Sahara contains everything for family

Victoria Riggs

Victoria Riggs

If your taste in movies craves intrigue, romance and fireball explosions just over the top of the next sand dune, Sahara dishes it up and delivers -a la carte.

Matthew McConaughey dives right into the action as he and his sidekick put their military training to use searching for sunken treasures on the ocean floor. Through a strange chain of events and a small twist of fate, the pair gets a dubious tip that the remains of an escaped Confederate ironclad ship laden with Confederate gold coins was dry-docked in the Sahara Desert after traversing the Pacific Ocean. They take off like kids in a great big sandbox to be the first to locate where the ship is buried.

Meanwhile, a doctor (Cruz) from the World Health Organization (WHO) is attempting to navigate into the same locality to investigate the source of a mysterious mortal plague sweeping local villages like wildfire. She ends up being the only member of the WHO motorcade spared from a massacre by rogue desert dwellers sent on a search and destroy mission by a mysterious (bad guy) figure in a white (good guy) linen suit. His character hints that a conspiracy is at hand.

The two parties just happen to be at the same place at the same time and join forces to battle the threatening insurgents on trains, planes, boats and camels. Their combined intellectual prowess and techno-geek ingenuity allow them to overpower hordes of automatic weapon-wielding marauders. They discover the dark secret at the center of the conspiracy.

Without divulging any further clues as to the plot’s climax and resolution, the movie has something for everyone in the PG-13 audience. Mom and Dad can relax that the love interest that develops between McConaughey and Cruz does not involve any disrobement by either one. The violence is so clearly feigned a la overkill so as to seem more comedic than life-threatening.

The movie’s humorous lines carry the plot’s momentum a long way. Quips like “I’m sick of being shot at all the time!” and “They did a Panama!” relieve the audience of the difficult task of trying to figure out the twisted plot and all of its complicated connections. Once they sit back and relax, a surprise ending unravels in front of their eyes.

McConaughey and his bulging biceps handily take care of business in the end and keep the ladies entertained. Cruz plays a nonenigmatic intellect, contrary to the usual helpless female stereotype, another plus for the ladies. Yet, the petite scientist with her childlike expressions appeals to the male constituency every time McConaughey sweeps her out of harm’s way.

four out of five stars