Komodo vs. Cobra (Review)

Komodo vs. Cobra

Michelle Borth as Susan Richardson
Jerri Manthey as Sandra Crescent
Glori-Anne Gilbert as Darla
Ryan McTavish as Jerry
Ted Monte as Ted
Chris Neville as Lerner
Michael Paré as Mike
Jay Richardson as Dr. Richardson
Renee Talbert as Carrie
Delpano Wills as Marsden
Directed by Jim Wynorski

Komodo vs. Cobra!!! KvC!! Giant komodo vs. a giant cobra. This should be a winner! In the name of Boa vs. Python, another fun SciFi Channel monster vs monster film. But what should easily be a winner can often become a chore as cheapness conspires to clutch a loser of a film from the jaws of winningness. What else do you expect when your director is Jim Wynorski and it doesn’t involve naked chicks? Having nothing to do with either Curse of the Komodo or King Cobra, despite Wynorski’s work on CotK, this film tries to set itself in an independent universe. That’s the excuse, then, for making this film 95% identical to CotK. Many of the same major scene reenact themselves, many of the same sets are reused, and at least four actors and the director/writer are the same. This is akin to just taking the CotK film and adding a King Cobra wandering around digitally added to the background in a few scenes and calling it a new movie. Oh, our title characters fight, all right. At the very end of the movie, for about two minutes. That’s it. Despite them saying repeatedly that there are many giant cobras and giant komodo, we don’t even get a hint that they fight each other except one small scene in the flashbacks where they hiss a lot. This isn’t like Naked Lunch, where no one ate a lunch while naked, this is SciFi Channel, we want a damn monster fight. And this movie which promises a monster fight in it’s title is determined to deny us what we so desperately desire. In the end, all it does is tick you off. Really tick you off. Freaking tick you off. Tick you of like a MoFo! GARRRRRRRGGGGHHH!!!

The movie opens promising enough. Three people are running through the jungle of a tropical isle. It’s Dr. Richardson, his daughter Susan, and a third man we’ll call Orson Welles, because he was The Third Man. Their running is useless, because they are cut off by Johnny Komodo. Johnny Komodo looks a little different from CotK, he’s got a more dinosaur-shaped head. He’s just as immune to bullets, as none of the ones fired seem to have any effect on him. Johnny Komodo shows that the Jim Wynorski watched Jurassic Park, as komodo can now not see you unless you move, like the T-Rex. Orson Welles runs off, which attracts Johnny Komodo and he chomps down on Orson Welles. Dr. Richardson and Susan escape then and set up shop by a lake, looking around for a bit, until Johnny Cobra emerges from the lake, and has Dr. Richardson chops for dinner. Now Susan is all alone…

Let us take a page from the book of CotK. Military men in charge of the top secret project on Isla Damas (should have been Isla Dumbass!) worry when they don’t check in, so some men will be sent in. Sounds familiar…wait a minute! In CotK, the military man was named Foster, and he was played by the same actor who is playing the scientists Dr. Richardson in this movie!

Who cares about Susan or the military when we have more cannon fodder to get to the island. What better way to get us emotionally involved than to have outsiders join the island instead of just the scientists getting chomped down. That way, we can get emotionally involved in these people because they want to help. Well, we would, if they were at all interesting enough to get emotionally involved with. Or even slightly involved with. Their acting is on par with a pile of rocks in my backyard, except for former Survivor and Playboy-poser Jerri Manthey, who rises to the level of lower pond scum with her reporter character. The rest are a bunch of idiotic environmentalists looking to expose government research on animals on a remote tropical island. I guess someone’s thinking bigger than a picket line outside UCSF. We’ll roll call these guys: Jerry, the leader who is financing the expidition. Cannot act. Carrie, his adoring wife who just happens to be a former bikini queen and actress. Cannot act. Ted Marks, ethnic-Greek-looking guy with no character development. Unknown if he can act, as he doesn’t do much here, but he was Hanson (Mmm Bop!) in CotK. Darla Marks, his sister, a super-blonde with fake breasts looking nothing like him. From CotK, cannot act then, cannot act now. We also have reporter Sandra Crescent (Jerri Manthey) and cameraman Cannon Fodder. They hire cynical boat operator Captain Studdard for a huge chunk of change. After a bad joke and a short sailing montage, they get to the island at dusk. Captain won’t go closer with low light because of the hidden reefs, so they’ll camp offshore for the night. To this, Ted says “We gotta wait here all night? You gotta be jacking me!” Yeah, blood, he’s totally jacking you! Swim ashore! Two army helicopters fly overhead towards the island, to give us some more monster kills.

