Anaconda 3: Offspring DVD review

Just when you thought this giant snake franchise couldn't possibly get any worse, here comes The Hoff!

I’m no stranger to the world of bad movies. After all, I’m the guy who reviewed Ratman and Loch Ness Terror for this website, and managed to find plenty to enjoy in both of them. However, even I was not prepared for the sheer awfulness that was about to be unleashed by the made-for-TV Anaconda 3: Offspring.

My fondness for monster movies is no secret, and because of this I have found myself looking forward to each of the Anaconda movies as they have been announced. And every time I've ended up disappointed. Best of the bad bunch was easily the original, which was really only notable for two things - Jon Voight's scenery-devouring performance and the fact that Eric Stoltz appears to have been paid for lying on his back and sleeping his way through the entire film. As for Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, the only thing I can remember is that it starred some guy from Coronation Street. And that it was utter shite.

Which brings us neatly to this brand new Sci-Fi Channel production directed by Don E FauntLeRoy. If the latter name doesn't ring any bells, then you don't know your direct-to-DVD movies. Having served his time as camera operator and photographer on Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Body Chemistry 4: Full Exposure, FauntLeRoy made the jump to directing. Since then he has carved out a niche for himself as one of the go-to-guys for Steven Seagal's DTV movies, helming Today You Die, Mercenary for Justice and Urban Justice. Sadly, Seagal doesn't star in Anaconda 3. Instead we get the legendary David Hasselhoff. But in case you're worried about a lack of fight scenes, don't worry, the Hoff does get his ass handed to him by a chick towards the end of the film.


Cheap and nasty
The plot this time around seems pick up some plot threads from its predecessor, as it uses genetic research into extracts from the mysterious blood orchid to justify the existence of a pair of 60-foot long anacondas - one a male, the other a pregnant 'queen' (did the scriptwriter confuse snakes with the xenomorphs from the Alien franchise at this point?). Anyway, it only takes 15 minutes or so for the two snakes to escape from a research facility in Eastern Europe into the surrounding woodland. Which is where the Hoff and a bunch of other mercenaries come is, as they attempt to track the snakes before they start eating the locals.

As bad as the earlier Anaconda films were, this new one is a hundred times worse. Okay, so it's gorier than the first two put together, but the script is unmitigated crap and the cheapness of the production shows through at all times. I'm not just talking about the lame CG snakes or the decision to set the action in a forest in Romania (as opposed to the more exotic rain forests offered up by its predecessors). Here's a movie with a scene where the film's heroine is trapped in an upturned car while the snake advances on her outside. But wait a minute, what's that we can see through the gap over her left shoulder? Why it's a man just casually walking past! It's not anybody from the film, so it is clearly a mistake. One so blindingly obvious that it had to have been spotted when the footage was being edited. So why wasn't he removed digitally? Presumably because it would have cost money that the production just couldn't afford to spend (especially as it was shooting a fourth Anaconda movie back-to-back with this one).

Disappointing disc
There really is nothing to enjoy here. And the DVD itself doesn't offer anything to get excited about either. The anamorphic 1.78:1 transfer copes well with colour reproduction during the daytime exteriors, but give it some darker material to work with and it's not long before smearing and pixelation raise their ugly heads. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is a touch more impressive, with good front separation and plenty of impact behind its gunfire and explosions. However, the rears simply aren't engaged as often as you'd expect, resulting in a disappointingly front-heavy audio experience that doesn't really match up to the on-screen action.

The disc also proves to be a major flop in the extra features department as well. There's nothing relating to the film itself, only a batch of trailers for other Sony Pictures releases. For anybody who actually cares about this, you get a Blu-ray Disc is High Definition! promo, plus previews for The Art of War II: Betrayal, Felon, Starship Troopers 3: Marauder, Resident Evil: Degeneration, Prom Night and Quarantine.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, R2 DVD, £20, On sale October 20