Curse of the Komodo, The (2004)

The Curse of the Komodo (2004)

It’s hungry.

A top secret military experiment on an remote tropical island literally grows out of control as genetically-enhanced komodo dragons begin to run amok. A team of scientists is sent in to assist the termination of the project before it’s too late. Also along for the ride are a group of bank robbers whose chopper is forced to land on the island during a storm. With the chopper damaged, they must seek refuge with the scientists when the dragons attack.

 

Komodo in 1999 threw another animal into the ‘genetically enhanced’ mix by the inclusion of komodo dragons. Those expecting a feeble retread of the same material are in for a bit of a shock as this is in no way anything like its predecessor. Yes it does have genetically enhanced komodo dragons running amok but this time they’re not normal size and more intelligent – they’re just massive, dinosaur-size behemoths with an insatiable appetite. Although the film isn’t particularly good in any respect, I’m finally glad to be able to raise the proverbial hand of a monster flick and say “it delivers what it promises.”

The key to a successful monster flick is, of course, plenty of monster. 90% of the creature feature flicks that I watch contain decent monsters but you’re only going to get glimpses of them. Here, the komodo dragons are on screen a hell of a lot and the camera isn’t shy with them. The CGI dragon looks like something Ray Harryhausen would have created back in his heyday. It actually looks half-decent and the more you see it, the less you think to yourself “how bad does that look?” Too many directors have the idea that because their monsters look crap, they’ll hide them as long as they can. That isn’t the case here and it’s better for it. Finally something to keep the interest going!

I was a bit worried too given that the characters that are introduced are so one-dimensional that I would have a hard time sitting through the dialogue. Thankfully all of the stupidity is confined to the first half of the film when both sets of characters run through their separate plot threads before being bundled together to fight the komodo. I just love these films when random strangers suddenly start bossing each other about as if they know what they’re doing (see the helicopter pilot here – he pretty much takes over leading the survivors the moment he arrives).

Director Jim Wynorski has assembled his usual array of acting talent for the film. This means that the villains will look and sound evil (or stupid depending on what type of villain they are portraying). The scientists will look and sound like they know what they’re doing. The hot chicks act with their chests (the glorious T&A in this film during a swimming scene is fantastic). It’s the type of casting that will have genre fans like me saying “I know him, didn’t he start he star in Hammerhead?” A lot of them are recognisable and a quick IMDB search will allow you to place them in other films.

The acting as a whole isn’t great but the script pretty much dies as soon as the two groups of characters band together. Then all the film consists of is people pointing guns and shooting them at big komodo dragons. And pointing and shooting. And pointing and shooting. After a while you notice that the bullets have absolutely no effect on it whatsoever and they don’t even pierce the skin. Yet the characters continue to shoot regardless. The komodo dragon isn’t that well fed I might add but there’s a few decent moments of gore and cheese. There’s even a Jurassic Park-style chase involving the komodo dragon pursuing a jeep.

 

The Curse of the Komodo was a pleasant surprise. I can’t give it any more stars than I have done for the simple fact it wasn’t that good. But it delivered with the monster and finally a creature feature film lives up to its premise. Cheesy fun with komodo dragons and bank robbers – can you go wrong with that?

 

 ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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