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Robert Downey Jr.,
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After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.
A megalomaniac C.E.O. sends his son into the dangerous African Congo on a quest for a source of diamonds large enough and pure enough to function as powerful laser communications transmitters (or is it laser weapons?). When contact is lost with his son and the team, his sometime daughter- in-law is sent after them. She is a former CIA operative and, accompanied by gee-whiz gadgetry and a few eccentric characters (including a mercenary, a researcher with a talking gorilla, and a a nutty Indiana-Jones-type looking for King Solomon's Mines), sets out to rescue her former fiancé. What they all discover is that often what we most want turns out to be the source of our downfall. Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Director Frank Marshall originally intended to use the computer work pioneered on Jurassic Park (1993) for the gorillas, but opted for models as the computers weren't capable of reproducing hair. See more »
Before the group arrives in the mines Karen Ross gives Peter Elliot a modern pistol. When we see Peter entering the geode the gun he is holding is a WWII era Luger Parabellum. See more »
Mildly entertaining if you don't think about it too much
It is amazing how quickly this film was forgotten. I remember when it was released on video and Blockbuster stores were giving away a "Congo Bonus Box" filled with coupons and freebies. Now you'd be hard pressed to find someone who remembers seeing it.
Congo isn't a bad film; it's competently made and mildly diverting. The problem is that it isn't especially good either. Although it's based on an exciting Michael Crichton novel, the film is surprisingly dull. The story takes forever to get started, with lots of exposition about the talking ape and the political and logistical problems of getting to the Congo. Once the characters arrive and set out on foot, their journey is remarkably tension-free; except for a few minor mishaps, it's like a hike through a state park.
I'm surprised that Roger Ebert liked this film, as it's filled with the sort of logical lapses that he normally pounces on. When the expedition parachutes out of their plane, they (and their equipment) seems to be spread out over a huge, densely-forested area; yet they assemble quickly and nothing gets caught in trees. Later we see them leisurely hiking with ordinary backpacks, but when they set up camp vast amounts of sophisticated equipment magically appears (including portable air conditioners and automatic weapons).
If you don't think about the logical gaps and plot holes too much, however, Congo is a pleasant way to kill a couple of hours. It's also fun if you grew up watching jungle adventure movies, as I did (although I was disappointed that nobody ended up in quicksand, a frequent hazard in those old jungle films).
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