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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good-old fashioned Saturday matinee jungle movie
Talk about things on the endangered species list, what about the good old-fashioned "B" movie? You remember, the type of movie you would go see on a Saturday afternoon where the faces of the actors are more memorable than their names, nobody seems overly concerned about the gapping holes in the plot, and there is a thrilling climax. It is hard to find a good "B" movie...
Published on Sept. 9 2002 by Amazon Customer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Just see the movie
Decent movie. Plot was exciting and interesting. The acting was fairly terrible. Ernie Hudson gave an interesting performance. Who is Dylan Walsh? Laura Linney played an annoying character. The writers could have done a little better with the actors interaction. Seemed like Dr. Eliot did not even care that his friend and assistant Richard was killed by the killer apes...
Published on Dec 6 2007 by Adam


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good-old fashioned Saturday matinee jungle movie, Sept. 9 2002
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Congo (Widescreen) (DVD)
Talk about things on the endangered species list, what about the good old-fashioned "B" movie? You remember, the type of movie you would go see on a Saturday afternoon where the faces of the actors are more memorable than their names, nobody seems overly concerned about the gapping holes in the plot, and there is a thrilling climax. It is hard to find a good "B" movie nowadays ("good" being a relative if not totally ironic term), but "Congo" sure fits the bill.
First, look at the cast. Laura Linney as Dr. Karen Ross has the most impressive body of work in film, but she is certainly the most atypical "heroine" to be seen in an action film for a while (Her secret? The good doctor knows how to pack for every occasion). I am sure I have seen Dylan Walsh, who plays Dr. Peter Elliot, in something else, but I cannot name you the film. Ernie Hudson as "great white hunter" Monroe Kelly is still probably best known as the non-comedian Ghostbuster, and Tim Curry gets to engage in monumental exaggerated acting as Herkermer Homolka the fortune hunter. Actually, it is Curry's performance alone that should key you in to the fact you are not supposed to take this film seriously (although I am sure Michael Crichton's novel was probably not this comic).
The plot has to try and keep up with the four different agendas of these main characters. Dr. Ross wants to find out what happened to her ex-fiancé, who disappeared in the jungle. Dr. Elliot wants to return Amy, a domesticated gorilla he has talk to "speak" using sign language and sophisticated technology, to her home in the jungle. Homolka is looking for the lost diamond mine of King Solomon, which is located somewhere in the jungle. Meanwhile, Mr. Kelly just wants to get everybody out of the jungle alive. The payoff for all these plot lines is a climax in which about a half-dozen independently unbelievable things happen within the space of about five minutes to allow some of our heroes to survive. At that point, plot holes seem the least of your problems as a viewer.
"Congo" is also one of those movies where you can have fun recognizing bits and pieces of your favorite movies crammed here and there into this one (e.g., the sentinel guns from "Aliens"). There is even one of those scenes where everybody starts singing a song together that has been popping up in so many films lately. This is a movie where that thing on top of your shoulder is there for the sole purpose of having a place to put your popcorn, because this is not a thinking person's film. Every once in a while you need to see a "B" movie and "Congo" fits the bill by that standard. If you were expecting a great film, then you are just going to be bitterly disappointed. But if you are sitting in bed going through one box of tissues after another, a film like this is just what the doctor ordered.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Just see the movie, Dec 6 2007
By 
Adam (Boston, MA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Congo (VHS Tape)
Decent movie. Plot was exciting and interesting. The acting was fairly terrible. Ernie Hudson gave an interesting performance. Who is Dylan Walsh? Laura Linney played an annoying character. The writers could have done a little better with the actors interaction. Seemed like Dr. Eliot did not even care that his friend and assistant Richard was killed by the killer apes. How did he die anyways? He managed to make it to the safety of the rest of the crew, and was then terrified to death.

I don't even know why Richard (played by Grant Heslov) went on the safari anyways, he doesn't even like picnics. But I'm glad he did because it was funny to see the poor bug-eyed geek complain the whole trip. You could tell that no one on the crew liked him which is why I almost felt bad when he died. His final moments in the movie are by far the most memorable.

