Critics Consensus

A mindless adventure flick with a preposterous plot.



Total Count: 177


Audience Score

User Ratings: 213,546
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Sahara Photos

Movie Info

Matthew McConaughey stars as explorer and adventurer Dirk Pitt in this adaptation of the best-selling novel by Clive Cussler. Pitt thinks he may have found both a fortune and the answer to a long-standing mystery when he discovers a rare coin in the waters of a river in West Africa. During the Civil War, an ironclad battleship with a valuable cargo went missing, and Pitt's theory is that the coin places the ship somewhere in the Sahara Desert. Pitt and his goofy sidekick, Al Giordino (Steve Zahn), set out to find it, but along the way they make the acquaintance of Dr. Eva Rojas (Penélope Cruz), a scientist and physician who is trying to determine the source of a strange and deadly disease sweeping the nation. As Eva joins Dirk and Al, they begin to wonder if the mysteries they're trying to uncover might be somehow linked. Sahara was only the second of Cussler's Dirk Pitt adventures to be adapted for the screen; the first, 1980's Raise the Titanic, was publicly dismissed by the author.

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Penelope Cruz
as Eva Rojas
Steve Zahn
as Al Giordino
Lambert Wilson
as Yves Massarde
Glynn Turman
as Dr. Frank Hopper
William H. Macy
as Admiral Sandecker
Dayna Cussler
as Kitty Mannock
Rakie Ayola
as Mrs. Nwokolo
Christopher Bello
as Train Driver
Nicholas Beveney
as Gunboat One Officer
Empotoe Bosage
as Pick-Up Truck Guard
Robert Cavanah
as Captain Tombs
Emmanuel Ighodaro
as Kazim's Officer Asselar
Matthew Flynn
as 1st Lieutenant, Ironclad
Clint Dyer
as Oshodi
Lennie James
as General Zateb Kazim
Daniel Lobé
as Tuareg Sangare
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News & Interviews for Sahara

Critic Reviews for Sahara

All Critics (177) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (68) | Rotten (109)

Audience Reviews for Sahara

  • Oct 07, 2013
    This movie wasn't really as bad as I expected it to be. Of course it isn't an Indiana Jones movie, which this desperately wants to be, but it has some exciting locales and some good enough action sequences that make this a little better than it probably should've been. While it's implied from the rating, I don't mean to say that this movie's any good, or that it's even average, I'm just saying that there's enough "excitement" here for a person to find themselves enjoying this flick, since it does provide mindless entertainment. The problem is that this mindless entertainment is also thoughtless. This movie certainly harkens back to old-school action-adventure flicks, especially its score, which is likely the best part of the film. While it is not as iconic as the score of Raiders of the Lost Ark, it wouldn't have been out of place in one of the sequels and it's a shame that such a good score was wasted on this movie. The problem is that the story is an absolute fucking disaster that doesn't really know what it wants to be with an absolutely preposterous story. Something about some toxins going into the ocean that, if they keep spreading, will end up reaching the Atlantic Ocean in 6 months and, in less than a year, will spread to the entire sea. Or some such bullshit. There's also this little subplot about these African rebels, ie: the good guys, that only get the courage to fight back against Kazim's oppression when they meet these two white people. It is as bad as it sounds. The action sequences of the film never resonate because the script is as unfocused as it is, you're never sure why any of it is happening and how it serves any actual purpose in the context of the story. The fact of the matter is that FOUR screenwriters, that we know of, couldn't come with anything even remotely interesting for any of the characters. The film is entirely comprised of cliches and the storytelling is just absolutely awful. The cast is fine, Matthew and Steve have decent chemistry, but I don't get why Penelope Cruz was even here. I mean I understand these films need the requisite romance subplot to pander to the womenfolk. But Matthew and Penelope really have no chemistry whatsoever, and Penelope's character is just the stereotypical damsel in distress. She does, eventually, come up with the antidote for those who were poisoned. But it's said after the fact, you never get to see her developing the cure, so she's really not important in this film...I mean, at all. She's there to be rescued and look pretty. And that's a shame. So yea, even if it has a lot of action and some exciting locales, this film's no good at all. You'd have much more fun watching an Indiana Jones movie, I mean it's obvious they ripped that series off.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jul 11, 2013
    "Sahara" gets a lot of crap talked about it due to its bad wrap at the box office and the legal issues it had within its budget, but it isn't a terrible film. Yes, it's uninspired and bloated and the screenplay is weak in places, but overall, it's rousing and adventurous and a good time-passer. Plus, the cast members are all at their likable best.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Oct 18, 2012
    Enough actions to sustain the plot, the set and the music were quite incredible. Acting wise, the film could have been better. Basically a mummy-free version of The Mummy
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Mar 28, 2012
    So I've read this is THE most expensive flop in Hollywood history, was a bit of a surprise to me I must say but I can see why really. The whole franchise based on the Dirk Pitt novels has collapsed after this first film which isn't a big deal really seeing as the character is a combination of Indy Bond and Errol Flynn, overly cliched and overused. The film is really a poor man's Indiana Jones, a poor man's Indiana Jones in the present day basically, yet somehow the film is almost two hours long and really quite dull. The whole film consists of the heroes running around African desert whilst being shot at by various people really, there is a silly plot about trying to find a buried American civil war ironclad warship and also a plot about stopping most of the African water supply getting poisoned. Personally I feel like they have gotten the era's mixed up, McConaughey looks and acts like a kind of dashing cinematic silver screen legend of the 30's-40's yet he is in the present day and accompanied by the rather whiny and annoying Zahn. Both the main leads are always clad in desert colour outfits which all seems to have stemmed from Indiana Jones, there is the all too common vintage car racing through the desert whilst been shot at sequence, Cruz is completely pointless throughout, it tries to be funny but fails and the ending is a rip roaring anti-climax. To be frank I think this failed because its set in the present day and we already have a character for that and his name is James Bond. These type of adventures seem to work better when period set, 'The Mummy' films and 'The Phantom' are good examples of this type of boys own wilderness set adventures that work in another era. I still don't get how the CSS Texas was shown at the start of the film in Virgina, US and ends up in the Niger River, Africa, anyone?? Plus on a final note...Dirk Pitt has to be one of the dumbest attempts at a cool heroic name I've come across for some time.
    Phil H Super Reviewer

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