SAHARA (2005)


Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz, Steve Zahn, William H. Macy, Lennie James, Rainn Wilson, Delroy Lindo

Directed by: Breck Eisner

Synopsis: Master explorer Dirk Pitt goes on the adventure of a lifetime of seeking out a lost Civil War battleship known as the “Ship of Death” in the deserts of West Africa while helping a WHO doctor being hounded by a ruthless dictator.

I went out to my car after work the other day and it was covered in dust. I later found out that it is actually sand being blown over from the Sahara. Can you believe that?! I live in ENGLAND! And my car is covered in the Sahara! Madness. Which leads me to why I watched the film Sahara.

Any regular followers will know about my love and adoration for Matthew McConaughey. Just to prove that I am no bandwagon jumper, I re-watched Sahara. And you know what, I enjoyed it. So there.

The film is a fairly fun adventure romp in the same vein as Indiana Jones and the Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner films Romancing The Stone and The Jewel of the Nile. Sure, some of it is downright stupid (windsurfing airplanes?) but on the whole it kept me entertained.

McConaughey plays adventurer and treasure hunter Dirk Pitt. Along with his buddy Al (Steve Zahn) they go on an adventure in Lagos and Mali to find a missing Civil War boat (I know, I don’t really know how it ended up in Africa either). Along the way they meet a World Health Organisation doctor played by Penelope Cruz who is investigating a mysterious plague in Mali. The Malian president, Kazeem (Lennie James) is, to quote Alan Partridge, a bit of a shit. He is preventing aid from reaching the suffering. Dirk and co to the rescue!

There are all sorts of escapades you will have seen in all manner of films, from James Bond to the aforementioned Indiana Jones. There are gun fights and boat chases, things blowing up, helicopters chasing cars and big evil toxic waste factories. The villains are full on Bond style and the good guys are handsome and cool (McConaughey), pretty and tough (Cruz) and the funny guy (Zahn).

The film is easily thirty minutes too long and is quite frankly preposterous in places. It has every cliche in the book and seems to meander at times. Yet, biased firmly in place, I was charmed by McConaughey and co, and, maybe because it reminded me of the classic Indiana Jones style adventure films of my youth, I couldn’t help but enjoy Sahara for what it is. Dumb and fun. A perfect movie to sit down and watch on a rainy day weekend if you will.

3.5 clappers


About thomasjford

I like Movies and Music and most things popular culture.


  1. Didn’t think this one was terrible. However, it was terribly bland. Good thing that both Cruz and McConaughey have at least done well for themselves since this. As for Zahn, eh, poor guy. Good review.

  2. I admit I’ve come late to the Matthew McConaughey fan club, having been put off by a number of ludicrous rom coms he was in earlier in his career, but I loved both Mud and The Dallas Buyers Club. Haven’t seen Sahara – sounds like it’s worth a view.

  3. Good review, Tom. Looking forward to the next rainy weekend. 😉

  4. Abbi

    Pretty sure I fell asleep in this one…

  5. I remember being charmed by McConaughey in ED TV. Looks a movie to watch with a bag of haribo.

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