22 November 2004 | bob the moo
Some interesting stuff but mostly just an average Hollywood jungle adventures with crocodiles, pumas etc
On board a tramp steamer sailing of the coast of South America is Corbett a mysterious man trying to get to Honduras. However with a revolution raging within its borders, the captain refuses to land there. Desperate to get his package to the leaders of the counter-revolution, Corbett frees some prisoners on the ship and takes control. Drifting close enough to the coast to make it into the delta and head up river, they take a rich American couple (the Sheppards) along for the ride as hostages. However none of them are really prepared for a jungle voyage that sees them face crocodiles, tiger fish, ants, pumas and the Honduran military.
When I started this film I was a bit put off by the stiff tone but I didn't know anything about the Honduran revolution and thought it would be interesting. Very quickly I found that this backdrop was no more than the background for a fairly standard jungle adventure film that sees all the usual stuff bring rolled out in regards animal attacks etc. The story is not that interesting on the surface and I did find it hard to really get into even with such a short running time; however it did have some interesting aspects at times that it could (and should) have made more of. Chiefly the power battle between Corbett and Reyes is too obvious for the most part and could have been written with more subtlety and intelligence it produces some good stuff and a reasonable conclusion. The dynamics between Corbett and Harry Sheppard while Sylvia appears to long for the tough man over her own husband is very interesting but given too little time but still made me wake up every so often.
Unfortunately the film tends to shy away from this stuff in favour of more crowd-pleasing stuff with all the usual animal attacks. Wrestling with pumas and shooting at stock footage crocodiles is not great fun but I did draw breath at the stock footage of a crocodile being picked bare by tiger fish. The effects for ants and flies are terrible by modern standards and may get some laughs but none of it is really exciting. The cast do OK when given the chance with the material but mostly they are pretty average. Ford is nothing special and is mostly just tough jawed and nothing more. Acosta's Reyes is by the numbers and his crew match him. Sheridan and Scott are more interesting and their tense interplay is interesting sadly they are not the focus and they really could have bee better used than this.
Overall this is an average jungle adventure film with all the usual fare in a plot that doesn't really use its setting very well. The plot does allow some interesting stuff in the characters but these are not made the most of, leaving a film that is fairly enjoyable but is really nothing special and is certainly not comparable to the more famous films in the Jacques Tourneur back catalogue.