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Review (5.5/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

In Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, a drug company assembles a team of young and good-looking scientists to travel to the deep, dark jungles of Borneo to find a stash of blood orchids that will make the drug company billions of dollars. The orchids contain an ingredient that, in theory, can be used in a pill that will grant people eternal life. The team includes the likes of the money-hungry Dr. Jack Byron (Matthew Marsden), Gordon Mitchell (Morris Chestnut), the Jo-Lo look-a-like Gail Stern (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), southern belle (who loses her accent as the movie goes on) Samantha Rogers (KaDee Strickland), the comical Cole Burris (Eugene Byrd) and the rather unfortunate Dr. Ben Douglas (Nicholas Gonzalez). The group has difficulty hiring a boat to take them up the river since it is the rainy season. But along comes Bill Johnson (Johnny Messner) whose introduction in the movie resembles that of Han Solo from Star Wars. His Milleneum Falcon is a beat up old ship called The Bloody Mary and his Chewbacca is a sidekick named Tran (Karl Yune). Like Han Solo, Johnson is easily swayed by the almighty dollar and he accepts a large amount of cash to take the team up the river, even though dangers looms ahead. Whether he uses this money to pay off a gambling debt to someone named Jabba is never fully explained. As the group gets closer to the blood orchids, they soon realize that something evil lurks in the murky waters and the dark jungle of Borneo. And it is not the deadly spiders, the hungry crocodiles, the blood-thirsty leeches or the well, I suppose, the dead head-hunters. That evil comes in the form of a handful of giant anacondas that are not only horny but extremely hungry and very humongous. Making the anacondas horny makes them that much more dangerous - it is mating season. A "B-movie" ensues.

Anacondas is a movie that never takes itself too seriously. At least I hope it doesn't. Because if it does, the movie is a collosal failure. The audience at the screening I attended was cracking up the entire movie and that's what makes Anacondas a decent, but far from perfect, movie. It was fun. The audience had a hoot in this one. And I will admit, there were a few scenes that I found a bit intense and somewhat scary. But in the end, the movie is filled with bad acting (it is pretty bad when the monkey is the best actor in the movie), a cheesy story, not enough snake and too much of a build-up to the trek in the jungle. It has the sterotypical evil, money-hungry guy with the British accent. The comical sidekick who won't stop shooting out the one-liners even in the face of death. The rough-around-the-edges boat captain who still manages to maintain his Calvin Klein model-like looks. A drunk of another boat captain whose ship is a piece of poo but on that ship he carries a state-of-the art satellite telephone. The oriental partner who has to be one of the first to have his ball munched. This movie has everything from the course "B Movie 101". But it is still a fun movie. Don't get me wrong, I didn't walk out of Anacondas raving about the movie, but I had a good time, had a few laughs (most at inappropriate moments), had a couple of scares and felt that Anacondas was not even close to the worst movie I have seen in a summer that has unfortunately been full of them. Where the movie did fail was, as I said, not enough snake, too much "blood orchid", nothing really in terms of "cool deaths" (if there is such a thing), an ending that a 12-year old kid could have wrote and too much of the PG-13 shit we have seen going on this summer. And the satellite telephone was pretty bad too. As a sidenote to the director, Dwight Little, dude, you went to the pet monkey way too often. It was funny the first time, cute the second time, but when you kept going back to the monkey for his reaction to every single last situation, you really blew it.

In the end, don't expect anything more than a 21st century B-movie from Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid. It is worth a good laugh if you want to check it out but I would probably wait until a very cheap matinee or video for this one. The fact that this movie didn't go straight to video is a miracle in itself. This movie is not a horror classic folks. Be prepared for a good laugh.

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