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Sahara

Genre: Action
Rated:
PG-13
Directed by
: BRECK EISNER
Starring: MATTHEW MCCONNAUGHEY, PENELOPE CRUZ, STEVE ZAHN, GLYNN TURMAN, DELROY LINDO, WILLIAM H. MACY, LAMBERT WILSON, RAINN WILSON
Released by: Paramount Pictures, Bristol Bay Productions

In Short: Directed by Breck Eisner, son of Disney chief Michael, "Sahara" tries so hard but fails to be the next "Indiana Jones."

High Adventure in the Desert
Not Much of a Treasure; Perhaps a Guilty Pleasure
By Cherie Saunders

Treasure hunters Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) and his lifelong pal Al (Steve Zahn) have spent most of their lives hunting down a Civil War battleship filled with gold. The trek has taken the pair to West Africa, where wealthy retired Admiral James Sandecker (William H. Macy) continues to fund their efforts through his marine salvage unit.

Meanwhile the World Health Organization's Dr. Eva Rojas (Penelope Cruz) is busy tracking a deadly virus in the region. During her investigation, she discovers that the mysterious plague is coming out of Mali, and is promptly attacked by several unknown men. Dirk comes to her rescue, fending off the assailants and whisking her away to Sandecker’s expedition yacht. Conveniently, Dirk’s search for the battleship also leads to Mali. And so begins the adventurous journey of Dirk, Al and Eva through the perils of the Sahara as dangerous warlords and evil billionaire industrialist Massarde (Lambert Wilson) try to thwart their progress at every turn.

Directed by Breck Eisner, son of Disney chief Michael, "Sahara" tries so hard but fails to be the next "Indiana Jones." While Eisner's old-school, swashbuckling-style action is a mindless, visual treat, everything else drags along laboriously via painfully-flat dialogue and stale jokes. Zahn's natural humor injects a bit of energy here and there, but not enough to compensate for the script’s numerous pitfalls. Maybe a Civil War battleship buried somewhere in the Sahara is more believable in Clive Cussler's book than in this big screen adaptation. Also starring Glynn Turman as Eva's W.H.O. partner and Delroy Lindo as a C.I.A. agent, "Sahara's" action may be a treasure, but the story is fools gold.


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