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Morgan Adams and her slave, William Shaw, are on a quest to recover the three portions of a treasure map. Unfortunately, the final portion is held by her murderous uncle, Dawg. Her crew is skeptical of her leadership abilities, so she must complete her quest before they mutiny against her. This is made yet more difficult by the efforts of the British crown to end her piratical raids. Written by
Considering how rare pirate movies are (or were up till this came out) Cutthroat Island must've sounded so promising to the masses of that year. then again, the simple fact that this became one of the centuries biggest flops means one of two things. Either peole were NOT interested, or the very first viewers told all their friends to avoid at all costs. While it's not a terrible film, in the end Cutthroat Island amounts to little more that a string of clichés, which attempts to take us back to the days of Errol Flynn, but instead becomes a rip-off.
Scene one introduces us to Morgan Adams, a cunning young lady and a tough pirate. Shortly after the opening credits end, her father dies, but before he does, he makes Morgan captain of his ship, and gives her a piece of a map. It is a map to Cutthroat Island, where a massive treasure is supposedly buried. The map piece she has however is in Latin, and no one aboard speaks or reads it. They sail to Port Royal in hopes of finding a slave who speaks it. They find and purchase one, Dr. William Shaw, arrested for thievery. The next step is to find the other two pieces of the map, and one of them is in the hands of Morgan's evil uncle, 'Dog' who also wants the treasure. It now becomes a race for the gold and glitter. Meanwhile, the Royal navy has set out to catch Morgan.
Cutthroat Island offers everything you might expect. There is sword play, gun play, jailbreaks, storms at sea, ship battles, and booty. All of this however is presented in a mediocre way. Most of the action scenes are unconvincing, badly choreographed, and too much is in slow-mo, especially during the climax.
Next there is the problem of acting and characterization. What Geena Davis does is not acting, it is play acting. Her character amounts to little more than a girl who can wield a sword, and command a crew. Matthew Modine as Shaw is equally two-dimensional, although he is occasionally quirky. Frank Langella as a villain does nothing but growl and sneer. He doesn't even look like a pirate. His haircut for instance is too short, and would not be possible without a modern electric razor.
On the positive side, at least it's watchable. Seeing as the film is mostly one action scene after another, you keep watching just to see what happens next, but it never gets better. I doubt it will be long before Cutthroat Island fades into oblivion, considering it is the biggest financial loss to this day. While it is not the worst movie, oblivion is probably where it belongs.
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