Boa AKA New Alcatraz (2001) [REVIEW] | Snakes On Ice

Fear that people might mock your movie about a killer giant boa constrictor if you just call it “Boa”, without any stupid subtitle (possible even more worth of mocking)?

Do you fear the wrath of Serial Experiments Lain fans or the One Piece loyalists?

Just call it “New Alcatraz”, you can always change your mind and re-title it.. well, “Boa”, for some DVD releases. Not that’s is hard to find out this is connected to the 2000’s TV movie Python, as it’s directed by one of the writes also behind Python, and it’s produced and/or distributed by the same company, Unified Film Organization (UFO). Completely different cast, but this par for the course.

The plot sees a mining operation inside a secret “superjail” in Antarctica unadvertedly freeing a giant prehistoric snake from a million years slumber, resulting in it eating much of the prison security staff, and even the back up soldiers who brough along two paleontologists don’t have better luck. So it’s up the warden, the scientists and the surprisingly few prisoners to team up in the hope of escaping the prison and snake.

This is the kind of movie that might sound or come off a bit less ridiculous until the giant snake arrives… but then you realize it’s actually dumber when you stop for one second to think about it, as it’s giant cold blooded reptile in Antarctica, that already sound dumb as hell, and it’s not like the movie handles the rest much better, while having a kinda serious tone all the way through.

Gotta love it how the superprison has only 7 inmates accused of crimes against humanity, and gets the czech guy into it… by basically bullying his plane, we’re not even sure if he did buy a weapon of mass destruction or did anything to actually merit being funnelled there. And he’s supposedly one of the villains, but it’s hard not to root for him when he’s played by Mark “Crowley” Sheppard.

To say nothing of how the army just randomly chose the two palantheologist because… they just assumed any scientist will do since we got a giant reptile problem (even the characters are baffled by this), or how this whole thing happens because the warren says to go on with the mining, despite being told that mining that stratum could cause the gases contained in it to explode, they do, it explodes – inadvertedly freeing the giant “boa” – and he complains “you should have told me”.

I will cut him some slack, as the Warren is played by Craig Wasson, cast pretty much as “bootleg Robert Englund”, it’s pretty obvious they couldn’t get him like they managed for the previous year’s Python, so they basically “dressed up” Wasson to make him kinda look like Englund, at a glance. It’s that obvious.

Shame, because he’s a fine actor, and the cast itself also has Elizabeth Lackey (the same year when she also acted in Mullahound Drive) and good ol’ Dean Cain, not that anyone has much to work with here or tries too hard with the “acting thing”, given the forgettable dialogues, throw-away character stereotypes, or with a script that at times feels really mushed together more than written, kinda held together by some light padding and crazy glue more than actual logic or cause & effect.

And to be perfectly, that about sums up New Alcatraz/Boa in a nutshell, “ordinary”, because it’s pretty much a mediocre B-movie about killer snakes, the prison set-up it’s kinda moot and it even has the obligatory “snake on a plane” moment, i guess it’s a law of sorts that must be honored, as it helps these movies reach the 90 minutes mark and have a passable climax.

The snake itself look… not good, maybe it looked a little better in Python, but i think we’re purely splitting hairs, they’re both CG snakes made on a small budget at the start of the millennium, and it’s what you would expect, crappy but not THAT crappy to look at, with 20 years of hindsight and all of that.

It’s not an unbearable film or anything like that, far from it, but it’s just so incredibly forgettable and throwaway even before it’s over and as a way to kill 90 minutes, it’s no wonder it got bad reviews and wasn’t even a success, prompting U.F.O. to try again……. 2 years later, with Boa VS Python.

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