Congo

This 1995 action adventure/thriller tries emulate Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park as cheesy dialogue and a choppy story leads to an uncomfortable blend of generic characters on a special safari mission deep in the jungle.

The most uncomfortable pairing has to be Dylan Walsh and Laura Linney as Dr. Peter Elliott, an electronics expert for TraviCom, and and Dr. Karen Ross, a former CIA operative, who hopes to find her ex-fiancé lost in a previous expedition to the Congo.

The believability is just not there, but some may think the intense situations they encounter produce a pairing by default because they need each other for supports. Walsh played a great role as Paul Newman’s son in Nobody’s Fool and Linney has moved on to better films like Absolute Power and You Can Count on Me.

The action driven story, based on the Michael Crichton novel, builds on the growing amount of obstacles encountered on the mission until the climax where the group discoveries the truth of an amazing legend.  Director Frank Marshall (Alive) takes prolonged shots of the expensive sets before the action takes place …so the moviemakers get their money’s worth.

Top notch special special effects and some exterior set stunts inject some good action into a bland story.  The story packs in elements like natural disasters, weaponry, expeditions, political uphevel, and questionable corporate spending to keep the action going, especially at the end. Not recommended (*1/2 out of four stars) and rated PG-13 for jungle adventure terror and action and brief strong language.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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