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:: Sahara

Sahara marks the feature film debut of director Breck Eisner and is based on Clive Cussler’s 1992 novel of the same name. Cussler’s hero is the master explorer Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) who finds a coin linked to a historical legend and embarks upon a treasure hunt through some of the most dangerous regions of West Africa. As he searches for what locals call the “Ship of Death” - a long-lost Civil War battleship that protects a secret cargo - Dirk and his wisecracking sidekick, Al Giordino (Steve Zahn), meet Dr. Eva Rojas (Penelope Cruz), a World Health Organisation doctor who is investigating a possible outbreak of plague. The adventurers soon find that their missing ship is tied into this looming health crisis.

Sahara is an action adventure movie combined with mystery and humour and oscilates between a ‘buddy flick’ and an episode of Jackass. McConaughey’s character is part Indiana Jones, part James Bond. Even the main villian in the film is reminiscent of a Fleming-inspired bad guy who is always impeccably dressed and whose dodgy and exploitative business involves enslaved local tribesmen and nuclear waste.

For a big dumb no-brainer, Sahara is fun. All three lead actors manage to be believable in their unbelievable roles. The totally improbable action occurs at unpredictable times which prevents too many clichéd action movie moments. Its always good to see a film that despite its genre (where, lets face it, we all know what’s going to happen in the end) is prepared to take some absurd but amusing detours. Matthew McConaughey stated in an interview that “Nothing in this story should be taken overly seriously”. He's right. Switch your brain off and go for a ride.