As lifeless as the Sahara
SAHARA: Action without purpose.
Director: Breck Eisner
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn, Penelope Cruz
Storyline: Dirk Pitt tries to save the world from deadly toxins.
Bottomline: Where's the soul?
Devoid of life. A description that applies as readily to Sahara: The Movie, as it does to Sahara: The Desert. Based on the 1992 novel by Clive Cussler, this film could have been so much more.
With the recent craze for sophisticated mystery thrillers, sparked by the infamous ``Da Vinci Code," the plot of the novel would have lent itself to an engaging and clever action-adventure for today's discerning audiences.
Instead we have a film right out of the 80s slick, loud, in-your-face and ultimately heartless.
The plot is so loose and convoluted that Cussler launched a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the film, claiming it ``destroyed the brand value of his original work."
Cussler's criticisms are well founded. The final product is a pastiche of elements from the novel, thrown together to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
The storyline revolves round the adventures of Dirk Pitt (played by Matthew McConaughey) and Al Giordino (Steve Zahn), as they try to save t0he world from deadly toxins leaching out from Mali, find an American civil-war battleship and save a WHO doctor (Penelope Cruz) from an evil French villain.
Throw in an African civil war and there you have it. There is no real explanation of why the toxins are a threat to ``the entire world."
It is completely unclear why the civil war battleship is in the middle of the desert, and full of gold, no less.
And no matter how evil the general or the French toxin producer are, there is no motive given for their desire to destroy the world.
The lack of precision and care shown by director Breck Eisner does nothing to give the characters, or the movie, any life.
How did a rookie like him get the helm of a 130 million-dollar film like this, one wonders. Well, he's Disney CEO Michael Eisner's son.
Where the story should have driven the film, it is an afterthought. The movie is an excuse to showcase the kind of action that might appeal to beer-swilling wrestling lovers.
There is no denying that this action is done well. There are fights, explosions, boat chases, and gunfights all finished off with the requisite skewed grin from McConaughey or a wisecrack and goofy look from Zahn. In short it is all sound and fury signifying nothing.
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