More of the porters should have been developed as characters. We only get to see Kahega and Claud. We dont really see what happens to most of them.

What are the chances that not one porter survives? Dr. Ross (Linney) should have died.

Anywho... see the movie for the sake of Grant Heslov.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertainment well done, June 1 2004
This review is from: Congo (Widescreen) (DVD)
I loved this movie, bought the DVD and watch it over and over the performance is so good. It is hard to single out any one thing. The musical score and songs are so good, I keep playing them over in my head. The scene where Dylan Walsh's character starts singing "California Dreaming" to Amy and everyone of the Africans join in the song shows the universality of music and song to people. As with any well executed movie, the details were done right letting the viewer enjoy the actors work. All of the priciple actors came accross as believable in their characters. The only mystery to me is the total lack of credit listing for Joe Pantoliano's participation and his character not even being listed in the ending credits! There must be some Hollywood Gossip behind that. Ernie Hudson really stole the show. The using of a British accent was genius. Since the English colonized and ruled most of Africa for years and set up most of the schools, an African guide would speak English with a British accent. The ending sequence with the volcano erupting and the land splitting brings back fond memories of 1940s "expedition" movies that always ended with such a scene.
"Congo" is entertaining, well directed, scored and acted. It is well worth the price of purchase and my only critcism (the devil is in the details) is the depiction of too few porters to haul the amount of equipment they kept coming up with for different scenes. Laura Linney's character was great! She had the best lines in the movie too.
Rent it or buy it, you will not regret it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars King Solomon's Mines, May 18 2004
By 
Joshua Koppel (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Congo (Widescreen) (DVD)
Congo is an adventure movie that has a number of plot threads. The first is the search for Bruce Campbell who lost communications with TraviCom while searching for a perfect diamond in the Congo. A forced satellite link shows the camp in disarray and the team lying dead but Bruce was not seen. The link is then broken by something that looks like a killer gorilla. A team needs to get there quickly by attaching themselves to another expedition.
Secondly a young scientist has used virtual reality technology to teach a young gorilla how to talk. A computer and a VR glove interpret the gorilla's sign language and turns it into speech. The gorilla had also been taught to paint. Amy (the gorilla) is having nightmares and painting the jungle. An expedition is formed to return her to her home in the Congo.
Thirdly, we have Tim Curry as a Hungarian philanthropist who funds the gorilla expedition as he feels the gorilla has seen the lost city of Zinj built by Solomon to protect his diamond mines.
These three plots are tied together in a believable fashion with some interesting characters thrown in (especially the guide who alone makes the movie worth seeing).
As is typical in the Lost Race sub genre, something will happen to make returning impossible. In this movie the plot device is the volcanic range that produced the diamonds. This is one of the few modern Lost Race stories that works despite what modern science knows about the world.
The movie begins in the States setting up the plot threads then moves to traveling through an Africa in political upheaval and ends in the rainforest with Zinj and its mysterious inhabitants. Like most movies it has some flaws. The biggest being the Egyptian look of Solomon's city. Nothing Jewish looking about the place. The walls were even covered with Egyptian hieroglyphics. Still, it was an enjoyable movie with good characters and plots. This is a film I recommend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magical, April 7 2004
This review is from: Congo (Widescreen) (DVD)
In the tradition of "Gone with the Wind," "Casablanca" and "Lawrence of Arabia," director Frank Marshall gives us the greatest Hollywood epic of our time, "Congo." The film is a cinematic triumph; storytelling at its best. The story centers around a gorilla named Amy who, through sign-language and a hand-operated voice-synthesizer, is able to communicate with humans. After Amy has a series of nightmares, her caretaker, Dr. Peter Elliot (Dylan Walsh), feels that its time to return Amy to the jungle from whence she came. Along for the ride is TraviCom communications employee Dr. Karen Ross (Laura Linney) who wishes to enter the Congo with Peter and Amy in order to find her ex-fiance Charlie (Bruce Cambell), son of TraviCom CEO R.B. Travis (played with vigor by Joe Don Baker). After Tim Curry and Ernie Hudson join the group the expedition is underway. Let the good times roll.
