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ANACONDAS: THE HUNT FOR THE BLOOD ORCHID

The first Anaconda (1997) boasted an eclectic cast (Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Eric Stoltz) and some quirky spins on the beast-gone-berserk formula. This retread, however, has neither stars nor script ó just a slithering crush of computer-generated serpents. In Borneo a team of ambitious (read: greedy) scientists from a biotech company learns that the rare flower of the title (which blooms once every seven years) holds properties that, if spun correctly in a lab, could produce the fountain of youth in pill form. A mound of cash convinces a hardened boat captain (Johnny Messner) to take the landing party upriver at the height of the monsoon season. Once they hit the jungle, itís like opening a can of worms. Crocs, leeches, spiders, and then a massive anaconda "mating ball" make the scene. Eugene Byrd competes for attention with the reptiles as the hip-hop hipster/fraidy cat and Matthew Marsden is a necessary evil as the avaricious corporate Ahab. The rest are snakebites. Director Dwight H. Little tries to rev up the Jaws chicanery a few too many times, and the groupís social dynamic, which feels borrowed from Survivor, could use a touch more reality. (93 minutes)

BY TOM MEEK

Issue Date: September 3 - 9, 2004
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