Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring David Hasselhoff, John Rhys-Davies, Crystal Allen, Ryan McCluskey, Patrick Regis, Anthony Green
Directed by Don E. FauntLeRoy
Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Don’t be fooled by the title; Anaconda 3 is a strictly by-the-numbers Sci-Fi Channel killer snake movie with the added benefit of David Hasselhoff as its most notable snake bait.
Giant snakes… Get loose… Randomly kill and devour people… Guilt-ridden snake expert… Gung ho hunter… Various disposable characters… Unscrupulous rich guy responsible…
Anaconda 3 could have just as easily been billed as a sequel to any of the Sci-Fi Channel’s previous big killer snake flicks or even a brand new one. It’s so Sci-Fi the exotic jungle locales have been replaced with the more cost effective Romanian forest and in true Sci-Fi fashion; just having a killer anaconda isn’t enough so they went and added a giant, genetically engineered, mutant anaconda with a barbed tail that’s great for impaling people. Title this anything else and you’d never have any idea it was anything other than just another silly Sci-Fi Channel giant snake flick.
The always credible regardless of the quality of the material he’s saddled with John Rhys-Davies appears at the beginning and end as a billionaire dying of cancer who runs a multinational pharmaceutical conglomerate conducting illegal and unethical transgenics experiments on anacondas in hopes of extracting a serum that can cure everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s. The previous sequel had the snakes sort of guarding over a very rare flower that could potentially lead to such cures; this time the snakes themselves are believed to contain the cure. All of this naturally explains the need to breed a 60-foot mutant anaconda that they casually refer to as “atypical” of its kind.
This mutant anaconda is kept in a darkened tank, darkened to simulate its sleep cycle and thus keep it docile. So the dumb ass billionaire shines a flashlight into its tank to get a better look and freaks out the freakish super snake. A brief killing spree later and the “bigger, faster, stronger, and a hell of a lot meaner” atypical anaconda, along with a more typical and very pregnant “queen anaconda”, have escaped the lab and on the loose in the Romanian countryside crushing, swallowing, impaling people, and biting off heads like they’re going out of style.
How weirdly ironic is it that after two theatrically released PG-13 films the made-for-cable third installment would be the goriest of the three, easily earning itself an R-rating?
The CGI snakes look pretty good for a Sci-Fi Channel movie, but not so good when you compare them to the CGI snakes of the previous Anaconda films. The geysers of digital blood that shoot out of victims – also not so good. And just wait until you see characters pretending to ride in jeeps in front of rear-projected moving backdrops; that’s some pretty chintzy effects work even by Sci-Fi Channel standards.
Dr. Hayes, the youngest, hottest, blondest herpetologist I’ve ever seen accompanies a ragtag team of inept snake hunters that look more suited for playing paintball and I doubt they’d be very good at that either. She was already unhappy with the whole endeavor because she believed the research would be handled more responsibly. That should have been a no-brainer for her the second they bred a super serpent that reminded me a lot of the plastic toy snake that came with the Masters of the Universe “Snake Mountain Playset” I had as a child.
Not too much science in store for this remorseful herpetologist, actress Crystal Allen will spend the vast majority of the film either pouting or freaking out and, more importantly, stripped down to her white tank top – the go-to clothing for horror movie heroines these days it would seem. The filmmakers then keep coming up with ways to get her wet, muddy, and bloody.
Enter David Hasselhoff as a big game hunter for hire named Hammett. The Hoff proves more than up for the challenge giving a purely Hasselhoffian performance as only he (and maybe William Shatner) can. I truly believed that Hasselhoff believed he was playing a macho game hunter. I never believed this “Hammett” guy was a bad ass hunter, but I fully believed that Hasselhoff believed he was coming across as such and that made watching him all the more entertaining to watch.
That kinda goes for most of Anaconda 3 – a giddy, gory, good time. It’s trite yet entertaining in a nothing better to watch, beer & pretzels sort of way. As far as b-movie snakesploitation flicks of the Sci-Fi Channel variety go, this is one of the livelier ones.
At least it was until the disastrously dull third act killed the enthusiasm and with it most of the goofy goodwill of the first two-thirds. Oh, joy; people slowly looking for giant snakes in dank basements and abandoned buildings. It kills the momentum and squeezes the life out of the film much like an anaconda. Not much snake action and we’re even denied the simple pleasure of seeing David Hasselhoff get squeezed to death or swallowed by a giant snake. The Hoff deserved a moment like Jon Voight’s regurgitated wink in the original.
My advice to anyone who wants to watch Anaconda 3 is to switch it off the moment the scene begins with Dr. Hayes in the bathroom cleaning off and somehow managing to get her tank top back to a pristine white state despite having been caked in mud. You won’t miss much of anything from that point on and don’t worry about missing the open ended conclusion that sets the stage for Anaconda 4, coming soon to the Sci-Fi Channel. You know it’s just going to be more of the same.
2 1/2 out of 5
1/2 out of 5
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