Turistas is the latest movie to declare that the most unsafe place to be is on vacation. Backpack though Europe and wind up ground up in Hostel. Take a cave expedition, and you're not likely to survive The Descent. Desert hills have eyes, watching for a chance at your throat.
Now we can't even hope that a boozy excursion to Brazil among nubile, mostly naked people will turn out well, or even ghastly entertaining. Director John Stockwell's movie is more bore than gore, spending an hour admiring the geographic and physical scenery before providing a peek-a-boo at someone's innards.
Much of Turistas relives fantasies of bikini babes in Stockwell's previous films, Blue Crush and Into the Blue. Turistas simply transports an urban legend to the Amazon jungle, allowing a mad doctor to harvest organs from a drugged tourist.
Even that abomination is lame. Stockwell shows only one victim going under the knife, an hour into the story. She's naked, with fake body parts oozing between her breasts. That sums up this genre's sick appeal.
The rest of the violence is basic bone-crushing with a nasty gash here and there. Too much time is wasted playing Marco Polo in cave waters. Sorry, gorehounds, but blood thirst isn't Stockwell's game.
The dramatic dead end begins with tourists escaping a bus before it tumbles over a cliff. How the mad doctor's collectors know the accident will happen there, near a beachfront tiki bar trap, is the only mystery in the movie. A night of altered states and sex becomes a hangover morning with six robbed tourists scrambling to return to civilization. Of course, a helpful guide is taking them to the doctor's lair.
Let's talk logic: The doctor is selling body parts to hospitals in Rio de Janeiro. Kidneys and livers can make the trip from nowhere but hearts won't survive long enough. Why not drug the tourists, transport them whole to Rio and remove everything of value there? Nobody seems to wonder how this guy has a constant supply, so detection is unlikely. That's proof that the most worthless body part in Turistas is the brain.
Steve Persall can be reached at (727) 893-8365 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director: John Stockwell
Cast: Josh Duhamel, Melissa George, Olivia Wilde, Beau Garrett, Desmond Askew, Max Brown, Miguel Lunardi, Agles Steib
Screenplay: Michael Ross
Rating: R; violence, gory images, nudity, profanity, drug abuse
Running time: 90 min.