D50 Watches Crap You’ve Never Heard Of: Boa

AKA New Alcatraz.

First off, holy crap.  The last time I did a CYNHO was April 2014, meaning it’s been almost a full year since my last one.

Boa (originally named New Alcatraz because… some fucker thought people might give a damn about the prison setting) is a direct-to-video movie starring Dean Cain.  It was made fresh off the heels of made-for-TV movie Python, hoping to capitalize on its… success?

I was just going to scan the VHS cover I had, but then I saw this Turkish DVD cover.  I can't top that.  I just can't.

I was just going to scan the VHS cover I had, but then I saw this Turkish DVD cover. I can’t top that. I just can’t.

We start out in a terribly rendered CG prison in Antarctica.  The warden wants his prison fully functional soon, but progress on a drilling operation has stalled.  Long story short, he’s told not to drill a hollow rock because of potential danger of gas pressure, he says fuck it and drill, and said potential danger shows up.  There’s some bullshit about the gas being “pure nitrogen” and everything in the chamber being perfectly preserved so they should call in some geologists… it’s basically the movie’s excuse for why there’s a giant prehistoric snake in Antarctica.

Meanwhile, Dean Cain is teaching a class and manages to casually fit in his unproven and controversial theory that there could be undiscovered prehistoric snakes in Antarctica.  It has fuck all to do with his lecture, but whatever.

Dean Cain also reminds us why he was perfectly cast as Clark Kent.

Dean Cain also reminds us why he was perfectly cast as Clark Kent.

He ends his lecture by informing his class that he and his wife (and fellow paleontology professor) will be on a dig using federal grant money to prove… something.

MEANWHILE, Mark Fucking Sheppard portrays a Chechen arms dealer who gets arrested when fighter jets kinda threaten to blow him out of the sky.

If you ever wanted to see Mark Sheppard employ a terrible Russian accent in a B-movie that's a ripoff of another B-movie... THIS IS THE ONE TO SEE!

If you ever wanted to see Mark Sheppard employ a terrible Russian accent in a B-movie that’s a ripoff of another B-movie… THIS IS THE ONE TO SEE!

He gets thrown in to join five other highly dangerous prisoners in what I feel needs to be reiterated every single time: AN UNFINISHED PRISON.  The engineers constantly complain about not getting enough heat in an ANTARCTIC PRISON.  That’s one of the first things you fucking work on.  How are you housing prisoners here already?

Anyway, the engineers tell the warden about something strange.  A hole was blown through a thick wall that, according to the warden, would take 50 men with jackhammers 2 days to break through.  They guess it was probably a freak explosion caused by the gas from the rock chamber.  Of course, we all know it’s the work of a giant prehistoric snake.  Because, obviously… that’s a thing they can do.

Wait, no.  No it's not.  That's fucking bullshit.

Wait, no. No it’s not. That’s fucking bullshit.

In the meantime, we get to know (but not really) the other prisoners.  One of them’s a handsome international hacker, another is an Iraqi terrorist, and the chick is… I dunno, some rude broad from Ireland.  And if Mark Sheppard’s accent is bad, her Irish accent is fucking terrible.

I just want to point out both how cool-looking and how absurdly impractical this security room is.

I just want to point out both how cool-looking and how absurdly impractical this security room is.

Well, they get a lone security guard to protect the breach while they’re waiting to fix it up, and that results in us knowing exactly who the first victim of the movie is.  The level-headed engineers from the beginning of the movie are told to check up on him once he’s picked off.  They call for more guards, and they’re told all the other guards are “asleep.”  Which is a funny way of saying “we didn’t have the budget to cast more people to play guards.”

Of course, the engineers get picked off as well.  And before I forget, for no reason at all, every time the Boa attacks a victim, we see things from its point of view, in what I like to call Boavision.

Interesting.  To snakes, everything looks like wormholes.

Interesting. To snakes, everything looks like wormholes.

Back at the dig site, Dean Cain’s character and his wife are bickering over trivial shit because… fucking every Jurassic Park style monster movie needs to dwell on dumb marital problems.  Predictably, the government is also threatening to take their grant away because… drama.  But they’re rescued from having to keep talking about this shit when some army guy shows up and hands them a printed-out Powerpoint project about what’s going on in Antarctica.  They’re the two scientists to go to because they’re the only idiots that produced a theory about undiscovered giant reptiles in the Antarctic.  That’s just convenient right there.

And I wasn't lying about the Powerpoint thing.

And I wasn’t lying about the Powerpoint thing.

