action, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

Flashback Review: May 27th, 2014 Movie – Boa (a.k.a. New Alcatraz)

boa

Well, it is Dragoncon time again and what better way to start the day off than with some B-movie goodness. Now I remember catching this movie on Sci-fi (yes, Sci-fi back before the name change) during a batch of snake movies one weekend and to be honest, my first thought was, “Is…Is that…. Dean Cain in a giant snake movie?” This honestly caught me by surprise and it would not be the last time that he would appear in a B-movie, several of which I now own and enjoy watching. For now, let’s just sit back and enjoy the craziness that is Boa (a.k.a. New Alcatraz).

The plot: In the middle of Antarctica, a secret super-max prison is being built, funded by the world’s nations. The hopes are that the advanced design and brutal conditions outside will make it virtually inescapable for the world’s worst criminals and terrorists. As construction has fallen behind schedule, Warden Fred Riley and his chief of security, Sgt. Quinn, goes to speak with the head of the construction crew, Scott Poluso, to find out what the delay is in getting heat and power to all of the building and is told that they have a hollow space in the ice sheet they were drilling in. Ignoring the crews concerns, Riley tells the men to drill though it but when an explosion occurs, they unknowingly awaken a giant boa that had been in hibernation in the hollow space and it begins making it’s way up through the tunnel. Elsewhere, Dr. Robert Trenton is teaching his last paleontology class before heading off on a research trip with his wife, Dr. Jessica Platt-Trenton. As they leave the campus, Robert asks if they are making a mistake in walking away from tenure and Jessica tells him that she isn’t ready to settle down and have a baby just yet. Meanwhile, Yuri Breshcov, a known arms dealer, is flying in his plane over the Indian Ocean when 2 fighter jets use an EMP missile to force his plane to land at Diego Garcia, the largest U.S. military base in the region. After his plane lands, Yuri is transferred to New Alcatraz, where Riley tells him that he is there due to his purchasing two nuclear missiles. After finishing talking to Yuri, Riley is contacted by Poluso to come check out something. When Riley and Quinn get there, Poluso shows them a tunnel that was seemingly dug overnight but they have no explanation as to how it was done. Noticing that it heads to the heat exchange pipe and could serve as a way out, Riley orders a guard placed there and Poluso and his crew to seal it back up. A few days later, Jenkins is standing guard by the hole when he hears something and reports it to Quinn. Quinn tells him to head into the tunnel to investigate while he wakes up Poluso and Goodman to join him. As Jenkins examines the tunnel, Quinn sees something entering the tunnel on the monitors and tries to warn Jenkins but Jenkins is killed by the Boa. When Poluso and Goodman get there, they ask Quinn where Jenkins is and he tells them he is in the tunnel and but he lost communication with him and asks them to check on him. Poluso refuses and as he turns to Goodman to complain, he feels something drip down on his head and when he checks to see what it is, he finds it is blood. Looking up., he sees the boa coiled around the pipes in the ceiling just before it drops down and kills him and then Goodman. Some time later, Robert and Jessica are at their dig site arguing over their possibly losing their grant when they are approached by the military and told of the situation in Antarctica and that they are requested to assist them. Jessica jumps at the chance and a reluctant Robert agrees to go with her. On the flight to Antarctica, Robert talks with Major Larsten, who is leading the military team there, about the situation and he tells them about the princess and the supposed snake that is killing people. After a rough landing, they prepare to disembark and the pilot tells them that the plane will be there for 12 hour and after that, it has to leave or else the wheels will be frozen and unable to move. Larsten leads his team, as well as Robert and Jessica, out and uses a tracker to find the door to the prison and when they reach the door, they are forced to override the lock. Heading inside, they are confronted by Quinn and his men and Riley shows up to ease the standoff. He then explains the situation to Larsten, Robert, and Jessica, saying that the snake has killed 6 people so far and wants to make sure Larsten and his men are able to kill it. Larsten leads his team out into the tunnels and Riley guides them to where the snake was seen, using the monitors to help them try and locate the snake. When one of Larsten’s men is killed, he asks Quinn to gather his guards and