The Curse of the Komodo (2003) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Yet another cinema classic from one of our favorite directors, Jim Wynorski, or as Jim likes to call himself in this film, for no apparent reason, Jay Andrews.  Now that I think of it, there is a reason. In fact, what better reason could there be than to hide the fact that he's Jim Wynorski? This film is rated 3.6 at IMDb, which sounds pretty weak until you realize that such a dismal score actually places it in the top third of Wynorski's rated films.
  1. (4.12) - Lost Empire, The (1983)
  2. (4.11) - Deathstalker II (1987) (V)
  3. (4.04) - Not of This Earth (1988)
  4. (4.03) - Victim of Desire (1995)
  5. (4.02) - Desert Thunder (1998)
  6. (3.97) - Gale Force (2002) (V)
  7. (3.93) - Chopping Mall (1986)
  8. (3.81) - Against the Law (1997)
  9. (3.78) - Sins of Desire (1993)
  10. (3.73) - Haunting of Morella, The (1990)
  11. (3.62) - Big Bad Mama II (1987)
  12. (3.61) - Militia (2000)
  13. (3.60) - Curse of the Komodo, The (2003)
  14. (3.55) - Body Chemistry 4: Full Exposure (1995) (V)
  15. (3.54) - Sorceress (1995)
  16. (3.53) - Hard Bounty (1995)
  17. (3.52) - Ablaze (2001)
  18. (3.52) - Little Miss Millions (1993)
  19. (3.51) - Munchie (1992)
  20. (3.49) - Return of Swamp Thing, The (1989)
  21. (3.48) - Sorority House Massacre II (1990)
  22. (3.48) - Stealth Fighter (2000)
  23. (3.47) - Project Viper (2002)
  24. (3.40) - Demolition High (1996)
  25. (3.40) - Bare Wench Project, The (2000)
  26. (3.35) - Point of Seduction: Body Chemistry III (1994) (V)
  27. (3.35) - Thy Neighbor's Wife (2001)
  28. (3.34) - Hard to Die (1990)
  29. (3.32) - Dinosaur Island (1994)
  30. (3.32) - Vampirella (1996) (V)
  31. (3.28) - Crash Point Zero (2000)
  32. (3.19) - Pandora Project, The (1998)
  33. (3.17) - Final Voyage (1999)
  34. (3.11) - 976-EVIL 2: The Astral Factor (1991)
  35. (3.08) - Rangers (2000) (V)
  36. (2.99) - Cheerleader Massacre (2003) (V)
  37. (2.97) - Virtual Desire (1995)
  38. (2.80) - Wasp Woman, The (1995) (TV)
  39. (2.47) - Raptor (2001) (V)
  40. (2.47) - Storm Trooper (1998)
  41. (2.28) - Ghoulies IV (1994)
Curse of the Komodo is your basic "evil criminals land on Jurassic Park" movie, except with cheap effects.

A bunch of ruthless, murderous thieves pull off a successful heist in Hawaii. As they escape, a severe thunderstorm forces their chopper to make a landing on an uncharted island. We hear the pilot tell them "brace yourself, we're gonna land hard", just as we see him hovering perfectly about two feet off the ground. Then we see him touch down perfectly, followed by a cut to the interior of the chopper, where everyone is rolling back and forth, pretending that they just crashed.

I think the important thing is that when they got out of the chopper to seek out the locals, we were able to see that the female member of the gang, despite enduring a hard night of armed robbery, murder, and feigned helicopter crashes, took the time to pick up a lovely and colorful souvenir bag from the casino gift shop.

Well it turns out that they have crashed on Fantasy Island, as evidenced by the picture to the left.  (In real life, that house is actually in the Los Angeles Arboretum, and is called Queen Anne's Cottage.)

The ol' island has changed a little since Mr Roarke's days. It turns out that the only locals living there now are some scientists who have been growing a komodo dragon until it got as large as a Tyrannosaurus Rex. They needed to do this because ... um ... well, I'm not completely clear on why the U.S. Navy thought it needed giant komodos. I guess they were running low on giant iguanas, and they thought the komodos might get them through the hard times.

Kind of a welch against creature inflation.

That's pretty much the entire plot right there. As soon as the bad guys and the scientific party got together, they spent the rest of the film pointing their guns at an imaginary creature which would be layered in later by the special effects guys, and not necessarily in a consistent size, or in the same place where the actors were pointing their guns.

That's it. The first twenty minutes or so are surprisingly good by Wynorski's (admittedly low) standards, but the rest of the film basically consists of people shooting at places where special effects would be added in post-production.


Glori-Anne Gilbert goes for a topless swim

The film's crisis gets resolved when the Navy sends in some stock footage. Their jets blast the island with major weaponry. Every time we see the jets in action, they are different jets, and I don't mean just different serial numbers, but completely different types of aircraft!

Then there are some of those ironic "the end??????" twists, and your viewing experience is complete.

DVD info from Amazon

  • no features except a trailer, no widescreen

I think I'm getting soft in the head, because I thought this was almost watchable. I never thought I'd say it about a Wynorski movie, but this is an indifferent effort at a giant creature film. The special effects are not as bad as I expected, the plot was more or less coherent, and the acting was also better than I expected. It is not good enough to be called "good", but it is almost mediocre, which is surprising from Big Jim, because "indifferent" means "will make the career highlight reel" in his Bizarro World.

The Critics Vote ...

  • I'm sure Roger Ebert must have a review on his to-do list, but he has not quite gotten to it yet.

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a D+. It's a grade-B movie, to be sure, but it is far better than I expected from Wynorski.

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