Congo (Review)

congoI don’t care how impossible it is. I’d not care how silly it all is. I don’t even care how ridiculous Tim Curry’s performance is.

I like Congo.

I’ve seen it a few times over the years. Each time I allow myself to ignore all of the weaknesses and missteps and get caught up in the action. then I forget about it just as quickly…

A Big Biz American lead expedition into deepest darkest Africa makes a huge discovery. Then after reporting as much to HQ in the States they all suddenly go missing.

Crew #2 includes a motley bunch, including Crew #1’s girlfriend Karen Ross (Laura Linney), an anthropologist named Peter Elliott and his monkey Amy – who talks thanks to some high tech movie hijinks – and a certain Mr Homolka (Tim Curry), who claims to be a Romanian philanthropist…

They are joined by a British guide named Monroe (Ernie Hudson) and after much fun and games navigating through cities torn by civil unrest and rife with corruption, they head into the jungle where even greater perils lie in wait.

Each of the travelling party is searching for something; Karen her boyfriend, Peter is taking Amy to reunite her with her true home, and Homolka the ancient mythical City of Zin, where diamonds are rumoured to be plentiful under the watch of savage guards.

The movie has a lot going on at all times, and wisely moves swiftly from one action scene to the next, as if to distract us from the silliness. Every five minutes a new peril or threat arises to be dealt with, at times the film is like a game of bingo, with the viewers ticking off the ways to die in Africa.

  • Volcano.
  • Civil war.
  • Crash landing in a plane.
  • Snake…

BINGO! (“Oh I was only ‘fierce trained killed monkeys’ away myself.)

Congo has no reason to exist, but I am very glad that it does. By keeping us amused with so much (distr)action(s) and having so many wildly diverse and boldly drawn characters we never pause to question the logic. Even the insanely over the top Tim Curry and his amazingly broad accent has value, especially when Ernie Hudson tries to match it with his clipped British dialogue. Curry takes the gold late in the film though, as he pauses for an interminable time in delivering the most ominous line in the film;

“We. Are………………………………….. Watching you.”

You could make lunch in that pause.

As the poster might warn you in advance there is more monkey business afoot than merely the return of a martini loving talking gorilla to her natural habitat, and even though by this stage any semblance of reality is long since passed, the monkeys all looked real enough to me. My only regret is that the last twenty minutes of the film haven’t dated well. I’m sure a dose of 2000s CGI would do wonders for the final sequences.

The rest of the film doesn’t need it. It is gloriously over the top 90s B movie fun, with something for absolutely everyone. At least everyone who doesn’t take things too seriously that is.

Final Rating – 7 / 10. It might not have aimed for the dubious distinction at the time, but Congo is a nearly perfect B movie. And I can guarantee you won’t walk away muttering “needed more monkeys”…

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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