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Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid

Anaconda (1997) was a functional thriller about a gigantic snake with an over-the-top performance by John Voight and early roles for Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson. They somehow managed to make the film entertaining, and it did enough business to generate a sequel of some sort. Since none of the surviving cast could be bothered to appear, there's two ways to take a sequel like this — the first is to go the conventional remake route, the second to go (ahem) bug-f%*k crazy. Alas, the folks behind Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004) decided to go with the former, and director Dwight H. Little never manages to convince the viewer that this wasn't somehow planned to go straight to video (the film did manage to play in theaters and achieved $32 million during its brief theatrical run). However, the filmmakers did think to include multiple anacondas this time around. The plot revolves around (as can be gleaned from the title) scientists looking for a blood orchid in the jungle, only to find themselves being eaten by giant CGI snakes after their riverboat is destroyed. The cast members mostly likely to make it to the final reel are the ship's salty but roguishly good-looking (and talks in the smoke-filled voice that describing as clichéd is an insult to clichés) captain Bill Johnson (Johnny Messner), the pretty, masculine-monikered (so she's likely to survive) Sam Rodgers (KaDee Strickland), while the only name player is Morris Chestnut as greedy researcher Gordon Mitchell, who might just learn the error of his ways before he becomes reptile feces. To round out the clichés there's a horny guy (Nicholas Gonzales), a scientist (Mathew Marsden) who wants to keep going to find the blood orchid no matter how many corpses pop up (metaphorically tying him into the snakes of the film… it's like deep or something), the spiritual and knowledgeable Asian snake-snack (Karl Yune), the comedic scardey-cat black guy who wants to see a Knicks game (Eugene Byrd), and another woman (Salli Richardson). For those interested, the first snake attack occurs 41 minutes in, when someone says the first film's most famous line ("There's snakes out here that big?") — though without the verve Ice Cube managed to give the question — there's a pet monkey that somehow manages to survive it all, and five snake-related deaths. Oh, and the film is terrible in the manner in-name-only sequels can be. Columbia TriStar presents the Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) with an pan-and-scan option and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras include the featurette "Special Effects Toolbox: Creating Anacondas" (10 min.), and a collection of deleted scenes (8 min.), along with bonus trailers. Keep-case.

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