• Sahara (30th Anniversary Edition)

    Released by: Timeless Media
    Released on: October 1st, 2013.
    Director: Andrew McLaglen
    Cast: Brooke Shields, John Rhys-Davies, Lambert Wilson
    Year: 1983
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    The Movie:

    A 1983 Cannon Films production (which, not surprisingly, was shot in Israel) directed by the man who made The Wild Geese, Andrew McLaglen’s film Sahara top bills a beautiful Brooke Shields as a young woman named Dale. After the death of her race car driving father, she takes it upon herself to compete in a race across the Sahara Desert. The only problem? She’s a woman and racing is a man’s game. So she disguises herself as a completely unconvincing dude and somehow manages to fool the officials into letting her do her thing.

    Except that’s not really the only problem, there’s actually another much bigger problem and that would be that two warring factions native to the area have chosen race day to start a war with one another. For reasons known only to them, the various contestants decide that the show must go on and shortly after it begins, Team Dale gets abducted by some of the tribesmen. Of course it doesn’t take long for Dale’s true gender to be revealed. After that happens one of the men, a high ranking guy named Rasoul (John Rhys-Davies), decides that he should be able to bone her but his own nephew, the man in charge – Jaffar (Lambert Wilson) – says no dice, Uncle Rasroul, this here lady is my property! After a scene in which Dale stands under a water fall in a thin shirt she and Jaffar come to terms. Dale finds that she can’t help but wonder if maybe he’s not such a bad guy after all, but Rasoul still smarts over all of this and so he decides to convince the rest of the tribe that she’s actually a demon in human form.

    Unfortunately, Dale gets abducted again, this time by the guys in the other tribe, but she fights back. This isn’t going to help much though, because they’re going to put her on a big rock surrounded by panthers to stop her from escaping. All Dale really wants to do though is get back to the race and win the day in memory of her dear, departed dad.

    Sahara, not to be confused with the Matthew McConaughey picture of the same name, is really, really goofy. To its credit, it does feature a nifty score from Ennio Morricone and Brooke Sheilds looks great throughout, never a hair out of place. It features some nice desert scenery and putting someone on a rock and surrounding that rock with panthers is kind of a cool idea, but the acting and the script are BAD. And no, that wasn’t an accidental caps lock accident, those capital letters are intentional.

    Sheilds, as beautiful as she is here, shows all the acting range of lint. She has the same vapid expression on her face for the entire time, it doesn’t matter if she’s fighting or fucking or racing or ranting, she’s just Brooke. All day, every day, Brooke. The rest of the cast occasionally rise to the challenge and play their respective racial stereotypes fairly well, but with so much of the movie riding on Brooke’s sometimes exposed and appealingly slender shoulders, you sort of know where it’s all headed. Ultimately, this one looks nice. It’s a boneheaded adventure film with a pretty girl, pretty scenery and a Morricone score and it does pack in all sorts of amusing goofiness to ensure that it’s completely watchable, it’s just not very ‘good’ in the traditional sense.


    The 2.35.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is taken from what looks like an analogue source of some sort and while it’s certainly watchable enough, it’s soft and sometimes shows some obvious color fading. There are no compression artifacts and the image is pretty clean. Overall it’s fine.

    The only audio option on the disc is an English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix and it sounds fine. Dialogue is crisp and clear and the levels are nicely balanced. Morricone’s music sounds good. Car engines rev nicely. This works.

    The only extras on the disc are a trailer and a still gallery, outside of that we get static menus and chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    Sahara is enjoyable enough if you’re in the right frame of mind for it. The movie offers up plenty of scenery and enough camp appeal that, as dopey as it all is, the movie entertains. The Timeless Media DVD release could have looked a little better but is at least presented in its proper aspect ratio, though it is surprisingly short on extras for something touted as a Thirtieth Anniversary Edition.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Richard--W's Avatar
      Richard--W -
      I vaguely remember Brooke's team getting captured and buried in the sand up to their necks. She promises not to forget them and goes on to run the race without them. Afterward, as an afterthought, she goes back to find the team still quipping jokes. Or something like that. The film was unintentionally hilarious. It's well-made, though by Andrew V. McLaglen. He was a GUNSMOKE alumni and one of John Wayne's regular directors, had enormous hits in the 1960s with McCLINTOCK, SHENANDOAH etc. long career right up through the 1990s. Ran an innovative theater company in Oregon or Washington.