Cutthroat Island (1995)

cutthroat island poster 1995 movie
2.0 Overall Score
Story: 2/10
Acting: 2/10
Visuals: 7/10

Expensive visuals

Like watching a bad Universal Studios stage show...for two hours

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Cutthroat Island

Studio:  Carolco Pictures

Genre(s): Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  December 22, 1995

MPAA Rating: PG-13

cutthroat island geena davis matthew modine

The romance is…not palpable whatsoever

When pirate Morgan Adams (Geena Davis) finds her father Black Harry (Harris Yullin) has been murdered by her uncle Dawg Brown (Frank Langella), Morgan sets to take her father’s ship and fulfil his quest to find the legendary treasure of Cutthroat Island.  Recruiting a slippery thief named William Shaw (Matthew Modine), Morgan and her crew find themselves on an adventure of a lifetime…unfortunately, Dawg and the authorities aren’t far behind!

Directed by Renny Harlin, Cutthroat Island is an action adventure.  The expensive movie was a box office and critical bomb.  It received a Razzie nomination for Worst Director.

Pirates are fun; action is fun.  I was one of the few that saw Cutthroat Island in the theater as a result.  It wasn’t very fun or action packed, and rewatching the film, I can see why it failed.

cutthroat island monkey

Any movie with a funny monkey is good…right?

The movie drags despite the action.  The movie is a few “twists” too long and it feels like it kind of should have ended before or when the crew found Cutthroat Island instead of the prolonged battle at the end.  It often attempts to be an action comedy, but instead most of the comedy falls flat due to clunky dialogue.

The dialogue is delivered in very wooden fashion by the whole cast of the film.  Geena Davis doesn’t appear to be comfortable reading her lines and almost sounds like she’s overdubbed herself.  Davis famously did many of her own stunts, but it also looks like it.  She appears awkward swinging, shooting, and “actioning” her way through scenes.  As bad as Davis is, Frank Langella is just as bad if not worse…watching both of them is like watching amateur actors which isn’t fair to the audience.  Matthew Modine is the most palpable as Shaw, but even he feels like a cliché charming rogue.

cutthroat island geena davis frank langella

Bad, doggy? How about bad Geena and Frank

The movie does look fantastic, but that helps make it all the more disappointing.  The sets, explosions, and locations are high cost and big.  It is obvious why the movie cost so much to make, but the effects aren’t able to save it.

Cutthroat Island is like watching a stage show at Universal Studios.  While those are somewhat palpable, they are also about fifteen to twenty minutes.  Here, the overacting, overblown, and overdone film is a painful reminder that money doesn’t make a movie.  If you are going to watch a pirate movie, stick to something like the first Pirates of the Caribbean…don’t set sail on this adventure.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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