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Overall Rating
3.06

Awesome: 6.74%
Worth A Look: 29.21%
Average37.08%
Pretty Bad: 16.85%
Total Crap: 10.11%

8 reviews, 41 user ratings


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Sahara
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by Laura Kyle

"I pray this isn't my generation's Indiana Jones."
3 stars

The first time we see Penelope Cruz, she’s wearing glasses. Okay – smart, beautiful woman: check. (She won’t wear those glasses, or as much clothes, ever again. But everybody knows adventure cures vision impairment and requires female characters to show some cleavage.) The first time we see Mathew McConaughey, he’s shirtless. Alright – hunk: check! Two ingredients down and about a hundred more to go for the Action/Adventure Movie recipe! All you need is a set, a crew, and lots of money, and you too can make a Hollywood Blockbuster! So grab a paper and pen and start taking notes!

Relatively new director Breck Eisner (Michael’s youngin’) mixes up all these ingredients quite skillfully and luckily pulls the final product out of the oven just before it gets burned too badly. And thus you have Sahara – a familiar dish indeed, but nevertheless a tasty one.

The plot’s really a moot point. But essentially, McConaughey is Dirk Pitt, an ex-Navy Seal (hence, his ability to kick butt) and current employee of NUMA (National Underwater Marine Agency), who goes on a three-man mission to track down a Civil War battleship off the coast of Africa. But Cruz’ Eva, a WHO (World Health Organization) doctor, her dangerous discovery of a mysterious plague in Africa, and ultimate damsel and distress routine, sidetrack Pitt.

An African warlord, an evil businessman, enemy soldiers painted in the broadest strokes possible, entering and exiting as action scenes demand. Historical mysteries that no one in the audience could give a flip about. And apocalyptic proportions to boot.

Sahara’s plot is intricately preposterous, almost to a fault.

But it’s all great setup for a generous portion of creative, squeaky-clean action sequences that come in just about every flavor imaginable. Eisner sure knows how to angle a camera so here’s hoping he gets hold of a less pedestrian project soon.

With Steve Zahn on board for the comic relief, playing second in command to Pitt, Sahara is elevated a good deal above its peers. Zahn can make any line hilarious, and fortunately, he doesn’t have to try too hard here, because he actually has some good ones to deliver.

Cruz does what’s expected of her, but not a lot more – her character’s one for your short-term memory bank. As for McConaughey, he’s certainly likeable as the ridiculously resourceful adventure seeker, running around in the desert, but riding a horse, not a camel, is more his scene. And his distracting pearly whites had me half expecting him to break into a toothpaste commercial.

To say Sahara’s a 21st century Raiders of the Lost Ark is an overstatement to the one-billionth degree. The film doesn’t even match up to the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean or The Mummy.

However, it’s a pretty decent action flick in its own right. McConaughey may be a poor man’s Indiana Jones, but it’s fairly slim pickings at the movie theater these days, so mediocre, generic cinema will have to do until the American public wises up and starts shelling out cash for quality movies, not The Pacifier.

Sahara is practically graveling for a sequel by the end credits. And if Eisner can get a script that isn’t so formulaic a second time around, I don’t doubt another installment could be a welcomed improvement.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11922&reviewer=369
originally posted: 04/11/05 01:52:15
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User Comments

1/08/12 Gianluca Entertaining and amusing. Stupid, but funny. 3 stars
11/24/10 chris. good movie if you don't want to think hard, in a good way--fun! 4 stars
8/02/10 reptilesni Super fun film . If you don't think too hard, you'll enjoy it very much. 4 stars
9/18/09 Jeff Wilder Ridiculous. But a lot of fun. 3 stars
12/29/08 DanO Entertaining--It is not super flick--yet it is enjoyable. 4 stars
6/16/08 PAUL SHORTT VAPID, LENGHTY AND MOSTLY LIFELESS 2 stars
10/27/07 RoC Not a great film but entertaining enough 4 stars
10/03/07 Savanna i love the movie!! 5 stars
1/23/07 Matt Poorly cast, but otherwise enjoyable popcorn nonsense. Lighten up! 4 stars
10/06/06 Booksworm Come on people, what the hell more do you want? It's adventure! 5 stars
9/27/06 Damon Adventure movies can be good. Or they can be like this. 1 stars
3/09/06 Dk Cool film. Enough said 4 stars
10/12/05 eddiejohns McConaughey should never try to be an adventurer again. I wasn't convinced. 1 stars
10/04/05 Aldo nothing special...characters were pretty boring 3 stars
9/16/05 Phil M. Aficionado Slick, rich looking, glib, all-out, contrived, but well-made whackion flick. 3 stars
9/15/05 Tom Burns A good adventure film. It reminded me of the Indiana Jones movies a little. 4 stars
9/14/05 Pinkline Jones McConaughey worst actor since Quentin 1 stars
8/30/05 ES Becasue of this movie I will never, ever pick up the novels, couldn't have been worse 1 stars
8/23/05 Jason Eldred Clive Cusslers Awesome Novels are best left on paper and not to be ruined on film like this 1 stars
7/11/05 Heather Pruplethorne Well, Laura Kyle, it is MUCH MUCH better than RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK! 5 stars
7/08/05 Donna Gelpigi Running to escape Tuaregs before they hatch into Tuars. 4 stars
5/31/05 jcjs fun, no brainer, entertainment, 007 with Indiana Jones 4 stars
5/30/05 Jake Horrible! I walked out of the theater 30 minutes into it! 1 stars
5/10/05 Carol ok 3 stars
4/24/05 Quigley poor Matthew McConaughey! its action is so fake and overplayed and becomes total crap. 1 stars
4/20/05 Krisan not as good as i expected from Matthew, but better than i expected from Penelope 4 stars
4/20/05 Aaron Smith Only slightly entertaining. Liked ironclad story better than disease/warlord plot. 3 stars
4/19/05 CoralSnake I fell asleep. 1 stars
4/18/05 Maria Hau I want to see it what has got in Africa (Tanzanian). 5 stars
4/18/05 Bones McCoy Loads of fun 5 stars
4/18/05 Lord Jiggy Competent, if uninspired fun. Anybody catch the brassy Bond riff in the soundtrack? 4 stars
4/17/05 Roy Smith Cinematic Tranquilizer. Do not operate heavy machinery under it's effects. 2 stars
4/15/05 Marilyn very bland, could guess ending 3 stars
4/13/05 Time Waster What? 1 stars
4/12/05 KingNeutron Thoroughly improbable, but tremendous fun. Zahn as a SEAL though? Not! 4 stars
4/11/05 Sarah Wittenauer (i have read many cussler books), Rudi and Al werent supposed to look that way... 4 stars
4/11/05 Bing Best movie of the year 5 stars
4/11/05 Naka How the HELL is this something different? We've seen it 1000 times before... 2 stars
4/10/05 Witch-King Not bad - something different! 4 stars
4/10/05 Agent Sands Wow. I was so impressed. Not. 3 stars
4/09/05 Denise okay 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  08-Apr-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 30-Aug-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  07-Apr-2005




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