The straight-to-video feature JUNGLE BOY attempts to rescucitate the vine-swinging adventure genre, but the result is badly paced and unimaginative.
A boy who has chased a monkey into the jungle is rescued from the clutches of the evil leopard Sabre (voice of Ross Hagen) by Bono the elephant (voice of Robert Quarry). With the blessing of the jungle creatures' spirit of wisdom, Deva (Premlal), Bono and his animal pals raise the boy, whom they
name Manling (Asif Mohammed Seth). In the human world, wealthy magnate Singh (Chippy Gangjee) pays nefarious baddie Mr. Hook (Jeremy Roberts) to find a lost statue of Naga the snake god; archeologist John Geller (David Fox) and his niece Anna (Lea Moreno) are searching for the same priceless
artifact. In the meantime, Manling, now a young man, must face a rite of passage--a battle against Sabre. He uses fire to win the combat, thus violating the rules of the contest. Bono is forced to banish Manling from the jungle.
Deva appears and points him toward the human village, where he is taken in by Geller and renamed Krishna. After several run-ins with Geller and Krishna, Hook takes Anna hostage and forces Geller to use his ancient map to lead them to the statue. Krishna frees Anna and Deva appears--directing them
to get Bono and meet at the statue. There, they battle Hook, who shoots Geller in the arm and escapes with the statue. He gives it to Singh, who resurrects the giant cobra god, Naga. The snake-monster kills Hook, transforms Singh into a pig and makes Krishna promise to put his statue back in the
jungle. Suddenly, Anna can "hear" the voices of Sabre, Bono, and Krishna's other jungle friends. She and Krishna kiss before he returns to the jungle.
Borrowing liberally from the "Tarzan" oeuvre, THE JUNGLE BOOK (Kipling's name is evoked frequently in JUNGLE BOY), BABE (1995), and even the Indiana Jones films, the folks at Moonstone Entertainment and A-Pix have manufactured a hokey-looking hybrid that is geared towards undiscriminating
children. While the story line, direction, and technical aspects of the production are basic and functional, the biggest problem with JUNGLE BOY is that the filmmakers forgot to make it interesting...or exciting...or funny...or memorable in any way. The heroic characters are so stonefaced they
practically fade into the backgrounds; the bad characters are simply stick figures. The special effects are extraordinarily cheap, something that will be instantly recognized by younger viewers weaned on the creations of Industrial Light and Magic; even lower-end syndicated adventure series like
CONAN or TARZAN boast more impressive technical wizardry. The Indian locations are wasted, as director Allen Goldstein unwisely steers the viewer's attention away from the scenery, in favor of the characters and their by-the-numbers behavior. Parents searching for solid children's entertainment
should look elsewhere, but those who need to have their child get a little sleep need look no further. (Violence.)
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- Released: 1998
- Rating: PG
- Review: The straight-to-video feature JUNGLE BOY attempts to rescucitate the vine-swinging adventure genre, but the result is badly paced and unimaginative. A boy who has chased a monkey into the jungle is rescued from the clutches of the evil leopard Sabre (voic… (more)