TOTALLY GRATUITOUS AND INAPPROPRIATE FRIDAYS (TGIF) is a sometimes NSFW and spoiler-loaded column featuring movies/shows that you probably shouldn’t watch with your spouse, teenage daughter, parents, small children, priests, or people with heart conditions.
AngieBee here with a…OMG!, long time coming with this, a TGIF. Sorry about the extended delay. We just stay so busy around here and some columns fall by the wayside. However, after scoping out the naughty bits in this week’s movie SURVIVAL ISLAND (not to be confused with the Nicholas Brendon “killer pinata“ movie of the same name), I might be more inclined to watch pics like this more often. The trip to this ISLAND was pretty fun, but had they had the filmmakers added a bit more nudity and some more fornication this might could’ve been a perfect porno. I am not opposed to porn. I just feel that porn should have a plot. I want there to be a reason for all the boning. It doesn’t have to be perfect or make since but at least give me a little something before cutting to the graphic bits.
SURVIVAL ISLAND is really a movie of two parts. The first part involves a group of four friends who go on a cruise. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, while boarding the ship, they witness an argument between Manuel, a crew member, and a mysterious woman. Later, we see that she is some kind of voodoo witch or who knows what and she seems to have cast some sort of spell on Manuel. Witchy Woman is dancing around a pentagram with a doll (presumably Manuel) in the middle. She is the ultimate woman scorned. If I can’t have you then I’ll voodoo curse you and those around you!
Back to the cruisers, Jack and Jennifer are the wealthy married couple who will end up being two of the three main characters (Manuel, obviously, being the third). The wife is much younger than her husband and I thought right from the start: Is she really happy? So when the fire breaks out (subsequently sinking the ship and killing all of the passengers save for three) and the wife Jennifer (Kelly Brook) and Manuel (Juan Pablo Di Pace) end up stranded on a secluded island, I wasn’t surprised. Now whether or not this was just an accident or a voodoo spell, who knows? What is known is that Manuel immediately shows that he is interested in Jennifer and wastes no time wanting to get down. Unfortunately for him, the husband pops up alive, happens to be the extremely jealous type and the fight is on.
We have already seen that Jack (Billy Zane) and Jennifer like some kinky stuff on the boat. She apparently needs to be tied up or I ‘m not sure if that’s for her enjoyment or his. Once on the island, Jack starts by accusing her of having sex with Manuel. Like immediately. Forget the fact that the ship sunk, we’re all stranded on a desert isle and the food is running low, Jack wants to know if she’s got the hots for Manuel. Nice to see he has his priorities straight.
I’ll admit that Manuel is a sexy hot man with a great tan and an inviting smile. I’m thinking that yes, maybe in maybe a better situation, she might have given into his advances if not just attacking this man from the get-go. But they were only there for two days before her husband shows up and they built a hut, got food, prepared for the long haul. Come on Jack, lets get the priorities right here. Sex was not the first thought. Not to mention sex and sand with salt water? I am not sure that’s real conducive to lovemaking.
Just as you have probably figured, nothing makes desire stronger than jealousy. By arguing with her husband and liking Manuel this puts Jennifer in the middle of a love triangle on an island with only three people. Two is company three is a crowd. The fighting and refusing to work together makes it even worse. When Jack steals from his wife’s would-be boyfriend and leaves to get food, Manuel throws a fit and Jennifer tries to calm him. A struggle ensues which turns into more of a…well, I actually thought this might become a rape scene then she started responding to him. Remember what I said about sand and salt water? Seems Manuel and Jennifer had no problems with that.
Jack returns and senses his wife has boinked another man immediately. Responding the only way he knows how, he turns feral, leaves for the jungle and decides to re-enact the finale of APOCALYPSE NOW as a one-man show. It’s at this point the film turns into a full-on survival pic with the three battling for island supremacy. You can probably already guess this doesn't end well. One, maybe two, maybe three, people are going to die. I'll let you watch to figure out who.
I have to say I am a little shocked that there were only two sex scenes in this because it seemed like much more. I guess the sexual tension made it seem like more. I did like the movie, but the end is worth the whole thing. There is a twist that makes this a solid movie. I won’t blow it! Hell, I have already blown enough. Right? I’ll let J chime in with his two cents now…
J here. Can’t really say that I agree with AngieBee on this one. SURVIVAL ISLAND (also known as THREE) seemed like a poor man’s DEAD CALM to me. The fact that Zane starred in both films and was way better in CALM only made things worse. That’s not to say there isn’t some good stuff on this ISLAND, but you’ll have to wade through an ocean of crap just to get to it.
Let’s start with the voodoo chick. Kicking the movie off with her casting a hex on the entire cruise and causing them to be stranded on a desert isle is a pretty good idea. Cheesy, but good. Hexes make for good spooky storytelling and, for about ten minutes, this little plot thread actually works. But once the trio washes ashore on the island, the voodoo chick disappears. It’s almost as if the filmmakers forgot about the plot and just decided to focus on Kelly Brook’s magnificent breasts.
And no, I’m not complaining about those twin wonders. I’m a guy and if you’ve read the site before today then you already know that I am quite the fan of Brook. Her smoking hot bod makes any movie she’s involved in watchable by default. Don’t care if it sucks or not, if Brook is there then it’s worth watching. I’d post a pic post of her everyday if I could, but I won’t because I think that’s technically cyber-stalking and…I’m waffling. Mmmmm…waffles. Waffles and Kelly Brook. Waffles, Kelly Brook and syrup! Oh wait…the voodoo chick. Time to get back on point.
