lucrative Anaconda market and drinks 5 whiskies for breakfast.
(What a guy!)
He tells Eric Stoltz he has seen the tribe they are looking for and has promised to show them where they are in return for saving his life earlier. What’s not to like about this priest/poacher? I’m sure nothing untoward will happen from here on in… until he takes control of the boat and takes them all snake hunting!
That’s the plot out the way. Anything else interesting happen?
Not Really. Though Eric Stoltz does swallow a wasp. Interested? Read on.
They are travelling along happily until some rope gets caught in the propeller and Scout Master Stoltz is tasked with donning a scuba diving suit and going under to cut the propeller free (Must have got his scuba diving badge at camp). He’s down there for about 30 seconds before he starts lashing about. Ice Cube and Owen Wilson dive in and make the save. Mateo instantly notices there is something in his mouth (Eric Stoltz’s, not his own). They open it and see a massive fucking wasp in there.
Our heroic adventurer somehow managed to get a wasp the size of a cockroach in his mouth whilst under water and with an oxygen mask on. How is this possible? It isn’t is it? Something stinks worse than Jon Voight’s accent here. Did Jon Voight sabotage his gear?
We never find out.
Anyway, what do you do when a person has been stung by a wasp in their mouth and has stopped breathing as a result? Well, you’d think some sort of medicine? Seems likely they would have something for this occasion as it’s a professional expedition.
Mateo tells us how poisonous and deadly this thing is and all that’s left is to say goodbye to Eric Stoltz, good night sweet prince.
Or is it?
No scout leader is dying on Jon Voight’s watch.
He grabs a pen. He takes out a knife, covers it in whiskey (that’s his breakfast for tomorrow fucked) and stabs it straight into Stoltz’s neck then rams the empty pen in there so he can breathe.
(Would this work? He wasn’t chocking, he had completely stopped breathing so how does this solve the issue?)
“He’s gonna be alright.” Says Jon Voight. So that’s a relief.
Nothing has been done about the poison still in his body but at least he has a pen sticking out of his windpipe. You can never have too many uncovered holes for other insects to fly into in this sort of place. The next scene is JLo applying a layer of bandage around his neck.
Besides the wasp scene the only other ones of note are Jon Voight Shooting a monkey out of a tree and Jon Voight being vomited out by the anaconda.
Other than that it’s a by the numbers monster film where each crew member gets taken out one by one.
The reveal that Jon Voight is a bad guy isn’t much of a reveal as the music and the look he gives people gives that away within 5 seconds of seeing him. I mean look at him for god sake!
And he does this every scene he’s in!
The snake comes back more than Jason Vorhees in this film too.
It gets shot in the head twice at point blank range with a bolt action rifle.
Gets blown up.
Is fully on fire at one point then finally Ice Cube caves its head in with a sledgehammer.
Eric Stoltz wakes up just in time to remind us he’s a useless bastard in this movie. JLo kisses him and cries at the fact she loves him so much after one kiss and him being unconscious for 90% of the trip.
The trip itself is not a total loss as they end up finding the tribe they were looking for and Ice Cube suggests they film the documentary anyway, bollocks to all the deaths.
It fades to black as I decide the snake looked shit both as CGI and the practical effects they used.
If you want to switch your brain off and watch Owen Wilson get killed by a big fucking snake then this film is currently available on Netflix (UK)
FAVOURITE CHARACTER: Jon Voight – If you can find me a role Jon Voight looks less arsed in I’d like to see it. The accent is horrific, and the role should not have been played by someone in their 60’s
FAVOURITE MOMENT: Either Jon Voight shooting the monkey out the tree just for its ridiculousness or Jon Voight being puked out by the Anaconda. A nice visual set piece it has to be said.
Owen Wilson: “Is it just me, or does the jungle make you really, really horny?”
FAVOURITE DEATH: Jon Voight – Anyone who can wink at someone after being half digested by a snake deserves to win this award