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ANACONDAS: HUNT FOR THE BLOOD ORCHID

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Johnny Messner, KaDee Strickland, Matthew Marsden, Eugene Byrd, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Nicholas Gonzalez, Karl Yune, Morris Chestnut
Director: Dwight Little
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1, Full Screen 1.33:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 97 Minutes
Release Date: December 21, 2004

“It's mating season.”

“What, so you're tellin' me there's some snake orgy in the jungle?!”

“Yeah.”

Film **

One hint at the title Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, and you know what you're going to get won't be on the level of Lawrence of Arabia. Let's face it, a sequel to a B-movie so noted for its choppy special effects involving a giant man-eating snake isn't destined for great feedback. Is this one bad? Well, it's not fantastic, but at the same time, it could be a lot worse.

You'll recall the 1997 release, Anaconda, which featured a cast of then-rising stars in a plot involving a battle of wits against a larger than life snake somewhere in the Amazon. The cast included Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Owen Wilson, and Jon Voight, who was the saving grace of the movie with his over the top villainous portrayal of an insane snake hunter. Somehow the movie ended up a box office hit, and there was a need for a sequel to rake in some extra cash.

Seven years later, the same debacle is about to happen to a new group of potential snake victims. The central plotline involves a group of scientific researchers and their search for the mysterious Blood Orchid flower that resides somewhere in Borneo. What does this Blood Orchid possess? Why the power of eternal youth, of course. I'm not kidding, that's what it really possesses.

With no other source of transportation, the group has no other choice but to hitch a ride with a rugged captain named Bill (Johnny Messner). As their trip down the river progresses, bad things seem to start happening minute after minute. Before long, the boat tips over after heading down a supposed short cut, and they soon find themselves the prey of not just one monstrous anaconda, but a lot more of them, hence the S added on to the title Anaconda.

Normally, a movie like this would easily register no higher than a one star rating from me, but I get the feeling that the makers of this movie were not going for anything more than what ended up in the final cut. Yes, the CGI effects are even more outlandishly bad this time around. The movie does have a tongue-in-cheek sense about itself, so that no moment is taken too seriously. Still, even 97 minutes seems long when too much plot explanation is involved.

In conclusion, if you were a fan of the first Anaconda, and I've haven't come across many who were, then you're bound to get a bigger kick out of this sequel. But for others who appreciate a truly terrifying movie experience, seek just about every other creature movie on the market. Because even on a B-movie level, there are points in this movie that are borderline ridiculous.

Video **

Here was a stunning aspect. This is quite possibly the lowest rating I've given to a video performance in quite some time, but then again, I haven't seen a disc with as many visible flaws as the one in this release. Both anamorphic widescreen and full screen versions are available on this dual layered disc, which may have resulted in the problem. A lot of night sequences, which accompany around two thirds of the movie, seem to have caught a case of the grain virus, if you get my drift. The movie starts out nice enough, where in which picture is clear and colors appear as nice and natural as can be. Again, this was most unexpected.

Audio ****

No complaints here, though, as Columbia Tri Star has applied every inch of snake hiss and human scream to make for one fantastic sounding disc. The 5.1 mix gets the job done in terms of making the most of this relentless B-movie scare fest. I will admit, there was a time or two where I did jump, thanks to the incredible dynamic sound provided by the folks at CTS. The sound made this movie all the more worth watching.

Features **

Featured on this disc is a making of featurette and several CTS bonus previews.

Summary:

With something like Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, what you see is exactly what you get, no more and no less. Fans of cheesetastic cinema will certainly get their money's worth. Everyone else...watch out!!!

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