Ever seen that episode of AVGN for Darkwing Duck on the TurboGrafx-16? It starts off with the Nerd going through numerous games that you know are bad just by the title. Moon Ranger, Kid Niki, Dudes With Attitude, Deathbots, and Mad Max for the NES. They’re clearly bad games, but there just isn’t enough material to work with for a proper episode of the show. Safari 3000 is the cinematic equivalent to those reject games. However, since I suffered through it, now you must hear about it. And yes, I borrowed that sentence from Necessary Roughness (1991).
As you can see from the picture above, Christopher Lee is in this with a mustache, leather outfit, and a Darth Vader helmet. Why the Darth Vader helmet? I have no clue. Why does this little guy follow him around? No clue, but he does jump off a building near the beginning of the film. Why? I found out there is a movie called Pterodactyl Woman from Beverly Hills (1997) today so I don’t even know how we still exist, let alone why he jumps off the building.
So what is Safari 3000 about? There’s some sort of race in Africa and several teams are going to compete. Christopher Lee and the little guy…wait, of course, it’s a reference to The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)! That’s also why his name is Count Borgia in order to reference the Hammer Dracula films.
Well, there are other teams. I saw one that is clearly supposed to be two Japanese guys, and another made up of Italians. There are also two ladies who are listed as the American Housewives team in the credits. I’d find it offensive, but it’s an apt description because at the beginning of the race they say that while their husbands go to Vegas, they go to race cars.
This movie gets to the race pretty quickly, which is good. Channing convinces her superior at Playboy to let her go to cover this race with Carradine as her driver. What follows is promising with some laughs. They get across a partially broken bridge with a little trick driving. A local African guy gets angry at them, pretends to be unable to speak English, then leaves them alone when they give him a fancy camera. Then he promptly turns around, perfectly describes the camera to his buddies, and takes a shot of of his friend.
However, after that it just gets boring. The main problem is that there isn’t enough cutting between the different racers to get us excited or keep us engaged. Nor does enough happen to Channing and Carradine for us to feel them bond the way the movie wants us to believe they do.
In the end, you get a few laughs. You get to see some wildlife. Then the movie ends and you move on. In my case, to the next movie.