Boa/New Alcatraz (2001)


In the middle of Antarctica, a highly maximum security prison called New Alcatraz is fully operational. When a mining crew inside the prison runs across a strange rock formation. What they don't know is that a giant, violent prehistoric snake is inside the formation. After it breaks out of the formation, the snake goes on a killing rampage inside the prison.To get help, scientists and a group of soldiers must eliminate the snake before it takes over the prison, leaving the humans on the bottom of the chain.

REVIEW: God, I miss the early 2000s/late 90s for these cheap Creature Feature flicks. Sure, we still get them from time to time, but not nearly in the quantity that we did, and usually not nearly as much fun as these were. I keep finding myself revisiting these older ones way more often than I do most recent ones.While Boa, also called New Alcatraz in parts of the world, may a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to Creature Feature B-Movies of that time, it is more often enjoyable instead of not. 


I must say, I really loved the setting, especially for a killer snake movie. Having it take place at a top secret high security prison in the Antarctic is certainly thinking outside of the box as opposed to the much-overdone 'killer animal invades small town, the sheriff and some teens have to handle it' plot that these movies usually go with. Actually, quite often during Boa I felt it had some shades of Alien 3 in there, if Alien 3 had taken place on some snowy, icy, blizzard planet. In addition, the set designs here were all fantastic, and it was nice to see some familiar TV faces in this one, such as Dean Cain, Supernatural's Mark Sheppard (who's fake Russian accent kept coming and going, depending on the scene), and Matt Parkman's wife on Heroes.

Unfortunately, the pacing is all sorts of messed up. There are a few scenes where nothing at all happens and that has no impact on anything else in the movie at all that go on way longer than they should have and overstayed their welcome, and likewise there's a very, very long middle stretch of the movie where not really much of anything is going on, and even some of the main characters entirely drop out of the movie for those 30 minutes or so. Luckily the characters we do get stuck with are interesting and fun so this slower section wasn't as painful as it could have been, but it still started getting tedious by the time stuff finally started happening again.


I also think its a shame that we don't get to see more of the giant killer Titanoboa than we do (which is still an ok amount, to be fair), because as far as these B-Movies go, especially in the earlier days of CGI, it actually looked rather quite good the majority of the time. Sure, a few shots here and there were pretty poor, but overall it looked great, was well-rendered, and appeared to have some weight to it. Even though this came out in 2001, the CGI snake here looked a hell of a lot better than the CGI snakes in many modern similar types of movies.

If you can get past the very uneven pace, Mark Sheppard's wonky coming-and-going Russian accent, and having main characters drop in and out of the movie at random, for long periods of time, Boa, aka New Alcatraz, is quite an enjoyable Creature Feature filled with fun characters, cheesy death scenes, and an interesting, claustrophobic main location. It's far from the best out there, and definitely far from the best of that time period (Spiders, Crocodile, Crocodile 2: Death Swamp, and Python all take that top spot), but still enjoyable enough to randomly throw on for a rewatch here and there.

6/10 rooms in the Psych Ward



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