Sahara 2005 ***

Big-budget flops are par of the course of any cinematic season, but Sahara feels like something of a watershed moment; it might have been the franchise opener for a series of blockbusters featuring Clive Cussler’s character Dirk Pitt, played here with swashbuckling elan by Matthew McConaughey. But Breck Eisner’s film didn’t float many boats in 2015, which is a pity because it’s a fun is preposterous yarn. Presumably the books have less of the cheesy plotting here; watching Pitt rescue a damsel in distress via the World Health Organisation’s  Penelope Cruz, then spar with William H Macy over rescuing Africa from toxic waster spill, there’s a sense of white-saviour overdrive that never takes a break. But Sahara’s big action set pieces, great locations, rousing score and general old-school professionalism make it a nice alternative to the computer-generated murk that followed. If it’s the comedy relief that drags it down (Steve Zahn), Sahara has weathered the years far better than much of 2005 other offerings (Stealth, V for Vendetta, XXX State of the Union, Aeon Flux)


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  1. The major problem with the movie? McConaughey and Cruz have absolutely ZERO chemistry together. His scenes with Steve Zahn have more snap, crackle and pop. Other than that it’s a fun Saturday afternoon pulp adventure flick.

    I also have a problem with Clive Cussler badmouthing the movie every chance he got in interviews. He got paid very well for the rights to the movie and he cashed the check. Maybe it’s just me but I think it’s in in poor taste to take the studios money then do everything you can to persuade people not to see the movie.

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