What sets "Congo" apart from other adventure movies is the gorgeous African backdrop, a fantastic soundtrack and, without a doubt, the most talented cast ever assembled for a motion picture.
Tim Curry gives possibly the greatest performance of his storied career as Herkermer Homolka, a Romanian philanthropist who wants to help Amy get back to her jungle habitat (or does he?).
In Captain Munro Kelly, veteran actor Ernie Hudson gives us one of the big screen's most legendary performances. Amidst the never-ending peril of gunfire, murderous primates and scheming philanthropists which surround him in the sweltering jungles of the Congo, Hudson exudes a calm nonchalance and gives the film a healthy dose of subtlety and wit. While in the thick of the glorious spectacle of the film's heart-pounding action and colorful performances, Hudson plays his character with a quiet elegance. It's a skillfully executed performance which draws attention to the fact that Hudson is the glue of this ensemble piece. His interactions with the expedition's other members provides the audience with little glimpses into their respective characters while, at the same time, allowing the film to never deviate from its seamless narrative flow. It's a demanding role and Hudson is more than up for the task; he brings out the best in his fellow actors. Case and point: Munro's relationship with expedition guide Kahega (played with blithe exuberance by the phenomenally talented Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). The filmmakers wisely underplayed the rapport between these characters and allowed the two gifted actors to simply hint at and imply a past of fond memories and shared adventures rather than drench the film with sloppy sentiment and inane banter. Furthermore, what the two actors subtly express onscreen is undeniably touching; from the most minute of mannerisms and gestures, one gathers that there is an unquestionable camaraderie and an unspoken devotion between the two (The expression on Munro's face when Kahega meets his unfortunate demise at the hands of the grey killer ape is so devastating and soul-wrenching that it may have single-handedly won Hudson his much-deserved 1995 Sci-Fi Universe Magazine Reader's Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor).
In addition, the tension which exists between Munro's character and Curry's provides, arguably, the best moments "Congo." The dialogue exchange between these two brilliant actors is an absolute treat to witness. The two actors share such chemistry that one can't help but think Hudson and Curry will be prominently featured in the films inevitable sequel and/or sitcom spin-off.
And, of course, let us not forget Amy the gorilla. Amy's tender and affectionate performance assures that she can now be considered one of Hollywood's elite primate actors; she belongs to an A-list which includes Ed (from "Ed") Dunston (from "Dunston Checks In"), Buddy (from "Buddy") and Robin Williams (from "Jack"). It should be noted that Amy certainly has her share of detractors who find her performance tedious and her dialogue redundant. Those critics, however, have absolutely no understanding of the patience and labor it takes to teach gorillas to talk; all things considered, Amy's performance is nothing short of miraculous. Simply put, anybody who criticizes or mocks this splendid actress is a fool, an absolute fool.
Such performances enliven an already entertaining storyline filled with danger, intrigue, deception and enormous hippos. Watching "Congo" is a tremendously gratifying experience; it is one of the greatest movies of all time and whoever chooses to sit and watch it will be greatly rewarded with a well-crafted tale. As Curry's Homolka might put it, it is a movie "of incredible bounty."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magical, April 7 2004
This review is from: Congo (Widescreen) (DVD)
In the tradition of "Gone with the Wind," "Casablanca" and "Lawrence of Arabia," director Frank Marshall gives us the greatest Hollywood epic of our time, "Congo." The film is a cinematic triumph; storytelling at its best. The story centers around a gorilla named Amy who, through sign-language and a hand-operated voice-synthesizer, is able to communicate with humans. After Amy has a series of nightmares, her caretaker, Dr. Peter Elliot (Dylan Walsh), feels that its time to return Amy to the jungle from whence she came. Along for the ride is TraviCom communications employee Dr. Karen Ross (Laura Linney) who wishes to enter the Congo with Peter and Amy in order to find her ex-fiance Charlie (Bruce Cambell), son of TraviCom CEO R.B. Travis (played with vigor by Joe Don Baker). After Tim Curry and Ernie Hudson join the group the expedition is underway. Let the good times roll.
