Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid Review
The Blood Orchid is an exceptionally rare flower that blooms once every seven years in the deepest jungles of Borneo. Dr Byron (Matthew Marsden), an ambitious scientist, has discovered the orchid contains a chemical that reverses the ageing process by allowing cells to regenerate beyond their natural limit. The drugs that could be made from such a chemical would revolutionise medical science and make their developers billionaires. Unfortunately the existing samples of the flower have been destroyed and, as fate would have it, the orchid is in bloom now and will be for only two more weeks.
An expedition is hastily dispatched to Borneo to retrieve more samples. Byron and his squabbling, makeshift team needs to travel miles downriver in a hurry and the only riverboat captain prepared to take them is Bill Johnson (Johnny Messner), the macho, taciturn skipper of a rustbucket that looks held together with sellotape and chewing gum. When the boat goes over a waterfall and leaves the group stranded without supplies in the middle of nowhere, it looks like things couldn't get any worse, but it turns out the scientists aren't the only ones who know the potential of the blood orchid. The jungle's most fearsome predators, giant anacondas have been eating it for years. It's helped them grow huge and with their size has grown their appetites.
Anancondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid is the belated sequel to 1997's surprise hit Anaconda. That was a wonderfully cheesy monster movie memorable for its dodgy CGI snake effects and a great cast led by Jon Voight as a maniacal Captain Ahab figure and also including a pre-stardom Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson. The sequel's cast doesn't have anything like the same star power. Its hero, Johnny Messner, is like a clone of The Rock but without his sense of humour, Coronation Street's Matthew Marsden is a weak villain and comic relief computer geek Eugene Byrd looks like he's doing a bad impression of Donkey from Shrek. The only actor with potential is the beautiful, southern-accented KaDee Strickland, who makes a decent enough heroine.
Despite these complaints, despite special effects that are actually worse than last time, despite an anticlimactic ending and despite not nearly enough of the cast getting munched by snakes, Anacondas is a serviceable B-movie that resurrects two film genres we don't see enough of these days: the monster movie and the jungle adventure. I had a good time but then I lap this stuff up. I like Jaws 3D and Congo and I've watched the original Anaconda on DVD a shameful number of times. The sequel isn't anything like as much fun and it's not worth trekking to the local multiplex to see but if you enjoy this sort of thing like I do, then when it pops up on Sky Movies, it may just pass the time.