Curse of the Komodo (2004)
By: Robert Winter on July 24, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DEJ (Australia). Region 4, PAL 4:3. English DD 2.0. 87 minutes
The Movie
Director: Jim Wynorski Starring: Tim Abell, Melissa Brasselle, William Langlois, Gail Harris, Paul Logan, Glori-Anne Gilbert, Ted Monte
Screenplay: Steve Latshaw Music: Neal Acree
Tagline: It's hungry
Country: USA
When a couple of muscle-bound he-men and a silicon-enhanced she-blonde rob a casino in Honolulu and escape via a helicopter, they're caught in a storm and crash land on Damas, an island not far from Oahu. Here they learn of Project Catalyst, a growth hormone experiment conducted by Professor Nathan Phipps on local fruit and vegetables in an attempt to wipe out world hunger. However, the US navy decided to do their own clandestine tests which have led to an unprecedented growth spurt in the local Komodo dragon population. To complicate matters, not only does the group have to contend with being food for the starving lizards, but they have to be careful not to come into contact with the Komodo's lethal, bacteria-laden saliva which has a nasty habit of turning victims into pus-oozing maniacs.

Curse of the Komodo
is a surprisingly enjoyable throwback to monster movies of the 50s, where genetically enhanced or irradiated wildlife ruled the drive-in theatres. While the production has lofty aspirations to have the look and feel of an uber-blockbuster like Jurassic Park, B-grade soft-porn auteur Jim Wynorski (Breastford Wives, Witches of Breastwick) manages to endow the film with an energetic charm that does well to capture the essence of the older films it's trying to emulate. We get lots of helpful exposition from the scientists, a gung-ho military and suitably dumb, "What the fuck?!" angry dialogue from the beautiful people who look like they're straight out of hard-core heaven. And what would a monster movie be without a horny lizard eyeing up a panoramically cleavaged blonde as she rips her clothes off to go g-string-dipping in a murky inland pool? To make sure your attention doesn't wander too far there's also some simple but effective cinematography, a few attempts at high tension, lots of clunky Komodo CGI, the odd bit of gooey SFX and an arsenal full of ammo pumped into a giant lizard every ten minutes.
The full-frame transfer is fairly crisp, but occasionally the print can look a little soft and grainy. Also, colours are a little too orange from my liking, lending a doll-like 'over-healthy' glow to the faces of the characters and their bodies.
The 2.0 mix is surprisingly full, but a 5.1 overhaul would have been a welcome treat. There are enough gun shots, thunder claps and creepy ambient sounds to allow for some slick left-to-right and rear channel separation.

Composer Neal Acree must have been a big fan of Anacondas and Arachnophobia as much of the main theme and incidental score sounds very much like it came from them.
Extra Features

A terrific, overwrought trailer that, of course, shows all the best bits.

The Verdict
There's no challenge in picking to pieces the corny dialogue, hammy acting, bad SFX and bone-crushing predictability of Curse of the Komodo because it's exactly what it should be – an entertaining, old-fashioned monster movie that would go hand in reptilian glove with Anacondas and Lewis Teague's Alligator as a weekend matinee favourite.
Movie Score
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