What sets "Congo" apart from other adventure movies is its gorgeous African backdrop, a fantastic soundtrack and, without a doubt, the most talented cast ever assembled for a motion picture.
Tim Curry gives possibly the greatest performance of his storied career as Herkermer Homolka, a Romanian philanthropist who wants to help Amy get back to her jungle habitat (or does he?).
In Captain Munro Kelly, veteran actor Ernie Hudson gives us one of the big screen's most legendary performances. Amidst the never-ending peril of gunfire, murderous primates and scheming philanthropists which surround him in the sweltering jungles of the Congo, Hudson exudes a calm nonchalance and gives the film a healthy dose of subtlety and wit. While in the thick of the glorious spectacle of the film's heart-pounding action and colorful performances, Hudson plays his character with a quiet elegance. It's a skillfully executed performance which draws attention to the fact that Hudson is the glue of this ensemble piece. His interactions with the expedition's other members provides the audience with little glimpses into their respective characters while, at the same time, allowing the film to never deviate from its seamless narrative flow. It's a demanding role and Hudson is more than up for the task; he brings out the best in his fellow actors. Case and point: Munro's relationship with expedition guide Kahega (played with blithe exuberance by the phenomenally talented Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). The filmmakers wisely underplayed the rapport between these characters and allowed the two gifted actors to simply hint at and imply a past of fond memories and shared adventures rather than drench the film with sloppy sentiment and inane banter. Furthermore, what the two actors subtly express onscreen is undeniably touching; from the most minute of mannerisms and gestures, one gathers that there is an unquestionable camaraderie and an unspoken devotion between the two (The expression on Munro's face when Kahega meets his unfortunate demise at the hands of the grey killer ape is so devastating and soul-wrenching that it may have single-handedly won Hudson his much-deserved 1995 Sci-Fi Universe Magazine Reader's Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor).
In addition, the tension which exists between Munro's character and Curry's provides, arguably, the best moments "Congo." The dialogue exchange between these two brilliant actors is an absolute treat to witness. The two actors share such chemistry that one can't help but think Hudson and Curry will be prominently featured in the films inevitable sequel and/or sitcom spin-off.
And, of course, let us not forget Amy the gorilla. Amy's tender and affectionate performance assures that she can now be considered one of Hollywood's elite primate actors; she belongs to an A-list which includes Ed (from "Ed") Dunston (from "Dunston Checks In"), Buddy (from "Buddy") and Robin Williams (from "Jack"). It should be noted that Amy certainly has her share of detractors who find her performance tedious and her dialogue redundant. Those critics, however, have absolutely no understanding of the patience and labor it takes to teach gorillas to talk; all things considered, Amy's performance is nothing short of miraculous. Simply put, anybody who criticizes or mocks this splendid actress is a fool, an absolute fool.
Such performances enliven an already entertaining storyline filled with danger, intrigue, deception and enormous hippos. Watching "Congo" is a tremendously gratifying experience; it is one of the greatest movies of all time and whoever chooses to sit and watch it will be greatly rewarded with a well-crafted tale. As Curry's Homolka might put it, it is a movie "of incredible bounty."
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4.0 out of 5 stars JUST MONKEYIN' AROUND, Nov. 12 2003
By 
Michael Butts (Berkeley Springs, WV USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Congo (Widescreen) (DVD)
Director Frank Marshall obviously didn't want us to take this movie seriously. "Congo" is one of those "B" movies from the fifties where you went to the matinee, stayed all day for the double feature, threw popcorn at your friends or enemies, and occasionally ate candy off the floor. Oh, yes, and you'd watch the movie during the good parts. This movie is so unabashedly "bad", it's good!
Laura Linney---oh, the work of this fine young actress. The Oscar-nominated actress (You Can Count on Me) brings life to her role as the stuffy computer girl, just like she has in films like "Primal Fear," "The Mothman Prophecies", and her current success, "Mystic River."
