Round 8, Pick 4
Paramount Pictures PG-13 for action and violence
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn, and Penelope Cruz
Implausible Fun in the Desert
Sometimes with action/adventure movies, you have to turn off the brain, firmly place the tongue in the cheek, and enjoy the ride. Unless you’re expecting the next groundbreaker since Raiders of the Lost Ark , today’s adventure flick is here simply to excite you apart from too much thinking.
Such a film is found in Sahara , a swashbuckling, treasure-hunting escapade starring buff Matthew McConaughey and goofball Steve Zahn. Both stars set off to Lago, Nigeria in search of (believe it or not) an ironclad battleship that reportedly disappeared from Virginia during a Civil War battle. Along the way, they meet up with a doctor of the World Health Organization (Penelope Cruz), who believes there is a plague developing in Mali.
Unbeknownst to all three, Africa dictator Kazim (Lennie James) has a hidden agenda behind the plague and will do anything to make sure no one gets in the way of his plans. Soon, our exploring heroes have to combine brains and muscle in order to find the source of the disease and possible remnants of a skeleton ship.
I agree, this sounds preposterous, and it is.
Yet, what stays with you isn’t the movie’s plot but the high-speed boat chases, whacky camel rides, Zahn’s sidekick charm, and one heck of an explosive ending (pun very much intended). Just know that Sahara (so loosely based on Clive Cussler’s novel that Clive wanted nothing to do with the project) isn’t afraid of what it is on the surface – an illogical, funny, testosterone-prone trip that will probably keep you enticed if you enjoyed such movies as The Mummy , The Rundown , or Tomb Raider .
Every action/adventure film has at least one exciting chase scene that becomes a favorite. Mine is the concluding truck chase extravaganza in The Road Warrior (1981). It’s survival of the fittest in a post- apocalyptic Australia as Mel Gibson races a monster tanker passed Mohawk-shaven anarchists in man- made vehicles of doom. Director George Miller captures the chase scene perfectly by setting up more than a dozen of cameras in different locations and simply yelling, “Action!” It’s brilliant, primitive filmmaking at its best.
Please feel free to share your favorite chase scenes!
Thank you for reading,