So yeah, the voodoo chick storyline is abandoned once Jack, Jennifer and Manuel hit the island. Then the movie goes off on it’s little island-bound DEAD CALM trip with Brook playing the Nicole Kidman role, Di Pace doing his variation on Sam Neill and Zane playing, well, Billy Zane. Makes sense since the only man who could properly pay homage to Billy Zane in CALM would be Billy Zane…albeit an older, slightly chunkier, balder version of Zane.
As AngieBee previously mentioned, tensions rise, Jennifer starts boning Manuel, Jack gets jealous and goes all native on them, yadda, yadda, yadda. Listen, there’s not many surprises to be had with this flick outside of the shocking lack of actual nudity and the wonderful “What a twist!” ending. You might, however, be surprised that the voodoo woman does reappear in the finale for about two seconds. That’s right, the filmmakers leave her early on in the middle of her little crazy hex dance, forget about her and then return to her (the trio has been stranded on the island for nearly a month at this point) to reveal that she is still dancing her little hexy dance. WTF? Are we supposed to believe that she’s been at this for nearly a month? I mean, you’d think she would have quit after she heard the boat exploded and that there were no survivors. But no, this gal is so pissed at Manuel that, even after a month has passed, she is still dancing the dance of the scorned woman. Give me a break.
But wait, the worst part of this flick isn’t the voodoo woman but rather the actual accident that strands the trio on the island. A fire in the kitchen breaks out, the entire crew (four crew members and four tourists) abandon ship in the lifeboats and then…I guess a storm breaks out. Not really sure. Director Stuart Raffill (holy hell, this is the guy responsible for MAC AND ME!) never clearly shows what happened to the lifeboats or to the remaining four crew members (the Captain does wash ashore dead, so I’ll give him that). There’s some awkward stock footage of a storm, some screaming and then Kelly Brook is swimming ashore. That’s it. The whole sequence was shot so poorly and mysteriously that I actually kept waiting for some big reveal like that Zane caused the lifeboat to sink or that Manuel did. The reveal never came and the ultimate twist was that Raffill is just an awful director.
The only thing that Raffill manages to film properly is Brook and Di Pace. As long as these two are lounging around half-naked on the beach (and occasionally dancing the horizontal mambo), SURVIVAL ISLAND works just fine. It’s whenever the film decides to leave these two that everything goes to shit. Zane chews the scenery so hard here that you have to wonder if the background was made out of ham. Di Pace does well with the little he’s given, but the film requires him to be alternately charming and annoying. For every sweet moment he has with Brook, there’s two moments where he is intentionally goading on Zane’s character or slapping around a woman. And as AngieBee mentioned earlier, the first sex scene between Jennifer and Manuel is quite strange. Almost STRAW DOGS-esque, but nowhere near as deep. Haha…deep. But seriously, scene starts off with these two characters fighting, then she resists, almost seems scared and then, once Manuel has descended into the depths of her womanly cavern, she’s all for it. I’m all for BLUE LAGOON sexy shenanigans, but I prefer my movie love scenes to be 100% consensual. Leave the rapey stuff for DEATH WISH and I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE.
I honestly don’t know who this film was made for. One would assume from the involvement of busty Brook that this was being made for the Skinemax crowd, but there really isn’t enough nudity to place it in that category. Out of the three sex scenes in SURVIVAL ISLAND, only one is really worth checking out. The first doesn’t show any skin and is intercut with the crazy voodoo chick slitting the throat of a chicken. Not exactly fun times. The second scene is the aforementioned beach rape/sex bit which, despite being chock full of Brook and Di Pace skin, was uncomfortable. Only the third scene, a midnight skinny dip turned impromptu lovemaking session, is any good and it’s still weird because Zane is watching the two from the shadows. Where the hell is the normal Skinemax stuff? You know, a guy and a gal getting it on for about three to four minutes set to music that is normally reserved for the inside of an elevator. That's what I expect from a Skinemax pic and SURVIVAL ISLAND is no Skinemax pic.
So if this isn’t a Skinemax flick, then what is it? A thriller? I guess it works as one, but the thriller stuff doesn’t really kick in till the last act. Even when it does finally go all DEAD CALM, Zane is playing it so over-the-top that you really can’t take it seriously. Maybe this is supposed to be an island survival pic like CAST AWAY? Hahahaha…scratch that. Despite being stranded on an island, these three are relatively laid back about the whole ordeal. Food is relatively easy to come by, the trio remain moderately clean for the entire runtime and there are no real threats on the island outside of Zane. The sharks in the ocean avoid them when they go fishing and there are no animals on the island save for crabs. If Raffill had really wanted to shake things up, he should’ve thrown in a smoke monster or two. I figure since he was ripping off DEAD CALM so viciously, why crib a little LOST while you’re at it?
As it stands, the only thing that SURVIVAL ISLAND gets right is Di Pace and Brook. Both of them are attractive, they show off a good deal of skin (but not quite enough for this kind of pic) and they have a nice easy-going chemistry that works until Zane shows up and goes all Kurtz on them. Had this flick simply centered around them and their burgeoning island romance, it might’ve worked. Throw in a few more sex scenes and some actual nudity (quick flashes do not an erotic thriller make) and SURVIVAL ISLAND might’ve been epic. Unfortunately, Raffill went another direction and the whole thing just feels like a missed opportunity.
SURVIVAL ISLAND is definitely not the most TGIF movie I could’ve found. A few snips here and there and this could’ve almost been a PG-13. I will admit that the random bits of Brook goodness, the decent chemistry between her and Di Pace and the ending (just ignore the fact that Brook’s hair is still perfect after nearly a year on the island) make this moderately watchable. Just don’t focus on the plot too hard otherwise you might get a headache. If you want a great skintastic Brook pic, I suggest checking out PIRANHA 3D instead.