KvC: Komodo vs. Cobra (2005)

KvC: Komodo vs. CobraStarring Michael Pare, Jerri Manthey, Michelle Borth, Renee Talbert, Jay Richardson, Ted Monte, Glori-Anne Gilbert

Directed by Jay Richardson (AKA Jim Wynorski)

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to say farewell to the late Jim Wynorski. No, the prolific b-movie auteur is still alive, but after sitting through his newest film, Komodo vs. Cobra, I swear to God if I ever meet the man, I just might kill him.

Okay, threatening to kill Wynorski is excessive and of course I am joking, but I’m going to warn everyone right now – this isn’t going to be a pleasant review. This movie pissed me off something fierce.

Now I know full well that one does not go into a movie called Komodo vs. Cobra and expect a great film. One does not go into a movie by Jim Wynorski and expect a great film. One sure as hell should not go into a movie called Komodo vs. Cobra directed by Jim Wynorski and expect a great film. However, even low expectations do not justify how indefensibly bad Jim Wynorski’s Komodo vs. Cobra is. Folks, this is not a movie. This is a scam. How many times is Jim Wynorski going to remake the same damn movie with only some minor tweaking? The Sci-Fi Channel premiered Wynorski’s A.I. Assault a short while ago, and that film was just a reworking of his earlier Sci-Fi Channel movie Curse of the Komodo, only with the giant komodo dragons replaced by giant robotic battle droids. It had many of the same plot points and was filmed in virtually the same locations. It wasn’t a terrible film, but it was still insultingly derivative of his previous film. And now he’s done it again, and this time it’s inexcusably wretched.

Hard as it might be to believe, Komodo vs. Cobra is not intended to have any relation to Curse of the Komodo – the komodo has a more dinosaur-ish head this time out. That’s one of the only differences between these two films. Just about everything else with the exception of the komodo saliva causing people to transform into zombies, the lack of a criminal couple looking to make an escape after a heist, and the inclusion of a giant king cobra is a retread of Curse of the Komodo – same locations, identical plot points, similar climax, etc. The only thing that would have made the experience complete would have been a final shot of Jim Wynorski himself flipping viewers the bird and yelling, “Yeah, I made the same movie again and you still watched it, so fuck you!” No, Mr. Wynorski, fuck you!

Michael Pare plays the boat captain for some wannabe reporters, environmentalists, or whatever the hell these people are supposed to represent – like any of it really matters. They’re monster fodder, plain and simple. They hire Pare to take them to the island where the military has been conducting a top secret experiment called “Project Carnivore.” Being a bunch of tree-huggers and wannabe Woodward & Bernsteins, they’re looking to expose the unseemly military project being conducted, unaware that it resulted in certain lifeforms getting all giant-sized and running amok.

About all I can say about Michael Pare is that his manner of speaking has fully achieved a Sylvester Stallone level of garble. You know things are bad when one of the stars of the film is a reality TV personality, in this case, Survivor vixen Jerri Manthey, and that reality TV star manages to do a better acting job than virtually everyone else. That’s not to say that she’s particularly good but more of a commentary on how bad everyone else is. Then again, it’s not like anyone is actually given anything resembling a character or allowed to say anything non-rudimentary. I can imagine one of the actors looking to director Wynorski and asking, “What’s my motivation for this scene?” to which he’d reply, “You’re still breathing.”

An unscrupulous military general has coerced a scientist to use his experimental growth whatever called “The Matrix” that he had hoped to use for the betterment of mankind on komodo dragons and king cobras for potential military applications. I know it’s a stupid b-monster movie, but this thing has put me in such a foul mood I’m going to just come right out and say that this is one of the stupidest ideas I’ve ever heard. It’s not even original. Hello… Curse of the Komodo… Same friggin’ concept!

This results in a giant komodo dragon and a giant king cobra that get loose and run amok eating everyone. People arrive on the island and walk around a lot. So does a squad of soldiers, but they get killed quickly. These non-soldiers that don’t get killed off quickly walk around filming things and talking amongst themselves and are occasionally confronted by a giant komodo dragon or a giant cobra (mostly a giant komodo). These encounters result in either them shooting at it with no success and getting eaten or shooting at it with no success until they get away or shooting at it with no success until it gets bored like the rest of us and wanders off. A more fitting title for the film would have been People Shooting at Komodo and Cobra.

