13 June 2006 | rsoonsa
Primitivist Action Sequences Unduly Softened By Absurd Dialogue.
This South African produced movie includes plot patterns of a normally adequate type for inclusion in its action/adventure genre:small groups of battle hardened men stalking each other in a jungle setting that is quite forbidding upon its own terms, and here made more dire by the threatening presence of a tribe of cannibals to add a bit of grim terror into the mix. Jake Cody (James Ryan), an inactive mercenary, is cajoled into vocational reactivation by an escapade designed for him, intended for recovery of a large quantity of gold bullion stolen by another mercenary from the presidential palace of an underdeveloped imaginary African nation that intends to utilize the treasure as collateral for a loan anticipatingly channelled toward rebuilding the fledgling country's infrastructure. Cody persuades yet another mercenary, former comrade Bob Matthews (André Jacobs), to aid him in the affair, and this duo, with several other "soldiers of fortune" under their leadership, do achieve their goal of regaining the purloined bullion although, along with it, they also must assume, through plot exigency, responsibility for a female photojournalist, Samantha (Kate Normington) who has unaccountably preceded Cody, Matthews, et al, by sneaking unobserved into the encampment of the gold thieves, her presence there plainly central to having an obligatory female in the storyline. At this successful juncture, Matthews shows that he is really far more interested in keeping the loot for himself rather than sharing it with Cody or restoring it to its owners, and he shoots Jake, wounding him to prevent his partner from making a pursuit, but predictably to no avail as Cody manages to follow his erstwhile friend, accompanied only by a local native tracker. As mentioned early on, this jungly chase has elements oft found within standard action fare, but it will be difficult for a viewer to discover anything meritable about the narrative since the script is genuinely inane and efforts at humour merely serve to lessen one's potential interest in the characters, although it must be conceded that Samantha's skill in remaining neatly garbed is truly remarkable; in spite of being flattened with a right hand to the jaw, struggling against attempts at rape and other forms of physical assault, and slogging through thick vegetation and a muddy river, her clothing, even to white leggings, remains free from stain or disorder. There is little demand made upon the players from a shabbily written screenplay, while director/cameraman Parr brings little of more than passing interest to a viewer's attention, as he appears to be quaintly focused upon some type of significance from shooting extensively of the lower legs and feet of the various characters although, as it turns out, this has no more connotation for plot events than anything else in this forlorn film.