Congo (1995)

Genres - Action, Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Drama, Jungle Film  |   Run Time - 108 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Karl Williams

The chilling novel by best-selling author Michael Crichton gets the B-movie treatment with sometimes laughable results in this adaptation from director Frank Marshall. Playing the supporting roles broadly, actors Tim Curry and Ernie Hudson seem to be portraying characters literally kidnapped from the African adventure serials of the 1930s and 1940s. The latter even assays a British accent in the "great white hunter" tradition of the era (the modern-day "joke" is that Hudson, of course, is African-American). While the effects are sometimes excellent and leads Laura Linney and Dylan Walsh wisely take the proceedings seriously, their cast mates are a major distraction, as are the convolutions of the plot, which takes quite some time to get underway. Also, the central mystery at the core of Congo is not sufficiently explained or explored, much to the film's detriment, since it is a rather interesting premise extrapolated widely from scientific data and theory. While by no means an out-and-out failure, Congo misfires on some levels and never becomes the cheesy, nail-biting thriller it works hard to be.