join him in the tunnels and Robert and Jessica decide to go with them. As they head down the tunnel, Robert tells Quinn to stop the cart they are on, saying that the snake would be able to sense the vibrations from the cart, and that they should go on foot but Quinn refuses to walk and leaves Robert and Jessica there while he and his men drive away. Larsten and his men accidentally shoot one of their own when Riley mistakenly says the snake is coming towards them and when the snake does appear, it kills the rest of his men. Larsten shoots at the snake but ends up startign a fire and releasing some gas in the chamber. As he runs for safety, he tries to warn Quinn to turn back but Quinn and his men, as well as Larsten, are killed in the blast. Robert and Jessica reach the chamber and see the boa eating the bodies and as Jessica takes some pictures, Robert grabs her and leads her away. The try to escape up a ladder but the snake attacks them and traps Jessica on the lower level. Robert tries to save her but the snake snaps at him before eventually slithering away and when Robert drops back down, he finds no sign of Jessica anywhere and believes she is dead. Robert returns to the control room and tells Riley that the only chance they have of getting out of there is with the prisoners’ help and convinces him to let them out. When Riley speaks to the prisoners and gets them to swear not to harm them if he lets them out, Yuri agrees to it and keeps his word when some of the prisoners attempt to hurt Riley. As the group try to figure out their best way out of their, Yuri suggests splitting up into two teams and heading for the tunnel the snake had made, as each route is through an area that the snake is known to frequent. Riley and Robert take Kelly Mitch and Patricia O’Boyle with them while Yuri leads the other prisoners. Kelly constantly provokes Patricia and as Robert and Riley try to calm her down, Kelly finds one of the motorized carts and drives off with it. Riley chases after them when he sees the snake ahead and as the snake kills Kelly, Riley begins shooting at it and causes another explosion that kills himself. Robert and Patricia turn back and Robert contacts Yuri to tell him what happened but the signal is weak. Yuri and his team lose one member to the snake and as they reach the large central chamber, they encounter Jessica, who had survived by crawling through the air vents. Yuri and his men take her with them and as they make their way to the tunnel, two of the prisoners are killed, leaving Yuri and Jessica as the only ones left in the group. Reaching the tunnel, Jessica wants to wait for Robert but Yuri tells her that he will come back for him and they have to get on the plane now so he heads up the tunnel and places a charge to open the ice sheet so they can make their way to the surface and board the plane. Robert and Patricia reach the tunnel and, seeing that it has been opened, they start making their way towards the outside but the boa follows after them and grabs Patricia. As the snake starts dragging her back down the tunnel, Robert tries to help her and shoots at the snake but when that is to no avail, he shoots and kills Patricia to put her out of her misery. Robert manages to make it onto the plane, where he is surprised to see Jessica alive and on board, and Robert thanks Yuri for saving her. The plane takes off but the boa manages to get on board, killing the co-pilot before bursting up into the cargo hold. Robert, Yuri, and Jessica try to get off the plane, with Yuri tying some rope around it’s neck, then tying it to a parachute. As Robert opens the cargo doors, Yuri deploys the parachute and the snake is sucked out of the plane but manages to snag Yuri with it’s tail and take him out with it. Robert and Jessica close the cargo doors and ask the pilot if he can still fly the plane and when he is told the snake is gone, the pilot says he can still fly it and they make their way home.

This movie was a decent movie but it could have been better. The acting was good, with Dean Cain (Robert) and Mark Sheppard (Yuri) doing good jobs in their roles. I also thought that Grand L. Bush (Quinn), Craig Wasson (Riley), and Elizabeth Lackey (Jessica) also did good jobs, though there were times that Jessica’s character was kind of annoying. The story was pretty good but the pacing was incredibly slow. They spent close to an hour setting up the movie and it felt like they had to kind of rush the rest of it to fit the run time. The special effects were pretty good in regards to the snake, though the “snake vision” was a bit much and honestly not really necessary. A fun movie to watch once you make it through all of the set-up.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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