The Scoop: 2005 PG-13, directed by Jim Wynorski and starring Michael Paré, Michelle Borth, and Ryan McTavish
Tagline: The Ultimate Battle.
Summary Capsule: A group of meddling environmentalists finally get what’s coming to them in the form of giant, scaly, fanged death. It’s less interesting than you’d think.
Al’s Rating: Cold Blooded.
Al’s Review: Ed Wood was once quoted as saying “Plan 9 is my pride and joy. We used Cadillac hubcaps for flying saucers in that.” He’s referring, of course, to his magnum opus, Plan 9 From Outer Space. Plan 9 is almost universally considered to be the worst film ever made, but, then, Ed Wood made nothing but bad films anyway. Bride of the Monster, Glen or Glenda, Necromania (which I admit I haven’t seen, but I feel confident adding it to this list); they’re all, to one degree or another, unwatchable crap. But he loved making movies. It was his heart’s desire his entire life, and he got to make it happen. Look at that quote of his again.
The first sentence: “Plan 9 is my pride and joy.”
The second sentence: “We used Cadillac hubcaps for flying saucers in that.”
Those are not two phrases that should not be in the same conversation, yet Ed Wood mashes them together gleefully and talks about this ‘special effect’ as a real cinematic accomplishment. His films are total failures on every level, but each one is thick with his enthusiasm and earnestness. He *really* wants it to work this time and can’t wait for the moment when the magic is going to happen. That’s why people know the name Ed Wood, even nearly 30 years after his death. I think of that, then compare it against bloated tripe like KvC: Komodo vs Cobra, and can’t help but feel like a little part of American cinema is officially dead.
Despite the odd, pseudo-nostalgic corner that the straight-to-video market has turned recently, where titles like Earth vs the Spider and Teenage Caveman deliberately ape 50’s horror in an attempt to make you yearn for “so bad it’s good” schlock that these movies themselves can’t actually deliver on, I felt a glimmer of hope in Komodo vs Cobra. I thought that something so completely absurd, right down to the hipster ‘KvC’ prefix, had to be a labor of love. I thought that, even in the moldy depths of MTI and York Entertainment, this could not have possibly been greenlit without some wet-behind-the-ears visionary director looking to craft his own personal Evil Dead. I thought I may have found a DTV gem amidst the labyrinth of Hellraiser sequels and movies starring Eric Roberts.
KvC: Komodo vs Cobra is the farthest thing imaginable from all that. It is the worst kind of whitewashed, uninspired, dissatisfying garbage that a film studio can shlep out. The plot they’ve cobbled together is one part Jurassic Park, one part Resident Evil, and one part Land of the Lost: A group of hippie peaceniks from an organization called One Planet and a plucky reporter looking for a career-making scoop charter a boat to a small south pacific island where the US government is allegedly doing illegal genetic experiments. When they arrive, they find the island facilities deserted of people but overrun with gigantic komodos and cobras that are hell-bent on eating every living thing on the island. With the experiment gone awry, the military is also keeping an eye turned towards the goings-on and counting down to the communications deadline, when they will napalm the entire project out of existence. When their boat is unexpectedly destroyed, our heroes are must race against the clock to find a way to safety while defending themselves against the encroaching reptile hordes.
In a better film, that’s a plot a director could do a lot with. Scrappy bands of character stereotypes, countdowns to destruction, and gargantuan man-eating lizards are all ingredients that (for me, at least) would seem to stew into a treat that’s tough to spoil, but KvC wastes no time in getting as boring as yesterday’s oatmeal and makes no attempt whatsoever at rising above it. Our titular K’s and C’s fall somewhere between the realms of Ray Harryhausen and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, snapping and growling with all the realism of Hoody Doody (but without the threatening demeanor). I wasn’t expecting Balrogs or anything, but these are some seriously disappointing critters. Maybe it’s for the best that they spend the majority of the movie offscreen. In the entirety of our film — entitled Komodo vs Cobra — we get exactly one fight that actually pits a komodo versus a cobra. It happens eighty-five minutes into our ninety-four minute feature and ends just over the eighty-eight minute mark–and it is, of course, liberally padded with extended reaction shots from our characters.
So if most of Komodo vs Cobra does not prominently feature komodos or cobras, what are they filling our screen time with? Talking, of course! And Holy John Moschitta Jr can these people talk. Despite their recent demotion to the status of ‘appetizer’ and the impending annihilation of their squatting space, our band of idiots seems to have no qualms whatsoever about stopping to blather endlessly about their feelings and treading on God’s domain and all sorts of topics that bring them not one inch closer to avoiding death via nasty, big, pointy teeth or death via gigantic, fiery explosions. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t really see the need for these people to be saying anything other “RUN FASTER! THE KOMODO IS GAINING ON US!”
So, Komodo vs Cobra is junk. It’s not so much a film as it is a funny title that exists solely for suckers like me who will chuckle at it’s goofiness and then force themselves to endure the insipidity of the actual film because we paid four bucks for the rental. It’s a scam. It’s made by small-time film executives who don’t care what kind of execrable trash they put out, as long as it turns a profit. So, please, don’t waste your time and don’t waste your money. To put it simply: it sucks.
- The military wanted to inject their soldiers with reptile DNA? How could they think this was a good idea? Does no one read Spider-Man anymore?
- At least on the DVD I rented, they’ve bleeped every swear with bird calls?
- Those guns seem to hold a heckuva lot of ammo?
- The marking on the fighter planes change between wide shots and closeups?
Capt. Stoddard: Okay, people, get comfortable. We shoving off and it’s going to take a little while to get there.
Jerry: How long, Captain?
Capt. Stoddard: Oh, about a three-hour tour.
Susan: So what do we do now?
Sandra: Well, if I brought my guitar we could all sing Kumbaya.
Susan: “Lord, come with me.” That sure is appropriate.
Capt. Stoddard: Is there anything on this island you didn’t supersize?
Capt. Stoddard: If you have to shoot one of those things, make sure my back doesn’t get in the way.
Jerry: Don’t worry, Captain. I’m with One Planet, and, unfortunately, that includes you.
Sandra [into her camera]: No reality TV show can compare to the horror and the tragedy that has befallen this remote spot on the South Pacific. If there was ever and island you wanted to be voted off of, this is it.
If you liked this movie, try these:
- Teenage Caveman
- The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra
- Jurassic Park