Wednesday, January 26, 2011

FIRE ON THE AMAZON (Blu-ray)

A Roger Corman-produced cheapie shot a couple of years before Sandra Bullock made it big in SPEED, Luis Llosa's FIRE ON THE AMAZON (1993) is pretty much only memorable for featuring the actress' only on-screen (sorta) nude scene.

Bullock plays an environmental activist who teams with a magazine reporter (shaggy Craig Sheffer, NIGHTBREED) to battle a group of corporate cattle farmers who are destroying the Bolivian rainforests and threatening the existence of the native peoples. When they discover that the local authorities have framed an innocent man for the assassination of an Indian leader, they find themselves hiding in the jungle with the locals while government stooges and corporate thugs attempt to hunt them down.

Tedious, uninteresting, and frankly, poorly-made, FIRE ON THE AMAZON is an extremely odd choice for the HD/Blu-Ray treatment -  though it's pretty obvious from the slick cover key art that Anchor Bay is hoping to pass off this shot-in-1990-but-not-released-until-1993, potboiler as a contemporary Sandra Bullock vehicle.

Unfortunately, anyone who picks this up expecting anything along the lines of the Academy Award winner's usual "America's sweetheart" roles, is going to be extremely underwhelmed. Llosa's (ANACONDA) direction is sloppy, the cinematography is just competent, and the script is nigh-incomprehensible when it's not being preachy. The paper-thin, unappealing characters act in a completely irrational and unbelievable manner, the dialogue is turgid and the pace lethargic. And, as for Ms. Bullock's pseudo-infamous "nude" scene -- well, sorry campers, but ya don't see nuthin'.

Oh well. Anchor Bay does the best they can with the presentation, but it's akin to polishing a turd. The 1.78:1 1080p HD widescreen transfer is, admittedly, quite good, and a vast improvement over previous video releases, with remarkable detail and color balance. The Dolby TruHD audio is clear, but overkill, as the original Ultra Stereo soundtrack was unimpressive in the first place. The only extra feature is the original Concorde home video trailer.
 
Aside from the decent HD transfer on the Blu-Ray edition (Anchor Bay also offers the title on standard DVD), FIRE ON THE AMAZON has very, very little going for it. I couldn't recommend it even to dedicated Bullock completists.

BUY: Fire on the Amazon [Blu-ray]