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Anaconda 3: Offspring

A sequel in name only to the notoriously campy "Anaconda" (1997) and the tragically less funny "Anaconda: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid" (2004), "Anaconda 3: Offspring" bids to launch a direct-to-video franchise as a cliche-encrusted action-thriller aimed at undiscriminating genre fans.

A sequel in name only to the notoriously campy “Anaconda” (1997) and the tragically less funny “Anaconda: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid” (2004), “Anaconda 3: Offspring” bids to launch a direct-to-video franchise as a cliche-encrusted action-thriller aimed at undiscriminating genre fans. (A follow-up already has been filmed and is duly promoted on this pic’s DVD.) Curiosity-seekers might take a peek, if only to see whether top-billed David Hasselhoff — like Jon Voight in the original — is devoured by a rapacious reptile. He isn’t, however, which very likely will hurt homevid sales.

With as much swagger as he can manage (which, alas, isn’t much), Hasselhoff plays Hammett, the most prominent of the professional snake-hunters called in when two mammoth, man-eating anacondas escape from a secluded Eastern European research lab and slither off to the nearby countryside.

The fugitive serpents are “bigger, faster and stronger” than your garden-variety anacondas, thanks to some DNA tampering by Amanda (Crystal Allen), a brilliant herpetologist who, not coincidentally, fills out a tank top quite nicely. (She also knows kung fu, or something close enough, but she keeps that info to herself until the less-than-exciting climax.)

Amanda deeply regrets making the snakes as big as a pair of Alaskan pipelines, especially when they start feeding on friends, colleagues and Hammett’s fellow hunters. But her intentions were good: She hoped that, somehow, having access to humungous reptiles would enable her to cure cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, it seems she learned nothing from similar mistakes made by scientists in “Deep Blue Sea” and the dozen or so other pics that obviously inspired (to use that term very loosely) scripters Nicholas Davidoff and David Olson.

Helmer-lenser Don E. Fauntleroy never misses an opportunity to zoom in for closeups of graphic carnage, even during a laughably unconvincing bar fight that calls for Hasselhoff to punch out two badass thugs. Production values are spotty — the big snakes appear to be refugees from a mid-’90s videogame — though it’s hard to tell whether some of the cheesiness isn’t intended as a wink-wink joke. In one scene, an anaconda bites the head off a supporting character, but that doesn’t stop the guy from continuing to fire his automatic weapon, even as geysers of blood erupt from his neck. The image would not be out of place in a tongue-in-cheek Troma cheapie-creepie.

Anaconda 3: Offspring

Direct-to-Video

  • Production: A Sony Pictures Home Entertainment release of a Stage 6 Films presentation of a Hollywood Media Bridge production. Produced by Alison Semenza. Executive producer, Phillip B. Goldfine. Co-producers, Vlad Paunescu, Bryan S. Sexton. Directed by Don E. Fauntleroy. Screenplay, Nicholas Davidoff, David Olson.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Fauntleroy; editor, Scott Conrad; music, Peter Meisner; production designer, Serban Porupca; art director, Vlad Roseanu; sound (Dolby Digital), Radu Nicolae; assistant director, Ovi Morariu; special effects supervisor, Lucian Iordache; casting, Jeff Gerrard. Reviewed on DVD, Houston, Oct. 22. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 91 MIN.
  • With: Hammett - David Hasselhoff Amanda - Crystal Allen Pinkus - Ryan McCluskey Nick - Patrick Regis Grozny - Anthony Green Murdoch - John Rhys-Davies Sofia - Mihaela Sasha Oros
  • Music By: