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Starring Tim Abell, Gail Harris, Melissa Brasselle, Paul Logan, Jay Richardson, and Glori-Ann Gilbert
Directed By Jim Wynorski
"How big are they getting?"
"How big are they supposed to get?"
"The largest one on record is over 18 feet."
"Saw one of their turds yesterday. It was over 18 feet."
I saw a huge turd the other day too. It was over 90 minutes. Where to begin on this one?
Once again the military is tampering with Mother Nature in order to breed some monstrous, genetically altered animal for use as a weapon of war. As we all have come to learn from watching countless movies like Piranha 2: The Spawning, this is never ever a good idea and the creature in question always ends up getting loose and going on a rampage. Just once wouldn't you like to actually see a movie where the genetically engineered bioweapon monster is used in the field as intended and not just running amok killing people? I know I would. This time the genetically engineered bioweapon creatures are giant Komodo dragons. Actually, the movie only focuses on one of them but, apparently, the small Hawaiian Island where the experiments are taking place is home to several of these 30-foot Komodo dragons. The other ones must have been off on smoke break or something for 99.9% of the movie.
After soldiers are killed by the gigantic Komodos, the Naval commander behind the illegal top secret project pulls the plug and orders the scientist in charge to clean up the mess (i.e. destroy any evidence of the project). I'm not entirely sure why this incident requires such drastic actions since these creatures were intended to be used as weapons by which to kill soldiers with and by killing those soldiers it proved they could do the job they were made for. Sounds like a success in my book.
Now the hormone formula that spawned these monsters was intended to be used to help end world hunger, so naturally the scientist behind it all isn't pleased with this turn of events since this means the end of his research to use the formula for the benefit of mankind. What a deal. We'll fund your research to develop a formula can be used for food production in order to feed parts of the world suffering from famine but first we'd like you to use it to create some 30-foot Komodo dragons that our military will use in warfare. Makes perfect sense to me.
So back to the island goes the scientist that looks like Michael Chiklis' dad and his faithful female assistant who has long had the hots for the older man of science. Exactly why she's been pining for this man is never really explored so I can only guess that it must be because of how snazzy the man looks running around in those Cub Scout shorts he wears for much of the film. Believe me when I tell you that you see way too much of this guy in shorts.
Along with them at the island compound, which looks more like some Columbia druglord's hacienda, are two of the scientist's top lackeys/Komodo wranglers and his walking lobotomy of a daughter, who has the body of a 30-year old stripper and the mentality of a pre-pubescent girl on Zoloft.
Meanwhile, on a neighboring island, a casino resort gets robbed and the trio of thieves consisting of a sociopathic beefcake, his extremely buxom girlfriend, and some chubby slacker that has dead meat written all over him make their getaway in a helicopter piloted by a sarcastic alcoholic. Unfortunately, they try to make their escape during a severe thunderstorm and end up having to make an emergency landing on the island of misfit monsters. Of this particular group I found the buxom girlfriend the most interesting and not just because she spent a good deal of the movie wearing a white belly shirt that was so tight it seemed as if her nipples could erupt from it at any moment. I swear she could put an eye out with those things. No, I found her the most amusing because virtually every facial expression she made and line delivery she did gave off the vibe of a woman desperately craving a cigarette. I've never seen any actor or actress in a movie before whose performance so reeked of nicotine withdrawal as this woman's.
They all end up trapped on the island at around the time that the Komodo dragons realize they quite enjoy the taste of human flesh. Eventually, everyone not eaten ends up back at the scientist's villa that is the only real safe haven on the island because it is guarded by an electrical force field that keeps the colossal Komodo dragons at bay. Despite being a state of the art invisible electrical force field perimeter system, it is still powered by a gas engine that is running low on fuel.
And if the threat of getting devoured by a huge reptile wasn't bad enough, their saliva is so toxic coming that into contact with it can kill in a matter of hours. But since these are genetically altered Komodo dragons, before killing you the toxin induces a zombie-like state that causes the victim to go all 28 Days Later on everyone else. It becomes painfully obvious real fast that this was just a subplot tacked on with little thought put behind it. First of all, how does one get infected with the creature saliva without becoming a meal in the process? Well, the first guy just makes the mistake of touching some of the goo that was on a leaf that I guess a Komodo used to blow it's nose on. How the second victim got infected is anyone's guess because we saw him get killed from a fatal tail whacking. Either the Komodo's tail is coated in this stuff or it went back later and spit up on his corpse instead of eating it. Doesn't really matter because none of it really amounts to much of anything. This could have been a really neat twist but instead it's just seems like an afterthought that Wynorski and company failed to go all out and have any fun with.
