Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Komodo v Cobra
If I had brought my guitar, we could all sing Kumbaya.
I love these big dopey “improbably large and hungry creature fights another equally improbably large and hungry creature”. I love the sheer randomness of the opponents. For example, are octopi and sharks really natural enemies? I think not. In this case, the title fight is between a large Komodo dragon, native of the south pacific, and an even bigger King Cobra, native of, er, India, I think. Or it may be Africa somewhere, anyway naturalism isn’t my strong point and all that matters is that it’s nowhere near the giant lizard’s natural habitat. Therefore this strikes me as unlikely that these two animals would ever face off, even were they to be trapped on a small island in Polynesia and fed nothing but cardboard for two weeks.
The film opens somewhere in the South Pacific. An attractive girl with pleasingly bouncy breasts, Michelle Borth, who played Dean’s wife in that Supernatural Episode with the Djinn (yes, I did look that up on Imdb, and I’m pleased to inform that she was also a gymnast for 14 years. Not sure what relevance this has) and two old guys are running away from an extremely shoddy piece of CGI that is, allegedly, and I’m guessing this from the clever title, an oversized Komodo Dragon. One of the disposable guys gets eaten by the terrifying piece of carnivorous CGI, then it just decides to up tail and bugger off. Michelle and the survivor decide to, because brains are clearly high on the list of skills here, make camp next to the river, when blow me down if another piece of shoddy CGI doesn’t pop out that resembles, apparently, a giant King Cobra, and unconvincingly swallows the other old guy.
Cut to military douchebags, who are sending in a crack team to clean up. The crack team turn out to be almost completely useless and are chomped en masse. Cut again to a bar where Stoddard (Michael Paré, collecting a cheque for a change) is being recruited by tree hugging environmentalist douchebag (Ryan McTavish) his model girlfriend Sandra (Renee Talbert) and a TV crew, the most important of whom is Carrie (Jerri Manthay- who is actually a TV presenter). They’re trying to rip the lid off evil genetic modification that’s been taking place on the island and expose it to the media. Incidentally, Borth, plays, apparently, Dr. Susan Richardson, eminent geneticist and all round scientific genius, and she’s at least partially to blame for the fuck up on the island.
You see, it turns out that they were trying to cure world hunger by arseholing around with some kind of growth serum that Paré wants to steal so he can rub it on his genitals (only joking). Unfortunately this was a military funded project, so they were really interested in making (fuck knows why) large and angry animals. The army (and we’re told this through a series of flashbacks/ cuts away from the action) aren’t too pleased and have ordered the airforce to blast the shit out of the island and erase all trace of them being up to no good and anally violating Mother Nature.
Sadly for them, our intrepid band of heroes escapes, and exposes their rank villainy to the world. But not before we get to witness the most pitiful face off between large and hungry fake CGI monsters that I’ve seen in one of these films. That, by the way, is really saying something, because I’ve seen Dinocroc v Supergator.
These films are nigh on impossible to judge from any reasonable critical perspective. The acting in them varies from the average to the atrocious (it’s average here) and the camera work etc is usually fairly good. The writers try their best to stuff the scripts full of portentous and pseudo badass lines about how when you fuck Mother Nature you don’t wipe your cock on the curtains when you’re done (I will bet that line, that I’ve just made up, appears in one in the near future), but to be honest it never really works properly, as the lines themselves tend to sound ludicrously contrived and self-conscious when delivered by the less than stellar cast. The CGI is invariably utter rubbish, lacking in depth, obviously being superimposed on the screen, and not consistent in size, and they usually, for some reason best known to themselves, indulge in both CGI fire and gunshots.
Given the above, it’s no real surprise to know that KvC is almost exactly along the expected lines: Mediocre acting? Check; Competent direction? Check; crap CGI? Check; faux badass script? Check (“What the hell is that? It’s something I want dead.”); and so forth. This is very much a paint by numbers 21st Century monster movie. As such, the success of these films relies entirely on how much fun you had with them.
In the case of this one, I’m sorry to report that that it is a failure because it isn’t any fun. In fact, it’s mostly boring. Our crew of environmentalists aren’t likeable characters, and as such you don’t root for them at all. Ryan in particular is a massive sack of cocks, and aside from the odd moment of comedy (the leeches) the overwhelming feeling is that this lot are just not worth bothering with. To compound the boredom, the frequent scenes with the army just break up the flow of what I’m forced to term the action. I don’t really care what a 5 star General is doing back at base, we only need to see him once, ordering the air strike, and his frequent interruptions to the story rob the film of what little momentum it has managed to generate.
Then there’s the showdown between the two monsters. By this stage, we’ve seen enough of them to know that they look like hopelessly fake pieces of CGI, and as such aren’t invested in them as realistic threats. Secondly, the fight itself comes out of nowhere, it’s literally “look there’s a helicopter. Oh no, the giant lizard is in front of it. Oh no, there’s the cobra. They’re going to fight now”. This is staggeringly uninteresting, and a waste of a good idea. The fight itself is even more boring, as both are just totally unthreatening, and as such there’s no sense of depth or drama to it. Instead, we’re treated to what feels like two 2 dimensional poorly animated drawings snapping at each other. This is a fail.
Overall, nope, I do not recommend Komodo v Cobra. It’s just too dull for the most part. When I watched it with a few mates, we made a load of sarky remarks about the growth serum, which was good for a few laughs, but that was it in the way of entertainment. To make matters worse, there’s no gore, and every single actress’ top remains resolutely on. This is an entirely pointless effort, and an annoying one, because there are far more entertaining big animal eating people movies out there. Basically, don’t bother, because this one honks.
Incidentally, Jim Wynorski, the director, seems to have a thing about giant Komodo Dragons as this is actually a psuedo-sequel to his original non-globe shattering Curse of the Komodo. I’ve not seen that one and am strangely drawn to it.
Until next time,