If you think this films sounds somewhat like CotK so far, then I’ll aks you why you watched CotK in the first place! It’s a regret I have every waking hour. KvC takes an even bigger dive into CotK territory as the head of the Special Forces Unit is played by Paul Logan, aka lead criminal Drake from CotK! He says he has a bad feeling about this island, which could be an in-joke, but is probably just dialogue stolen from Star Wars. His team gets eaten, and Drake throws some explosives into the mouth of a komodo, blowing it to high heaven. Seconds later, he and his one remaining teammate are crushed by an even bigger komodo. Or so it looks, it sort of passes over the screen and we are meant to think they were killed. So, with Drake showing up as an Special Forces guy, Hanson(Mmm Bop!) becoming environmentalist Ted, and Foster becoming a scientist, something strange is going on. In the CotK review, I postulated it took place in an alternate Earth, based on a guy who looked like Benedict Arnold on the $100 bill. So KvC would also take place in an alternate world, one different from the last one, where the same people exist but in different jobs.

The Hippies Earth Firsters go ashore the next morning, searching for evidence of Project Carnivore. That’s what the big animal thing is, in case you were wondering. The Captain goes along with them so he can ensure he gets the rest of his money, which is probably a good idea as this group would fall into a three-inch deep hole and die of starvation if he wasn’t there. Forget saving the Earth, they couldn’t save pennies in a piggy bank. Back at the military subplot, the special forces not responding is worrisome, so they send in aerial reconnaissance to take photos. Back to the Earth Crew, they are hiking as roars are heard, and Captain pulls his gun. This ticks off Leader Jerry, who hates guns. The Captain tells him to swim home if he doesn’t like it, making the Captain one of the few likable things to happen so far.

Giant corn? That must be evidence of Project: Carnivore, because corn is meat and carnivore means…oh, never mind. Giant corn is seen, and isn’t as exciting as giant corn should be. The group then wanders up to the same white house used in CotK, just without the crappy generator-powered electric fence. No one is home, but the leftover food makes it look like they left in a hurry and they’ve been gone for around two days. The Camera Guy goes out for a smoke, and then Susan Richardson returns to the movie brandishing a gun at the group of environmentalists. She yells at them, but wants to get off the island with them. Jerry won’t leave without more proof (because giant corn alone won’t prove anything!) though the Captain is eager to go as well. Outside: GIANT COBRA ATTACK!! Camera Guy gets a visit from Johnny Cobra, who hisses at him while he yells for the Reporter to “Get the camera!” Not help, not him running, not screaming, but “get the camera!” Right. She doesn’t, and he gets eaten, despite the Captain pumping around 40 bullets into Johnny Cobra. These 40 bullets are all shot non-stop, with no reloading. He’s using a pistol, with a maximum magazine of like 15 or so. Captain must have magic bullets that are very very tiny, which is why they are ineffective and why he can put 40 of them in one clip. Perhaps in this universe, guns all have infinite ammo. Captain will be shooting many many many many more times before he reloads, though he does reload in this movie. Once. Off camera. Giving him hundreds of shots again.

Ammo, schmammo, GIANT KOMODO ATTACK!! The group runs as the other predator heads to the white house looking for food. Well, sister Darla manages to fall down and then gets tongued by the komodo, as Captain is shooting around 50 shots at it. The Captain also gives the gun of Susan to Jerry, who also shoots around 50 times without reloading, and having no trouble operating the gun despite hating them. The team has left for an underground house, which I guess Susan left because she’s suicidal. The underground house is full of food, ammo, but no radio so they’ll be killed when the island is bombed after the project doesn’t check in. Darla is eaten by the Komodo as the rest lock themselves inside. The death of a second teammate triggers Susan to start telling the story of Project: Carnivore via flashbacks. Basically that Army Guy from the other scenes tells Dr. Richardson to do his corn work on this lizard in a box. Since komodo and cobras are both amphibians (wait a second here! Science Nerd Fact Check: They are both reptiles, not amphibians!) they are immune to a lot of diseases, so they want to use their blood to make serums, after the lizards are giant sized. Maybe they should work on developing the cures first before making the animals huge! Even so, I think the writer read an article about crocodiles and just used it for Cobras and Komodo. Oddly enough, the animals suddenly get big! We’re cheated out of a KvC fight as Dr. Richardson fires a gun (spoil-sport! I’m glad you got eaten now!) and then the science guys get eaten off camera as the flashback ends.