Dylan Walsh---capitalizing on his youthful face, those wonderfully curly locks, and his compact yet rugged physique, Walsh brings a macho sincerity to his role, and underplays his manliness in fine fettle. Should see more of him in meatier roles. (He did a fine supporting turn in "Blood Work.")
Tim Curry--oh, you should be so ashamed at how awful you are in this movie. The accent is like Boris Badenov! Tsk, tsk...
Ernie Hudson---looked like a thin man's version of Barry White, and even affected at times a British accent. I still remember you from "Ghostbusters" and the delightfully hammy "Hand That Rocks the Cradle."
Joe Don Baker--still "Walking Tall" after all these years. Never accused of being an actor, he is still a presence.
"Evil Dead's" Bruce Campbell gets a brief cameo in the beginning, and manages to come across as the stultified hero once again. Watch for Joe Pantoliano and John Hawkes in brief roles.
The music by Jerry Goldsmith is beautiful as is the African vistas.
It's not a great movie, but is a fun one. My favorite scene: Dylan Walsh wakes up and finds something on his body and goes out and asks someone to take it off. It's a leech, and when Lauras Linney volunteers, you can see that boyish naivete come to fore!
Fun.
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1.0 out of 5 stars CONGO-AWAY!!!!, Oct. 5 2003
This review is from: Congo (Widescreen) (DVD)
ONCE AGAIN, I CHECK OUT A MOVIE, HAVING A REASONABLE EXPECTATION THAT IT WILL BE ENTERTAINING, ONLY TO BE DISAPPOINTED TO THE POINT OF NO RETURN. WHERE SHALL I BEGIN? WELL LETS START OFF WITH THE FACT THE GORILLA AMY, HAD MORE LINES THAN THE ACTUAL ACTORS IN THIS MOVIE..AND MORE TALENT TOO.IE> THE RED EYE SHE PAINTED. I KEPT EXPECTING SOME BIG FINALE WITH THE (EVIL) GORILLAS,..ONLY TO SEE THEM FOR THE LAST 5 MINUTES OF THE MOVIE..I DID BECOME A FAN OF THESE UGLY GORILLAS ONCE THEY KILLED OFF MOST OF THE CAST MEMBERS. THIS WHOLE MOVIE TURNED INTO A RIDICULOUS FIASCO THAT BUILT YOUR INTEREST UP JUST ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU WISH YOU COULD GET BACK THAT ONE HOUR AND 30 MINUTES YOU'VE JUST WASTED IN YOUR LIFE. I AM HAPPY THAT I DID NOT WASTE A BAG OF POPCORN ON THIS ONE, AS THAT WOULDVE BEEN A COUPLE OF BUCKS I COULDNT GET BACK EITHER, THEN AGAIN, THAT WOULDVE BEEN THIS MOVIES ONLY SAVING GRACE. BUT I WOULD RATHER JUST EAT THE POPCORN AND GO SEE A GOOD MOVIE INSTEAD. IF YOU ARE HURTING TO SEE MONKEYS, GO BUY GORILLAS IN THE MIDST..THAT WAS A GOOD MOVIE,..LEAVE THIS ONE ALONE, IT IS AN HOUR AND A HALF OUT OF YOUR LIFE, FOR NO GOOD REASON.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Stop eating my sesame cake!", Feb. 17 2003
This review is from: Congo (Widescreen) (DVD)
Hoping to catch a ride on the success of "Jurassic Park," Paramount released "Congo" to critical and box office bashings. Nobody liked the film at all, saying the plot was filled with enough holes to put the Grand Canyon to shame. Also, Amy, the talking gorilla, was the most hated creation to hit the silver screen until Jar Jar Binks came along four years later in "Phantom Menace."
A movie like "Congo" is all the more reason not to listen to your peers and to make up your own mind about films. It provides us with something rare: a fun, bonafide jungle adventure with (not to sound cliche) thrills, chills and spills. For pure ecapist cinema, I think "Congo" ranks up along with more well-recieved classics like "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Star Wars" and "Back to the Future." While not as sophisticated or well-executed as those three, nobody can say that they watch these types of movies to feed their brains with knowledge. All things considered, what it all boils down to is that an underrated film like "Congo" delivers a rolicking good time at the movies in spades.
