The Ghost and the Darkness

Bomb Rating: 

Okay, I'm confused. Maybe you can help me out.

"The Ghost and the Darkness" is based on a true story. A bridge-building engineer named John Patterson (Val Kilmer) goes to Africa to -- surprise! -- build a bridge. However, once he gets the various groups of local Africans to cooperate and help him, their camp is attacked by two man-eating lions. John gets all bent out of shape because if these lions keep eating the Africans, he won't be able to build his bridge. So, with the help of a fearless wild-game hunter, Remington (Michael Douglas), they set out to kill the two big pussy cats.

Here's my question: Was the idea of Val Kilmer being mangled and eaten by a lion supposed to scare me? Was I wrong to root for the lions? Frankly, I would think that would be something of a challenge for them. How exactly do you differentiate a tree from someone who radiates all the personality of a tree?

Additionally, if you're rooting for Val and Michael, you and the white people in the film should get together for a group hug. Director Stephen ("Blown Away") Hopkins makes a couple of whispery overtures to the idea that maybe the white man ought not to be poking around where he doesn't belong. Then again, Hopkins has gone and hired all these Samburu warriors along with other Africans in exchange for, I don't know, probably some grain and a nice kick in the ass, while Val and Michael are getting five or ten million a piece and tooling around Africa in their Land Rovers.

Whether it's 1896 or 1996, it sure is good to be white.

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