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Antonio Sabato Jr.,
Grand L. Bush
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An airplane goes down in the ocean during a storm and a few survivors find refuge on a small tour boat. Swept out to sea, these people slowly starve to death in the hot sun with barely any food or clean water. With no place to turn, the boat survivors resort to cannibalism to stay alive...that is ..until the rescue planes come to pick them up and the man eating sharks decide its time to eat as well. Written by
You'd have to be a truly unscrupulous and slightly decadent Mexican trash-director in order to take a real-life human tragedy, like that of the plane crash in the Andes, and maximally exploit its storyline and horrific elements. René Cardona Sr. already directed a fairly truthful and impressive re-enactment of the real disaster in 1976 ("Survive!), but apparently his own son was jealous at the money-making concept and decided to make pretty much exactly the same film, only set in a *slightly* warmer climate and with a handful of sharks thrown in for additional menace. The result is a preposterous and severely unpleasant film that falsely aspires to be an intense drama, but actually it's just shameless excuse to depict the mental downfall of people and slowly build up towards cannibalism for the sake of survival. "Cyclone" opens with cheerful postcard images of a sunny holiday resort where tourists make boat excursions near the coastline. Then the calamity displayed in the title brutally interrupts the holiday spirit and, for several long minutes, Cardona Jr. simply edits together a compilation of random National Geographic documentary images to illustrate the harshness of the cyclone. Castaways from a tourist excursion and a fisherman's boat, as well as survivors of a sea-crashed plane gather together in a tiny sloop and face several long days of hunger, mental & physical exhaustion, desiccation, hopelessness and of course the inevitably increasing feelings of mutual hatred and competition. If all this painful human suffering isn't enough yet, the waters are also infested with bloodthirsty tiger sharks. After nearly a dozen days of despair, some of the survivors see no other option than to feed on the flesh of the deceased, but this socially sensitive suggestion really tears the group apart. Like I said, "Cyclone" is an incredibly unpleasant viewing experience and it hardly appeals to any cinematic target group. The film is far too heavy-toned for horror fanatics but simultaneously it's too uneven to please disaster-film freaks and too repulsive for admirers of dramas. The characters are bleak and the script draws their personalities rather inconsistently. Carroll Baker's character, for example, is initially portrayed as a real bitch that protects her poodle from the burning sun rather than to rescue fellow human beings, but when the climax approaches she suddenly transformed into one of the most amiable people on board. Same problem with Arthur Kennedy's priest character! At first he's comprehensive and helpful, but later it actually seems as if he wants to prevent people from saving themselves. Do not, repeat NOT, raise your expectations too much regarding the shark sub plot. The exact same shark footage is shown no less than four times and, if my memory serves me well, these scenes also already featured in Cardona's other sea-adventure "Tintorera". The last half hour of this extremely overlong (120minutes) exploitation ordeal is literally disgusting and actually discouraging for those who were still expecting a happy ending. The gore and bloodshed is shocking, indeed, but you can't possibly neglect the many moments of boredom and the overall execution of "Cyclone" is downright tasteless and sick.
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