Popcorn Fall

Popcorn Pictures

Reviewing the best (and worst) of horror, sci-fi and fantasy since 2000

  • Andrew Smith

Komodo Vs Cobra (2005)

"The ultimate battle"

Plot

A group of environmentalists hire a boat to travel to an off-limits island that is being used a secret military testing facility for something called Project Carnivore. When they get there they find only one survivor of the scientific team who tells them that they need to get off the island quickly. It seems that Project Carnivore has created giant komodo dragons and king cobra snakes. Can they get off the island before they become the next meal?

 

Think 'versus' films and your mind will wander to titanic tussles like King Kong Vs Godzilla, Freddy Vs Jason and Alien Vs Predator, pitting cinematic juggernauts from separate franchises against each other. Utilising popular characters from established film series allowed these versus films to give fans crossover wet dreams, even if the final output never got even close to matching potential. But in the past twenty years, the 'versus' films have taken a sinister turn for the worst in low budget monster movie hell, seeing all manner of randomly created monsters suddenly squaring up against each other - Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus (and any number of Mega Shark Vs.... sequels), Sharktopus Vs Whalewolf, Dinocroc Vs Supergator, Boa Vs Python....and so on. There's another fight on the books here. On one hand you have the komodo dragon from The Curse of the Komodo; on the other hand the, erm....cobra from King Cobra? I'm not even sure if its just some random snake.



If you've seen Wynorski's previous komodo dragon-themed junk fest The Curse of the Komodo then you're pretty much seen this. It featured almost the same story (only it was bank robbers that got stranded on the island), the same locations (they've clearly re-used exactly the same house and locations to shoot) and even the same actors (Glori-Ann Gilbert, Ted Monte, Paul Logan and Jay Richardson all return only in different roles). This time the only difference is that there's a giant king cobra snake loose on the island as well as the komodo dragon. Oh and there's about a third of the budget too. There are also massive similarities with Wynorksi's Shockwave too - in fact a ton of his 00s output features more or less the same scenario, give or take a switch in location, by swapping out the monster for whatever CGI monstrosity was floating his boat that week.


Something that couldn't be said about his early career work like Chopping Mall but is now plastered all over his recent output is that Komodo Vs Cobra is boring. The komodo and king cobra don't get a lot of screen time and when they do, they don't do much except roar or hiss and maybe eat a human in brief attack scenes. The rest of the film involves the characters running around the jungle or the house, deciding on where they should run to next. I should also add that this may have been remotely interesting had a) there been a decent script and b) there had been some decent actors to deliver a decent script. There's a really unnecessary subplot about some military chief and his deputy who constantly argue over the correct course of action to take in disposing of the island. And the point of this plot is? Nothing except to pad out some running time in an office clearly filmed on the cheap on a rushed Friday afternoon shoot.



I have to quote a character in the film at this point. She says "the monstrous behemoths you've seen on this tape are not the creation of a Hollywood effects wizard." Amen to that. The monsters both move without rustling any trees, leaving marks on the ground, kicking up dust and have an uncanny knack for standing in shadows but not being blackened in the slightest. I think the komodo fairs a little better in the ‘how crap does the monster look’ stakes but it's a pretty close race. Being a ‘vs’ film, I had almost forgotten that we were due a battle between the monsters. Well you'll be waiting until the final five minutes before they duke it out. Actually duke it out makes it sound a bit violent. They just stand and hiss and roar at each other for a few minutes before they're all napalmed to hell by stock footage. CGI effects were meant to be cheaper and allow animators to really bring things to life they couldn't before but it seems that Komodo Vs Dragon and it's ilk are taking CGI back to early 90s levels of video gaming nonsense.


I was madly in love with Michelle Borth whilst watching this. If there is a positive about the film it's that I've seen this woman. She's cute as hell and seems to be a decent enough actress. I can't really judge too much because the film blows and even if she was crap, I like her too much to criticise. But at least she seems to putting in a bit of an effort with her character. It's a travesty that none of the chicks in this film even get close to shedding any clothes. What is a crime is that Glori-Ann Gilbert took a swim in The Curse of the Komodo in all of her glory. So why didn't she repeat the feat here? One other note before I round off is Michael Paré's character of the ex-military man turned fisherman. This guy has superhero abilities to be able to fire off about fifty rounds from a handgun without reloading. I lost track of the amount of times he pumped lead into the komodo dragon and the king cobra without stopping. Someone activated his cheat code.

 

Final Verdict

Komodo Vs Cobra is such a sorry mess of a film that it only gets marks for the cute Michelle Borth and the ridiculous sight of Michael Paré and his never-ending supply of ammo. There have been worse Sy Fy movies but not many have promised as much as this and failed to deliver anything remotely worthy of the title.



 

Komodo Vs Cobra


Director(s): Jim Wynorski


Writer(s): William Langlois, Jim Wynorski


Actor(s): Michael Paré, Michelle Borth, Ryan McTavish, Renee Talbert, Jerri Manthey, Ted Monte, Glori-Anne Gilbert


Duration: 94 mins