Movie Review by Neils Hesse
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn, Penelope Cruz, Lambert Wilson
Director: Breck Eisner
Lost treasure, deranged Army generals, corrupt businessmen and a gung ho treasure hunter, sound familiar? No it’s not Indiana Jones it’s Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) the hero of Clive Cussler’s series of bestselling novels. Based on a novel of the same name, with the obligatory Hollywood fine tuning Dirk Pitt has finally found his way onto the big screen. Dirk and his sidekick Al Giordino, excellently played by the constantly amusing Steve Zahn, zigzag across the North African desert in search of long lost confederate gold and along the way thanks to a persistent WHO doctor played by a feisty Penelope Cruz, they stumble upon an illegal scheme that if left unchecked could quite possibly destroy all life on the planet. Helped along by their boss, played by a commanding William H Macy, Dirk Pitt and his crew proceed to battle the odds, and boy can they battle!
Breck Eisner, son of Disney mogul Michael Eisner, takes the reins on this big screen adaptation of the much loved Dirk Pitt novel and he succeeds. The film has got all the necessary ingredients of an adventure movie: an extremely likeable and resourceful hero who seems to be able to solve just about any problem, a funny but equally resourceful sidekick and a damsel in distress although this damsel almost doesn’t need constant rescuing as she proves to be quite a tough girl herself.
There’s plenty of action and plenty of humour, but perhaps it’s a bit too long, and maybe if the film had had an opening that established just how capable Dirk Pitt actually is it could have elevated this film from good to fantastic. The easily efficient and extremely watchable performance by Matthew McConaughey drives the movie forward and if this doesn’t finally get him into the elite leading man club that he deserves to be in then I don’t know what will. The other main winning factor is the chemistry that Matthew shares on screen with his sidekick Steve Zahn, particularly one scene where Matthew dashes off to investigate some clue leaving Steve to settle the bill and Steve is left complaining to himself, it’s all absolutely hilarious. Also, watch out for the riveting final sequence that cuts between two thrilling action set pieces, pure popcorn pleasure!
Great fun for everyone, SAHARA is definitely a film the audience can truly enjoy especially the picturesque filming locations of north and west Africa.