25 March 2014 | ma-cortes
Based on real events about two lions whose attacks stop the construction of the East African Railroad
Thrilling as well as handsome adventure story set in 1896 , dealing with of two man-eating lions , hunting together for sport rather than food , as they killed 130 people and nearly derailed the building of the East African Railway . These Lions of Tsavo (prophetically means place of slaughter) were maneless, perhaps due to environmental variables, although maneless lions are not unique to Tsavo. Their taste for man may have been due to an outbreak of Rinderpest at the time, which may have depleted their normal prey. Engineer John Patterson (Val Kilmer) is sent by his chief (Tom Wilkinson) to build a bridge over the Tsavo river . Then the workers become convinced the lions , nicknamed ¨The Ghost¨ and ¨the Darkness¨ are actually demons carrying out a cruel carnage . John sets in pursuit the beasts but he has little luck killing the lions , though he gets to survive on a mixture of cunning and bravura . As the beasts contemptuously evade all traps set for them . After losing dozens of workers to the lions, the company brought in Remington, an American , to hunt them, but even his reputation for being the best could not prevent yet more massacre . There is eventually formed a team between the brave engineer and a famous white hunter (Michael Douglas ,despite having top billing, he doesn't appear on screen until 45 minutes into the movie) but the legendary lions survive to kill and kill again ; as they still seem to have advantage until a frenziedly breathtaking last reel .
This nail-biting film packs thrills , chills , grisly events , slurping blood , quick cut edition is used to depict the lions' attacks and terror elements . Based on a true story well screen-written by the notorious writer William Goldman , he took the actual experiences by real Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson published a book about his adventures , titled "The Man-Eaters of Tsavo" ; however , Michael Douglas' character Remington as a 'great white hunter' is fictionalized , while Val Kilmer's character John Patterson killed both lions . Lt. Col. Patterson owned the skins and skulls of the two Tsavo man-eaters. After the lions were killed, their skins were used as rugs by Patterson. They were later sold In 1924, Patterson sold them to the Field Museum in Chicago for $5,000 . Because they were originally used as rugs with resulting deterioration of the hides, the lions are much smaller than they originally were . There is only one scene involving an animatronic lion , all the other shots were used using two real life lions named Bongo and Caeser ; the same lions also appeared in the film George of the jungle (1997).
Very good acting from main cast , and nice support casting . As Val Kilmer is magnificent as an engineer in charge of building a bridge and turned into a relentless hunter . Michael Douglas is top-notch as a two-fisted as well as legendary game hunter with his complex mixture of bravado , toughness and calm . Impressive production design and art design from Stuart Wurtzel and Giles Masters , including wonderful outdoors and a lot of extras . The location where the bridge was built is now called Man-Eater's Junction, after the two lions. It is in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya, about 200 miles southeast of Nairobi . Support actors are frankly engaging such as Tom Wilkinson as Robert Beaumont , John Kani as Samuel , Bernard Hill as Dr. David Hawthorne , Brian McCardie as Angus Starling , Om Puri as Abdullah and Emily Mortimer as wife . Rousing as well as exciting musical score by maestro Jerry Goldsmith . The motion picture was compellingly filmed by Director Stephen Hopkins (Lost in space , Predator 2 , Under suspicion , Blown away) , he wanted his longtime collaborator Peter Levy to be the film's cinematographer, but he was overruled by the studio, who wanted to hire Vilmos Zsigmond who carries out a splendid and colorful cinematography . Rating : Above average . Well worth watching .