Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid

If there's still room on your late-summer schedule for a giant-snake movie, you could do worse than this supremely silly but undeniably fun sequel to the surprisingly successful ANACONDA (1996). Neither Jennifer Lopez nor Ice Cube are back for seconds, but you'll hardly miss them; the snakes are the real stars. This time out the ill-fated jungle expedition...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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If there's still room on your late-summer schedule for a giant-snake movie, you could do worse than this supremely silly but undeniably fun sequel to the surprisingly successful ANACONDA (1996). Neither Jennifer Lopez nor Ice Cube are back for seconds, but you'll hardly miss them; the snakes are the real stars. This time out the ill-fated jungle expedition is led by Dr. Jack Byron (Matthew Marsden) and his partner, Gordon Mitchell (Morris Chestnut), two research scientists who've somehow convinced the suits at the Wexall-Hall corporation to fund what may be the greatest discovery in history: a chemical compound derived from the Perrinia immortalis, a rare orchid found only in the Padrang province of Borneo that Jack and Gordon insist can extend life indefinitely. There are, however, a few complications. The orchid blooms only once every seven years, and then for only six weeks. It's also the treacherous rainy season in Borneo, leaving few boat captains other than gruff Bill Johnson (Johnny Messner) willing to navigate the river that winds its way through the remote jungle basin where the orchids grow. And unbeknownst to either Jack or Gordon, the Perrinia immortalis is the favorite finger food of the Eunectes murinus — the very big and very dangerous species of anaconda that's also native to the region (though herpetologists would probably beg to differ). Like all anacondas, these babies continue to grow until they die, so any snake that's been pigging out on life-prolonging flowers will now be very big indeed. Jack, Gordon and their crew — including a sassy Wexell-Hall rep (J. Lo look-alike Salli Richardson), three of Jack's former grad students (Ice Cube act-alike Eugene Byrd, KaDee Strickland and Nicholas Gonzalez) and Captain Bill's first mate (Karl Yune) — find out exactly what they're up against after a wrong turn sends Captain Bill's boat over a waterfall, leaving our orchid thieves with no choice but to bushwhack their way through the dense jungle. If they reach the orchids before the blooms die, they'll all become billionaires — unless they wind up snake snacks first. The setup is certainly dopey, some of the dialogue is barely worthy of a direct-to-DVD sequel and every last one of the characters is a cliché. The action, however, is decently paced and there are a couple of good, solid scares, along with a few priceless reaction shots delivered by a monkey named Kong in what just might be the breakout performance of the summer.

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