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Komodo Reviews

JURASSIC PARK goes South in this direct-to-video monster flick. On Emerald Isle, NC (a real place, despite the Georgia license plates on the sheriff's car), someone abandons a cache of illegally imported Komodo lizard eggs. Nineteen years later, the parents of young Patrick Connelly (Kevin Zegers) are slaughtered by the Komodos (the world's largest lizard, carnivores averaging 10 feet in length and weighing up to 300 pounds), who get his little dog, too. Some time later, the island is deserted save for abandoned houses and the remains of evil Pontiff Pentroleum's oil-drilling station. The practically catatonic Patrick, now a young teen, lives in a tony nursing facility. Victoria (Jill Hennessy), a psychologist hoping to help, insists Patrick return to the site of his parents' death to face his fears. Annie (Nina Landis), Patrick's nurse, of course protests: "The boy just needs to rest!" Eventually the trio and a kindly ferryboat operator (Michael Edward-Stevens) venture onto the island — where one of them is almost immediately killed by Komodos. The rest run and scream, encountering more lizards plus two kibitzing hunters, Oates (Billy Burke) and Denby (Paul Gleeson), who've been sent by Pontiff to quietly slay the dragons. There's some flimsy back-twaddle about Oates being unfairly suspected of his wife's death and blackmailed by a Pontiff fixer (Simon Westaway) to hunt the lizards. There's additional undeveloped twaddle about the lizards excreting "a super-infection," plus a "Patrick of the Jungle" subplot that comes out of nowhere and returns there. The relentless monster action one expects form a movie like this actually relents quite a bit, though the CGI and animatronic Komodos are well done and seamlessly interwoven; first-time director Michael Lantieri is a special-effects supervisor and was the dinosaur-effects specialist on the first two JURASSIC PARK movies. Among the actors, Burke shows terrific promise, while Hennessy, unfortunately, has all the emotional range of the lizards.