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CONGO(director: Frank Marshall; screenwriters: based on the book by Michael Crichton/John Patrick Shanley; cinematographer: Allen Daviau; editor: Anne V. Coates; music: Jerry Goldsmith; cast: Bruce Campbell (Charles Travis), Dylan Walsh (Dr. Peter Elliot), Laura Linney (Karen Ross), Ernie Hudson (Captain Munro Kelly) Tim Curry (Herkermer Homolka), Grant Heslov (Richard), Joe Don Baker (R.B. Travis), Lorene Noh (Amy); Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Kathleen Kennedy, Sam Mercer; Paramount; 1995)
The lackluster adventure film misses out on most of the thrills from the Michael Crichton 1980 bestseller.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The lackluster adventure film misses out on most of the thrills from the Michael Crichton 1980 bestseller.Director Frank Marshall (“Eight Below”/”Right to Play”) can’t deal with the nonsense over a talking gorilla and the fictional gray killer gorillas, while writer John Patrick Shanley’s script is inadequate to provide any gravitas even for a B movie. Greedy Houston-based high-tech communications company mogul R.B. Travis (Joe Don Baker) is obsessed with locating in the Congo the perfect diamond that his son Charles (Bruce Campbell) discovered before he vanished in the jungle during a massacre. Travis believes amassing these diamonds will make him a fortune as he transfers his business over to manufacturing laser guns. The overanxious boss sends a team of eight, led by his ex-CIA operative Dr. Karen Ross (Laura Linney), his communication chief, to central Africa on the secret mission to find King Solomon’s legendary diamond mines. He’s more concerned with finding the diamonds than his son. To do the mission without alerting rival companies, her company funds the expedition of primatologist Dr. Peter Elliott (Dylan Walsh). He is seeking to return his experimental talking mountain gorilla to her native Congo jungle region so she can recover her emotional balance after being kept in a lab. Karen gets the opportunity to commandeer the expedition when Peter’s charlatan fortune hunter Rumanian backer, Herkermer Homolka (Tim Curry), can’t make all the expenses. When their charter plane lands in war-torn central Africa, the travelers are led by air into the jungle by their macho guide Munro Kelly (Ernie Hudson). To evade ground-to-air missiles they parachute into the jungle and evade many dangers including raging hippos. As they start getting killed off one at a time and await a likely volcano, the lightweight thriller builds to a climax that never amounts to anything interesting.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”