November 1st, 2009

ANACONDAS: TRAIL OF BLOOD (2009) **

<Can’t get enough Horror Franchise Movie Reviews?  Here’s another one!>

 

Anacondas:  Trail of Blood is almost exactly like the previous Anaconda film, Anaconda 3.  The difference is that there is no David Hasselhoff.  That means it’s not very good.

 

As in Part 3, scientists are still out in the jungle fucking around with the Blood Orchid trying to make some Anti-Cancer serum.  Since John Rhys-Davies only has a week to live, he wants that shit bad.  But first, he must send out an army of slimy European hitmen into the jungle to kill the chick who knows all about the Blood Orchids (Crystal Allen).  And of course, where there are Blood Orchids, there are giant ass anacondas.

 

Director Don E. FauntLeRoy favors the usual Direct-to-DVD style action (shootouts and such) over the anaconda attacks, which is particularly disheartening for a die hard Anaconda fan like myself.  I do compliment him for his limited use of the snakes’ POV shots (or as I like to call it, “Anaconda-Vision”) though.  Once the anacondas finally do get to strut their stuff, FauntLeRoy does let the red stuff flow pretty freely. 

 

Sadly, Anacondas:  Trail of Blood is a big fat bore most of the time.  The main reason for this is that there are way too many useless subplots that get in the way of the Anaconda action.  (The tedious scenes involving the scientist chick getting bit by a mosquito is a prime example.) 

 

There is one scene in this movie that is positively genius.  This European hitman is about to get swallowed up by the anaconda.  He realizes his own mortality and figures he’ll take the anaconda out with him.  The guy grabs two grenades from his belt, pulls the pins, closes his eyes, and lets out a mighty battle cry just as the snake is bearing down on him.  About five seconds go by and the dude opens his eyes again, only to see the snake slithering away.  He looks down at the grenades and goes “Oh…” before blowing up into a hundred pieces. 

 

That shit had me rolling on the couch in laughter.  This scene is right up there with the Lance Henriksen “Whoops!” scene from Hard Target.  It’s that good.  If Anacondas:  Trail of Blood had about two or three more scenes of high class hilarity like that; it may have been worthy of the Anaconda name.   

 

Rhys-Davies gets the best line when he says, “He has appeared… to have disappeared!”

 

Special Note:  For whatever reason, the odd-numbered Anaconda movies are called “Anaconda” and the even-numbered Anaconda movies are called “Anacondas”. 

THE MUTHERS (1976) **

Director Cirio H. Santiago will probably never get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame but I still dig the man’s work.  In his lifetime, Santiago directed some of the best low budget shot-in-the-Philippines action movies ever made.  Santiago’s The Muthers isn’t quite as good as his Angelfist or She-Devils in Chains, but it serves as an OK reminder of what he was capable of.

 

Jeannie Bell (who also starred in Santiago’s immortal TNT Jackson) stars as a sexy pirate who learns that her sister has been captured and taken to a remote island prison.  She gets herself arrested and goes to the prison to look for her.  After the lecherous warden murders her little sister; Bell escapes into the jungle along with some foxy companions.  In the end, Jeannie and her friends get into a machine gun battle with not only the guards, but a rival gang of pirates as well.

 

The Muthers is a mixture of several reliable exploitation genres (women in prison, blaxploitation, Kung Fu, etc.) yet it never really gels.  Most of the action is weighted towards the end of the film and while the shootouts, karate chops, and explosions are plentiful, they really lack the panache of Santiago’s best work.  The film also suffers from some awfully muddy cinematography which hampers a lot of the night time scenes.

 

Bell’s fun performance is what makes the film watchable.  (I especially enjoyed her topless shower scene.)  She has a genuine charisma about her that I enjoy and she handles herself well during the fight scenes (although her gymnast double is poorly edited in on several occasions).

 

It’s Bell’s best friend who gets the funniest line of the film when she gets bitten on the breast by a poisonous snake:  “Just like every other snake I’ve ever met… can’t leave my tits alone!”