Boston's Alternative Source! image!

R: ARCHIVE, S: REVIEWS, D: 04/17/1997,


ALT="[Anaconda]" align=right width=225 height=153 hspace=15 vspace=5> Forty-foot homicidal snakes or not, a bunch of film-school types venturing into the heart of the Amazon can only spell trouble. Resembling a Gap ad rather than a jungle expedition, boarding a riverboat so rickety it makes the African Queen look like the QE2, these kids have "animal chow" written all over them.

The crew -- led by scrawny anthropologist Eric Stoltz, rounded out by gangsta cameraman Ice Cube and sundry urban hipsters -- are heading out in search of the Shirishama Indians, who they hope to film. What they find instead is an ex-priest and snake trapper named Paul Sarone (Jon Voight).

Sarone is a bad, bad man who spends a good deal of time plotting, looking maniacal, and causing a great deal of trouble. If Voight is basing his character on Joseph Conrad's demented jungle-ite Kurtz, he must have misread Conrad's title as Heart of Dorkness. He scowls, he sneers, he scowls some more -- he had the audience hooting with laughter. A virtuoso performance.

Less praiseworthy is Stoltz, who spends most of the movie flat on his back. Ice Cube is nothing less than preposterous. As for the creature who plays the title role, it's lean, it's mean, and it has a delightful habit of spitting up its partially digested prey. At the Cheri, the Fresh Pond, and the Circle and in the suburbs.

-- Chris Wright