Director: Rob Meltzer
Writer: Jeff Kauffman
Cast: Adam Brody, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Rob Huebel, Kristen Schaal, Megan Boone, Dennis Haysbert, Aaron Takahashi, Dennis Haysbert, Juan C. Defendini, Kristopher Varenberg, Bianca Bree and Stephanie Lopez
Running Time: 95 min.
By Jeff Bona
There are two facts you should know about Welcome to the Jungle before you dive in:
1) It’s not a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. If you’re expecting something like Kickboxer, you’re in for a big surprise. In fact, you may end up hating it.
2) It’s not a Van Damme comedy. It’s more of an ensemble comedy that Van Damme is a part of. If anything, Adam Brody and Rob Huebel have the starring roles. Don’t let the poster fool you.
Rob Meltzer’s Welcome to the Jungle revolves around a group of office workers who find themselves stranded on a desert island when a corporate retreat, led by unhinged former Marine (Van Damme), goes horribly wrong. Now Chris (Brody) and his co-workers must battle nature – and each other – to survive.
Welcome to the Jungle takes ideas from films like Office Space, as well as tidbits from Lord of the Flies and Apocalypse Now, to make a nicely paced comedy. While decent, it’s no surprise that it didn’t receive a theatrical release. Even if they threw in Seth Rogen and a few million more to the budget, there would still be something missing that would keep it from being a box office contender. But then again, it’s definitely a better movie than The Hangover Part III. Go figure.
As for the Van Damme fans who want to see their hero in a funny movie? I wouldn’t exactly call his comedic talent amazing, but the guy does pull it off naturally. His character is basically a parody of every role he’s played during his heyday. And yes, he does get to show off his martial arts skills, but don’t get up to refill your drink, because you’ll miss it. In the end, kudos to Van Damme for trying something different, as he always does.
As long as you’re okay with the two facts I stated at the beginning of this review, Welcome to the Jungle is worth watching.
Jeff Bona‘s Rating: 7/10