I think my favorite part of the film comes in Delroy Lindo's show-stopping performance as a military captain with volatile hospitality problems. One minute, he insists that his guests indulge in coffee and sesame cake. The next minute, he's yelling at Tim Curry for honoring his "request." A classic, campy performance. I also love Ernie Hudson's bad British accent, which in a weird way makes you respect his performance even more. I mean, at least he gave it a shot. And then there's the aforementioned Amy the talking gorilla, who is admittedly annoying sometimes, but nonetheless lovable. Oh, and did I mention Bruce Campbell makes a brief appearance as an ill-fated expedition leader? Groovy.
The DVD is your standard Paramount fare - bare bones. All you get is two theatrical trailers. But at least it sports an anamorphic transfer and comes complete with a 5.1 audio track. And thankfully, the image presentation here is one of the best Paramount's ever offered. The green of the jungle is truly GREEN and the blacks are unmistakably BLACK. A really beautiful transfer.
If you've seen "Congo" already and didn't like it, I suggest giving it another try. It's a heck of a lot better than what Hollywood dishes out these days. Like a fine wine, it seems to get better with age.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The Gongo Show, Feb. 16 2003
This review is from: Congo (Widescreen) (DVD)
Huh? What is this muddled piece of recycled Saturday matinee hutzpah director Frank "wanna-be-Spielberg" Marshall has tortured his unfortunate victims with? I know Hollywood is driven by an avaricious legion of money-grubbers ready to foist any plot-poor mélange on an unsuspecting audience, but this must be the pinnacle of impudence!
Anyway, this liberally adapted aberration of Michael Crichton's best selling novel follows an expedition into the Varunga region of the Congo by a disparate group of adventurers, each with their own agenda. We have the good boy primatologist (Dylan Walsh) who only wants to return Amy - a silverback gorilla with the ability to speak, via a computerized sign language device - to her jungle abode (I am feeling all warm and fuzzy). We have the high-tech gadget wielding Dr. Karen Ross (Laura Linney), searching for a lost team of diamond-hunters from her communications company. We have the Great "White" Hunter (Ernie Hudson), who, despite being black, manages to survive a Hollywood film all the way through the closing credits! Then there is Herkermer Homolka (say that five times fast), a paltering Romanian in search of King Solomon's Mines when he should be in search of a good face-lift. Played by Tim Curry, Homolka distorts his face into ungodly deformations that would make Jim Carry jealous! The clincher is when Curry says "Every word of it was absooooluuuutely true." Do not even get me started on his accent! Oh, by the way, our heroes run into some bloodthirsty, person-in-a-suit, killer gorillas along the way.
As bad as "Congo" was, I still had fun watching the mishmash of cast members like the odd-looking Grant Heslov (he is always in these kinds of films), Joe Don Baker (reprising his role of a tough redneck for the umpteenth time), and the ever amusing, comic book hero-visaged Bruce Campbell! The acting and dialogue is embarrassing; my face was blushing for the actors. Director Frank Marshall may be thought of as a poor man's Steven Spielberg, but in this case, he is a dead man's Steven Spielberg. The pace of the film is non-existent, and there are absolutely no surprises to compensate for John Patrick Shannley's inane screenplay. Only lush African scenery and Jerry Goldsmith's crackerjack score deliver this turkey from the bowels of a one-star rating. By the time you reach the "big climax" (considering you have not pressed the eject button by this point), you are left wandering just what was the point - to use up a few excess rounds of prop ammunition, maybe? The celluloid that was wasted on this film could have been used to make a good nature film about REAL gorillas. Heck, gorillas themselves could have made a better a film! The catch line for the film was "Where you are the endangered species", but it is boondoggles like "Congo" that should be on the endangered species list.
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Congo (Widescreen)
Congo (Widescreen) by Frank Marshall (DVD - 2004)
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