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Film review: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid

Johnny Messner is all wet as Capt. Bill Johnson in "Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid."
Johnny Messner is all wet as Capt. Bill Johnson in "Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid."
Jasin Boland, Sony

What made the first "Anaconda" such a guilty pleasure is that it was funnier — mostly unintentionally — than it was scary.

The sequel, "Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid," has some of those same qualities, just not to such an amusing degree.

It's every bit as dumb as its predecessor, and its CGI-created, slithery threats are so phony-looking that they're laugh-inducing.

That's not enough to sustain this suspense-free, supposed thriller for nearly 100 minutes. And it's hard to fully embrace a film when its best actor is an animal (in this case, a Capuchin monkey that's far more expressive than any of this movie's no-name cast members).

What plot there is concerns a scientific research team that's headed to Borneo to search for the blood orchid, a rare bloom that may hold the key to immortality (it's not worth knowing more than that).

The unlucky scientists have picked the worst-possible time for their expedition — Borneo's rainy season. And when their boat sinks, they're left stranded in the jungle, though the heroic captain (Johnny Messner) is trying to get them to safety.

What he's not telling them, though, is that gigantic, predatory snakes head to this part of the jungle for mating season. That piece of bad news is delivered quickly enough when the reptiles start picking off the stranded people one by one.

Among the bigger problems in this film is that it takes so long for something to happen. Also, not to give anything away, but the snakes kill off the least-annoying characters first.

Ironically, one of this sequel's leads — Salli Richardson-Whitfield — looks just like, sounds just like and can't act just like Jennifer Lopez, who starred in the first film.

She's far from the only culprit, though. KaDee Strickland's bad Southern drawl is a constant irritant, and British pop star Matthew Marsden's performance gets increasingly broader as the film goes along.

"Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid" is rated PG-13 for strong scenes of violence (animal attacks, a shooting and some explosive mayhem) gore, occasional use of strong profanity and vulgar slang terms (and gestures), and brief drug content (mostly references). Running time: 97 minutes.