The army guys also fail to mention the whole UNFINISHED ANTARCTIC PRISON thing until they’re about to land.  There’s this whole bit about how there’s no beacon or lights, so the pilot can’t find the runway and has to guess where to land.  This tips us off that something is wrong at the prison… except there’s still a decent amount of staff still alive, and they have access to the security room, so I see no reason they don’t have access to communications.  It’s entirely possible they just never got the lights to the runway installed because it’s AN UNFINISHED ANTARCTIC PRISON.

The prison staff thinks they’re going to evacuate, but Army Guy says they’re here to solve the problem, and no one is leaving until the snake is killed.

This results in the most pointless standoff I've ever seen.

This results in the most pointless standoff I’ve ever seen.

There are no words for the stupidity of Army Guy here.  Dean Cain’s character actually questions why he and his wife were brought in since they may be “experts,” but their knowledge isn’t going to help them kill a GIANT PREHISTORIC SNAKE in, again, AN UNFINISHED ANTARCTIC PRISON.  He never gets a reasonable answer to that question.

Naturally, Army Guy doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing.  I mean, gosh… a unit of soldiers armed with heavy artillery?  What’s that going to do against a GIANT PREHISTORIC SNAKE?  I mean, what are bullets going to do?  Pierce its unevolved scaly body and cause it to bleed to death?  That’s entirely too sane to work against a giant snake that shouldn’t be expected to survive in the Antarctic given its ectothermic nature.

I'm sure you were totally prepared for this kind of threat.

I’m sure you were totally prepared for this kind of threat.

What’s hilarious is that the snake continuously gets the drop on the soldiers, and they completely fail to hit the GIANT PREHISTORIC SNAKE with their fucking assault rifles even once.

It's surprising how much of this movie is people shooting wildly at random background shit.

It’s surprising how much of this movie is people shooting wildly at random background shit.

One of my favorite moments in this film is the warden screaming at three soldiers to fire in front of them because, according to his monitor (which somehow pinpoints lifeforms as yellow triangles, and accurately depicting which direction they’re facing) the snake is right in front of them.  So, despite not seeing a GIANT PREHISTORIC SNAKE in front of them, they fire wildly, only to hit another soldier.  And while they’re beating themselves up mentally over such a mistake, the GIANT PREHISTORIC SNAKE sneaks up on them and kills them.  Fucking hell.

The prison security team is sent as backup, but they don’t listen to Dean Cain’s warnings that, because snakes detect vibrations, their golf cart would act as a beacon to bring the snake directly to them, so they should go by foot instead.  So the security team gets killed, and Dean Cain and wife run away on foot, only for them to get separated and the wife seemingly get killed.  I mean, Dean Cain just kinda left her there and didn’t see her corpse, but it’s a reasonable assumption that she was eaten.

By the way, the warden’s realization that his sergeant got killed is probably my second-favorite part of the film.

It’s the emphatic “shit” that gets me every time.

Anyway, Dean Cain figures the only way they can make it out alive is to release the prisoners to help them fight their way out.  This of course results in predictable padding by way of victim scenes.  Along the way, the wife gets found, and every prisoner except Mark Sheppard is killed.

The last three survivors make it to the plane and get the hell out of Antarctica… BUT THE FUCKING GIANT PREHISTORIC SNAKE MAKES IT ONTO THE PLANE.

I really have to explain this… the plane had already taken off.  The snake, still in the prison, seems to hear it, and it decides “something big is moving; I should probably kill things that are in it,” and it moves out of the prison, through the FUCKING COLDNESS OF ANTARCTICA, and jumps ONTO THE PLANE, then effortlessly tears through its metal exterior to precisely murder one of the copilots.

Gotta level with you: did NOT expect it to go after the white one.

Gotta level with you: did NOT expect it to go after the white one.

Mark Sheppard delivers one of the best and most unexpected lines of the film before sacrificing himself to help drop the snake out of the sky.

So the snake falls out of the plane and drops to its certain (but not really) doom, and Dean Cain asks if the pilot can fly the plane.  The pilot nervously says, in a manner probably intended to reassure himself, that he can.  And that’s how the movie ends: not with a moment of triumph, not with a wrap-up, but with the reassurance that the pilot that we’ve seen for maybe two minutes total in the movie has the confidence to fly the plane.  Honestly, if anything, I’m left wondering if we missed out on a scene where we learn that the pilot is working through some trauma in his past, and this was supposed to be his moment where he finally gets over it.

So… that was Boa.  It was… it existed.

Next Saturday is another Sailor Moon Crystal week, but the week after that, I’ll probably do another CYNHO.  I won’t say the title, but its main selling point?  Sexy teenage vampires.

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