Komodo vs Cobra (2005)

2 10 2009

"The Ultimate Battle" apparently“These aren’t the work of Hollywood Special FX wizards!” warns TV reporter Jerri Manthey who then goes on to make quips about being voted off ‘this island reality show’. Some IMDB digging reveals that Manthey was a contestant on Survivor making that in-joke possibly the cleverest bit of Komodo vs Cobra.

There’s an island in the South Pacific where the US military sponsored a black-ops genetics programme. The idea was to grow mega-food, but then the military decided they should try the growth science on… well, not hamsters. Consequently giant komodo dragons and cobras are let loose and begin to start finding humans eminently edible. The military attempt to shut the operation down but fail and so decide nuking will be the only option. Meanwhile a group of conservationists from the ‘One World’ group have arrived hearing rumours about animal experimentation with a grizzled sea captain and TV crew in tow. They find the research facility abandoned save for a sexy scientist played by Michelle Borth (who came to work there with her father, another scientist, in the fifty-odd years since THEM! nothing much has changed). Then the Komodos arrive…

They really aren’t the work of Hollywood special FX wizards. All the giant monsters have the melted chocolate look of a video game adversary, though to be honest, probably worse. The Komodos especially move like their legs are made of gears and pistons rather than being living, breathing animals. The Cobra fairs slightly better, rising up out of the water (both sea and freshwater) with menace.

We were impressed with the unintentional parallels we could draw with JG Ballard, the conservationists and media crew could have come from Rushing to Paradise. The abandoned white Victorian style house in the middle of the jungle could be from The Crystal World. There though the parallels end as, predictably, one-by-one our protagonists are guzzled by the monsters (no more inventive deaths due to creature action, apart from munching) and THANK GOD – someone managed to land a ready-fuelled helicopter that they can use to escape in. The less said about South Pacific Military Command HQ (basically a doctors surgery inside and out)the better.

Even more galling is that the movie is more or less Curse of the Komodo (2004) with four of the same cast members, same director and some identical scenes. El Mariachi/Desperado this isn’t… I suppose such blatant plagiarism of one’s own work should be applauded, but if we’d seen Curse of the Komodo first we’d be really pissed off.

Komodo vs Cobra was no better or worse than other SCI-FI Channel fair, but with fx that ropey, as the monsters roam about in broad daylight, it’s hard to suspend the disbelief. Even Ridley Scott knew to keep the creature in the shadows…

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