I remember back in 1998 sitting in the theater watching the Emmerich/Devlin Godzilla and wondering which one of them was the idiot that thought people go to see Godzilla movies because they really wanna see a giant monster haul ass. Now here it is 2004 and leave it to Jim Wynorski to one up Emmerich and Devlin. Virtually every encounter with the giant Komodo dragon plays out in exactly the same manner. People shoot at it from a close proximity while it just stands there and takes it. Eventually it will eat someone and then just turn and casually walk away. That's it. Not exactly edge of your seat suspense especially since these confrontations involve a giant sized version of a creature that the movie repeatedly reminds us is the "most dangerous animal on the planet." Even the one scene where it chases after their truck while being shot at plays out exactly the same way except it's legs are moving.
Worst of all these sequences go on for what seems like an eternity. Nothing but people standing in one place shooting at a stationary monster that just growls at them and sort of snaps at them but otherwise shows no reaction to being shot hundreds of time. And I assure you that it was being shot hundreds of time. I rewound the tape and tried counting gunshots during the first real encounter with the beast. I finally gave up once it surpassed 400 gunshots in a single three-minute scene. I'd speculate that by the end of the movie they'd shot a couple thousand rounds of ammunition at that one creature and were rarely ever shown reloading. Once you've finished unloading about 100 rounds of ammo into a monster with no effect it should become quite clear that conventional firearms just aren't going to get the job done. Simple logic like that doesn't deter these people as they keep firing away and the freaking monster just keeps standing there while snarling or snapping at them like an angry puppy. Most dangerous animal on the planet my ass!
And you've got to love the film's brilliant finale. The unscrupulous Naval commander has sent in fighter jets to bomb the island thus wiping out the Komodos, any evidence of their existence, and everyone on the island who could potentially incriminate him later. Despite having been ordered to wipe out everything and anything on the island, the fighter jets seem only interested in bombing a few small random spots of the island and one small area in particular is shown getting blown up more than once. They really had it in for those few acres for some particular reason. Meanwhile our heroes successfully escape by helicopter because the fighter pilots on a scorched earth mission apparently forgot that military planes are capable of shooting down other airborne vehicles and not just incinerating agriculture.
Now to be fair, I am reviewing the Sci-Fi Channel edit of the movie so pretty much all of the blood and gore and T&A money shots are not included. I'm sure when the movie is released on DVD you'll get to see a giant CGI Komodo dragon chomping on CGI people in all its bloody glory. I'm definitely sure you'll get to see some nekkid women in the uncut version too. Hell, I think the main requirement for getting one of the female roles in this movie was being blonde and having a C-cup or larger. And what is it about waterfalls in B-movies that instinctively cause women to strip down on the spot and go skinny-dipping? Happens in this movie too as the scientist's nubile daughter decides to take a dip and while the edited version doesn't let you see any more than her in bra and panties it still managed to give me an unexpected thrill. Let's just say the girl's tiny white thong panties did not match up at all with her giant unsightly tan lines. I don't know why but it was a hilarious sight to me. I think the busty thief also has a nude scene as she's shown drawing bath water in one scene and I find it hard to believe that any female character could ever take a bath in a Jim Wynorski movie without there being some serious gratuitous nudity thrown in.
In the end, the worst thing about Curse of the Komodo is that the movie had the potential to be a great big wedge of cinematic cheese but instead we get a movie that is little more than a series of missed opportunities and occasional unintended silliness. The CGI Komodo looks pretty darn good for a low budget monster movie like this, the acting isn't completely awful, and Wynorski at least deserves some credit for keeping the movie going at a decent pace so it never becomes totally boring. Still, that doesn't mean it was entirely entertaining. Good for a few chuckles but little else. Curse of the Komodo is the kind of movie that would have made great fodder for MST3K. Oh, how I miss that show.