The military guys get back their surveillance photos, and see still shots of giant komodo tromping around in a clearing! This freaks them out, so they send a plane with a video camera to fly over next. The group on the island decides to head to the boat and leave. Suddenly, another rip-off of CotK strolls into view, a guy who’s been covered with Komodo saliva! Instead of turning into a zombie, he’s just going to die, but not before we find out he’s one of the other scientists, and we get a flashback of his group heading to the copter, only to be eaten by a Komodo as they all stop and wait to be eaten one by one. Seriously, that’s what they do, but the black guy gives us an hilarious expression right before he dies, as he stops in the middle of climbing a fence. Post-flashback, the survivor dies, but now the group knows the helicopter is still there, unless it’s been smashed during this monster mayhem. The group gets to the shore, but without warning stock shots of a jet fly overhead. Then, stock shots of a completely different jet drops a bomb on their boat, blowing it sky high. This explosion rouses a Cobra out of the ocean, who was just chilling or body surfing or something. He eats Ted, while the Captain and Jerry fire around 40-50 bullets each into the snake with no effect. The cobra also pops the life raft they used to get to the island, because the script told him to. We get the “hurrr”-inducing quip “If there’s ever an island you want to be voted off of, it’s this one!” Well, it looks like Ted was just voted off, I think you’re in a better situation staying put.

Susan and the Captain start to become an item, as the group heads towards where the helicopter the other scientists were going to is supposed to be. Amazingly enough, Captain can fly it, as he’s a former army pilot. This is called “plot convenience.” They got to “get to the choppa!” as Arnold Schwarzenegger, my governor, would say. Heading to the chopper has a slight snag, when they stroll through a river, and Jerry gets bitten by three giant leeches, each around 1 1/2 feet long. He loses a lot of blood, and Susan tells us it’s because the leeches feed on the giant animals, and they absorbed their DNA matrix. Now, this movie didn’t even know that komodo and cobras were reptiles, are you going to trust this technobabble garbage? It’s also said that Jerry might get gigantic as well, since he got leech goo all over him and in his wounds. This would be an interesting side-plot, but don’t worry, it won’t be explored and Jerry has “monster bait” written across his forehead.

After some more walking (but not as much as in CotK) they get to the chopper, which is parked in the exact same field the chopper in CotK was parked in. We even ger the exact same shot of a giant komodo walking next to the chopper looking for food! It’s a parallel world, but the same stuff happens! Now, to distract the komodo, you need deft skill and maneuvering, or you could just wait until your gigantism-DNA-matrix-infested Earth First Boy distracts the komodo by yelling and jumping up and down. The Captain has to save that dunce by charging in with dual pistols firing! No reloading, who needs that, the guns carry like 10,000 bullets, and 100 of them get fired in this sequence. Everyone heads to the chopper, but the Reporter is hit by a Komodo tail, yet isn’t killed and gets in the chopper. Dang it. Jerry manages to avoid the komodo, but gets himself eaten by a giant cobra! Jerry! Why didn’t you watch your back, Jerry? Now Jerry’s wife is all alone and vulnerable, yet there are no more male characters to take advantage of her, as the Captain has the hots for Susan.

KOMODO ON COBRA ACTION!!! I mean, they fight, not do the deed. That only happens in Boa vs. Python. The lizards hiss at each other, then start striking, as the humans have a lame dramatic tension session where the Captain has to get out of the chopper and turn on a switch at the rear. That may or may not have happened in CotK, I don’t know and don’t care. So they take off, just as the island starts getting bombed. The Komodo and Cobra are still fighting, a full minute into their battle, which Cobra appears to be winning, when both of them are blown into astro-dust by the napalming jets. So there is no winner! Booooooo!!!!!!!

Well, the survivors get on tv and expose the military guys, but this military guy doesn’t bite a bullet, he drafts a letter.

Shock ending….it’s lame. Trust me. Lame. So lame. LAAAME! Lame with a capital “LAME!” Okay, you know that komodo-spit covered scientist? Well, he wakes up a Komodo Man! Yes, that sucked, didn’t it? Is this the next SciFi Channel movie, KoMANdo? KomodoMan? Manmodo? Mansquito vs. KoMANdo? Because I’d pay to see that last one. We need these companies to start teaming up their monsters more, and not in crappy films like this where the monsters don’t meet and it’s 95% recycled plot, sets, actors, and script. Boa vs. Python is the standard bearer for this genre, all films must emulate it, or perish in the junk pile that is Komodo vs Cobra.

What a crock of crap. What should be an easy winner turns into a mess of craptasimal garbage. Director Jim Wynorski has moved from the heydays of Chopping Mall to the lamedays of SciFi Channel obscurity. Between directing films where random giant animals attack, he directs films where random big breasted women run around, and several of them reuse the same scripts and actors. It isn’t movie making, it’s photocopying with an ever-thinning supply of ink, and the latest projects are faint enough that much of it is illegible. Avoiding Komodo vs. Cobra is the smart move. SciFi Channel even didn’t have much faith, premiering this on a Tuesday as opposed to the usual Sunday. Even if there were several Star Trek or Stargate actors in this film, it would still be a steaming pile, but at least it would have some campy value. Instead, we get the Boy Scout camp where Chester the Molester runs the show. No thanks.

Rated 2/10 (No way out of this picture, leeches giving goo)

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