You’ve got to love how firearms operate in Jim Wynorski’s movie world. During his first encounter with the giant cobra, Michael Pare whips out his handgun and fires off about 60 rounds at it without needing to reload. Moments later, during the first encounter with the giant komodo, Pare – and mind you he has not been shown reloading the gun – unloads about 80 more rounds. I must have missed the scene where Pare went up, down, up, down, R2, L2, Triangle, Circle, Square to enter the unlimited ammo cheat code. Somehow I imagine Wynorski reading this right now and saying something like, “Anyone that counts the gunshots is a fag!”

I’d say take this movie out back and put a bullet in it like Old Yeller, but with my luck I’d pump 80 bullets into it and it’ll still just stare back at me.

And you have to admire the dedication of a TV cameraman who, when confronted by a giant cobra, can only think to repeatedly scream “Grab the camera!” instead of “Help!” or “Save me!” or even “Holy shit! It’s a giant cobra!”

About every 10 to 15 minutes Komodo vs. Cobra reverts back to scenes on the mainland involving the military general in charge of the project (a dead ringer for Hal Linden to the point of it being distracting) and his subordinate bickering over outright bombing the island into oblivion in order to cover it all up. Wow, this sounds an awful lot like something I saw in two other very similar films. Hmmm…

The group eventually meet up with the scientist’s gun-toting daughter who just wants off the island after being chased by a giant komodo and seeing her daddy get eaten by a giant cobra during the film’s pre-title sequence. The second half of the movie is the survivors making their way to the other side of the island to get to the rescue helicopter without getting killed by either the giant komodo or the giant cobra before military bombers obliterate the place. Again, this all sounds very, very familiar.

Now just like how Curse of the Komodo introduced the komodo’s saliva turning people into zombies plot element that never amounted to a damn thing and just like the robots in A.I. Assault assimilating the scientist that created them into a zombie cyborg designed to help get them off the island only to see this plot twist got tossed out almost as soon as it was introduced, Komodo vs. Cobra also introduces a plot element that could have made things even a little interesting only to never have a damn thing come of it. In this case, one member of the group gets attacked by some really big leeches. He survives only to have the scientist’s daughter reveal that everything the giant komodo and the giant cobra come in contact with gets infected with the gigantism gene, and everything those mutations come in contact with also become infected. She isn’t sure if it can mutate a human so the question becomes will he too fall victim to mutation. After spending five freakin’ minutes building this subplot up, the guy gets devoured by the giant cobra three minutes later. If this movie could have pissed me off any further, I’d mutate. I’d turn into a big green rage-filled Hulk that would find Jim Wynorski and pound his skull into mush like the Yellow Bastard from Sin City. No, must control my rage. Think happy thoughts. Wait. That was a happy thought.

As for the actual title of the movie, it proves to be as big a non-event as the equally atrocious Puppet Master vs. Demonic Toys. The Komodo vs. Cobra animal face-off doesn’t occur until the last five minutes of the film, lasts all of about 60 seconds total, and mostly consists of them staring and hissing at one another before taking turns biting each other, that is until the bomber jets lay waste to both of them. The whole film is built around a premise it doesn’t seem capable of or particularly interested in even trying to deliver on. Like I said earlier, this whole movie is a scam. Boa vs. Python looks like King Kong vs. Godzilla compared to this. Have you ever seen that old black & white footage of the two kitty cats in a tiny boxing ring wearing little boxing gloves wailing away on one another? The actual komodo vs. cobra smackdown makes those boxing kitties look like a fight scene from Ong Bak.

The most honest moment of the film comes when reporter Jerri Manthey says into her news camera, “The monstrous behemoths you’ve seen on this tape are not the creation of a Hollywood effects wizard.” No shit!

At the risk of committing plagiarism (Hey, if nobody is supposed to care that Wynorski just keeps plagiarizing himself, then why the hell should anyone care if I plagiarize someone?), I’d like to steal a famous quote from Roger Ebert’s review of the Rob Reiner comedy North and use it to sum up my opinion of Jim Wynorski’s Komodo vs. Cobra:

“I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.”

0 out of 5

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