Sahara


Directed by: Breck Eisner
Written by:Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, John C. Richards, James V. Hart
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn, Penelope Cruz, Delroy Lindo, William H. Macy
Released: April 7, 2005
Grade: C

Matthew McConaughey and Steve Zahn should buy a lottery ticket after this adventure.  They should have died at least 100 times.  They were shot at by virtually every citizen of Mali with a range of ammunition and yet they still live… to make more crap movies.

Dirk (McConaughey) and Al (Zahn) are two explorers looking to find the remains of an American boat which disappeared in the mid 19th Century.  The clues lead them to the African country of Mali.  By sheer chance, they meet Eva (Cruz), a doctor who is investigating the apparent outbreak of a disease in Nigeria.  Dirk and Al agree to give Eva a lift into Mali so that she can continue her research.

Our two lucky explorers soon give up their quest when they release there are government officials who want Eva killed.  She has stumbled upon a secret with threatens to expose a major health crisis.  Dirk, Al and Eva now find themselves working as a team – struggling to avoid the enemy and looking for any ally they can find on this unknown continent.

Sahara is nonsense.  Every five minutes, there’s a ridiculous plot development.  I know action films aren’t supposed to be realistic but this film takes things way too far.  How do they take a dilapidated airplane and “sail” it across the desert?  How do they blow up their own boat with precise timing by simply using a cigar?  How does a 150-year-old cannon still work?  How do they jump off the back of truck and escape on foot whilst handcuffed to a giant grate?  They deserved to die but of course, that isn’t going to happen.

McConaughey plays the smart hero with Zahn as the goofy sidekick.  Is it just me or does Zahn have the same personality in every film?  With a good screenplay and some good jokes, Zahn is in his element.  He received no such help on the set of Sahara.  I sense that even Zahn knew that the jokes were lame – he delivers them with very little enthusiasm.

At the end of the film’s trailer, the voice-over guy proclaims “directed by Breck Eisner”.  I remember thinking at the time – who is Breck Eisner?  I thought he must be some big action director and that they’ve thrown in his name to lure the audience.  Well here’s a stunner for you – Eisner hasn’t directed anything of note.  He has no reputation whatsoever.

Don’t believe anything you hear about Sahara unless it’s a negative comment.  It cost a ridiculous $130m and if studios are going to continue with such lacklustre, unadventurous material, they deserve to lose a mint.