Komodo vs. Cobra (2005)
By: Lauren Monaghan on January 31, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Ninth Dimension (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. 90 minutes
The Movie
Director: Jim Wynorski
Starring: Michael Paré, Michelle Borth, Ryan McTavish, Jerri Manthey
Screenplay: Jim Wynorski, Bill Munroe
Country: USA
Taking in the cover of Komodo vs. Cobra, you'll be forgiven for assuming that you're in for some kind of semi-decent, Jurassic Park meets Anaconda ride. But as the first few moments of KvC play out on screen, all thoughts of high-budget reptilian hijinks will be chased from your mind, fleeing upon sight of the film's stiffly lumbering CGI monstrosity of a komodo dragon. It's as one character will later seriously and aptly intone: "the monstrous behemoths you have seen on this tape are not the creation of a Hollywood effects wizard." And no, no they're really not. I'd say they're more likely the creation of some guy called Rusty, who's been busy cobbling together moving pictures from old Sega graphic rejects in his mother's basement as an after school project. That, or they're produced by the type of people who would willingly choose to showcase their talents in gems like Jessica Simpson's latest movie, Major Movie Star. They are you say? Well then, that does explain it.

The hot mess that is KvC is brought to us by director Jim Wynorski, a guy who not only has the fun of Chopping Mall and many a breast-related feature under his belt, but who also has considerable experience in the realm of the reptilian, having directed a bunch of films with titles like Raptor, Curse of the Komodo and Dinosaur Island (which, granted, is mostly about big breasted ladies, but still…). Yet despite his plentiful experience in all things oversized and lizardy, Wynorski couldn't make this film float even if it was tethered with every buoyant silicone balloon he's ever laid eyes on.

Bringing the film down is not simply the fact that the entire CGI budget appears to have been blown instead on pretty nature shots, bra-stuffing and the development of the magical guns of never-ending bullets, but also the fact that the plot is basically a rehashing of Wynorski's previous venture, Curse of the Komodo – only this time with a less attractive cast (including ex-Survivor star, Jerri Manthey) and a lot more stupidity.

In KvC, a bunch of island-dwelling scientists have been busy using animal DNA to develop some kind of Miracle-Gro that they will use to grow fields of two storey corn and end world hunger. And okay, that's great! I am happily suspending my disbelief as this is, after all, science fiction. But alas, despite their good intentions the scientists are steered wrong by the government, which insists on having the super-duper-corn-grower used on a bunch of king cobra snakes and komodo dragons. Why exactly? (For surely there will be a perfectly logical explanation.) Well you see, DNA could be isolated from the scary creatures and used to make vaccines for the military. The soldiers on which they are used would be protected against disease and biological warfare agents, and at the same time be getting a boost of extra strength and agility! Alrighty then, the need for gigantification is a bit fuzzy… but belief is still suspended, even if the pulleys are getting kind of strained. So, then, only these deadly-type creatures can be used for such highly experimental research? But of course! They are not only immune to human diseases but are importantly and so obviously amphibians. Yes, amphibious creatures are clearly key to all this – so much so that behold, there is nary a frog in sight! Just two types of pissed off, oversized and phylogenetically-confused reptiles. And 'twas with this blatant molestation of scientific fact that my disbelief did come crashing to the floor. It really would have hurt the grey matter less had the military just come out and said: "we want you to create these giant rampaging creatures because they're clearly more interesting to watch than a field of giant benign corn". Honesty is the best policy after all.

So while things are naturally getting out of control over on Monster Island, a group of environmentalist/animal rights/Save Britney do-gooders have made their way over, nosey reporter and snarky ex-military cliché in tow. They're there to expose the truth behind the mysterious Project Carnivore and to show off the screaming skills they learned in acting class last week. Cue a lot of running around, and before you know it the cobras have swallowed some people, the komodos have squished a few underfoot and its time for the big face off.

In theory it all sounds like a silly romp through the land of batshit-but-entertaining crazy. In reality, KvC is more of a lethargic stroll through seen-it-before territory and clichés-ahoy county. That being said it's not exactly all bad, all the time. Towards the end there's a bit of funny and a dash of excitement to hold out for (and one particular gooey corpse to enjoy), and of course there's the unintentional hilarity that's scattered throughout – from the cow-giving-birth sound of the screeching beasts and the amusing, swearword covering bird squawks, to the simple fact that while other Survivor alum have gone on to bigger and better things (like getting their faces licked by Rob Schneider in The Animal), audience-hated Jerri Manthey finally got hers when she picked this doozy of a film to launch her feature film career post-reality show.
The 1.78:1, 16:9 enhanced presentation is high quality and crystal clear, something which funnily works against the film. Maybe if you couldn't see the monsters and actors that clearly, KvC would be easier to sit through and harder to mock.
For some untold reason, not only does KvC have awesome quality in the video department, but it also gets the best audio treatment as well, with a full 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack. It's a shame the only things to hear are painfully strange screeching and generic foreboding music track #12.
Extra Features
The only extras to be found are a bunch of trailers for movies that, for the most part, rival KvC in the badness stakes, including previews of Man About Town, The Big White, The Covenant, Solar Attack and Black Hole.
The Verdict
Shame on you, Jim Wynorski. For all your experience in bringing entertaining giant reptiles and equally entertaining naked ladies to the screen, in the case of Komodo vs. Cobra you have succeeded in bringing us neither. Definitely a film to avoid.
Movie Score
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