User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 120 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 99 out of 120
  2. Negative: 12 out of 120
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  1. Apr 29, 2011
    9
    I *will not* see this film trashed! This was a ripper of an adventure that should have been much more successful than it was. Indiana Jones with a wry smile. James Bond with tongue very firmly-in-cheek. Dashing and goofy rolled into one. Perhaps audiences didn't quite know what to do with this film?? It just hit the balance perfectly, imho, between being a couple of adventurers who happenI *will not* see this film trashed! This was a ripper of an adventure that should have been much more successful than it was. Indiana Jones with a wry smile. James Bond with tongue very firmly-in-cheek. Dashing and goofy rolled into one. Perhaps audiences didn't quite know what to do with this film?? It just hit the balance perfectly, imho, between being a couple of adventurers who happen upon a dastardly plot and a pinch of a slightly daffy comedy. This was undeniably a cut-above most films of its ilk -- and how few there are. I consider it a real tragedy that it wasn't more successful and that Sahara 2 will never be made. Expand
  2. D.A.
    Jan 31, 2009
    10
    When "It's a Wonderful Life" came out, it was considered a grand flop, as well! It took 30+ years - by sheer fluke of luck - for that beautiful film to be recognized as the incredible gem we all now know and love... and I do LOVE this movie!! Sahara has great humor and chemistry and it just works. Still, timing is everything, and it simply wasn't this movie's time, When "It's a Wonderful Life" came out, it was considered a grand flop, as well! It took 30+ years - by sheer fluke of luck - for that beautiful film to be recognized as the incredible gem we all now know and love... and I do LOVE this movie!! Sahara has great humor and chemistry and it just works. Still, timing is everything, and it simply wasn't this movie's time, unfortunately, because I would have loved to have seen McConaughey, Zahn, Macy, and Rainn Wilson work together again on this fantastic franchise. Expand
  3. Dec 23, 2012
    8
    Sahara is one of the best adventure movies of the 2000's. The plot is utter popcorn nonsense but the film is fun and the action is exciting. Sahara is a good modern-day competitor to Indiana Jones and Romancing the Stone.
  4. Feb 4, 2011
    8
    This movie is AWESOME! Here are 3 reasons why.
    1-A fun, creative, entertaining storyline that while not believable gave off an Indiana Jones aura that complimented it.
    2- Its FUNNY! This movie will have you laughing all the way through. All the main characters are quit lovable in their own individual way. 3- Originality, I don't think I had ever seen a movie quite like this one. The story
    This movie is AWESOME! Here are 3 reasons why.
    1-A fun, creative, entertaining storyline that while not believable gave off an Indiana Jones aura that complimented it.
    2- Its FUNNY! This movie will have you laughing all the way through. All the main characters are quit lovable in their own individual way.
    3- Originality, I don't think I had ever seen a movie quite like this one. The story is quite its own thing. My only issue was the lack of theme, I do not remember any sort of theme underlying the story, and thus a lack of reason to watch this movie for more than pure entertainment.

    Overall this movie is AMAZING. Its no work of Shakespeare, but if you like a quality adventure you will love it.
    Expand
  5. Nov 15, 2012
    5
    Action. Boo, whatever. I need depth. Sahara has NONE.
  6. Jun 7, 2013
    5
    Sahara is a rare film that manages to win you over despite its complete ridiculousness. The plot is insanely over-the-top, but I guarantee that you'll enjoy the hell out of it. There's so much fun to be had with this film!
  7. JoeB.
    Apr 6, 2005
    8
    Great action flick.
  8. JimB.
    Sep 7, 2005
    7
    Fluffy but fun, it was great to finally see a Cussler/Dirk Pittnovel on the Silver Screen.
  9. JudyT.
    Apr 10, 2005
    4
    Lousiest movie music I have ever heard. The worse shooting by the villians in this movie. With mediocre dialog and ridiculous action and escapes. I was glad when it was over.
  10. MarkH.
    Apr 10, 2005
    9
    Cusler fans should really like this movie. I was very impressed with how well the three main characters maintained the book's excitement even after some of the sensationalism was toned down from the book. The only thing I really missed was the fort battle at the end. Definitely a must see for Cusler fans!
  11. SPYBREAK
    Apr 7, 2005
    6
    Could
  12. AB
    Apr 7, 2005
    8
    It was a good film, I don't understand why so many critics didn't like it.
  13. BillS.
    Apr 8, 2005
    9
    Wow! Finally somebody makes an action film like they used to. It's got everything I like. Great stunts, funny lines, a cool mystery. Remember when movies used to be fun?
  14. JimG.
    Apr 9, 2005
    3
    Hardly Erroll Flynn and Olivia deHaviland!
  15. AndyW.
    Apr 9, 2005
    10
    I am a big fan of all the Cussler books, especially Sahara. I was very skeptical of the cast, but was surprised they pulled it off. Even Steve Zahn, who plays Al, was perfect! I had low expectations of this film, because Cussler had no rights to the script editing, so I was very happy to see they put most of the important parts of the book into the movie. I don
  16. MarkB.
    Jan 21, 2006
    2
    Dashing but devil-may-care Matthew McConaughey (A Time to Kill, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) and goofy but lovable Steve Zahn (Joy Ride, Riding in Cars with Boys) are normally two actors I really like, but they couldn't convince me here that they once stood in the same supermarket line, much less have been buddies-in-adventure all their lives, and that's not the least of this Dashing but devil-may-care Matthew McConaughey (A Time to Kill, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) and goofy but lovable Steve Zahn (Joy Ride, Riding in Cars with Boys) are normally two actors I really like, but they couldn't convince me here that they once stood in the same supermarket line, much less have been buddies-in-adventure all their lives, and that's not the least of this astonishingly dull action-comedy's problems. Breck Eisner paces it the way I hope his dad, famed studio exec Michael E., DIDN'T use to run board meetings--literally forty-five minutes pass in which absolutely nothing happens! Obviously this movie wants desperately to reinvent the Indiana Jones wheel, a difficult task but not an impossible one, as both the original Romancing the Stone and 2004's surprisingly refreshing and enjoyable National Treasure certainly prove. [***SPOILERS***]The plot deals with McConaughey's and Zahn's search through the eponymous, scoundrel-filled desert for an extremely rare coin; it takes a seriously wrong turn midway through when it uses the plight of diseased Africans heartlessly used as corporate cannon fodder. The Constant Gardener earns the right to employ this storyline because that's the heart of the film and because it takes that wrenching situation seriously; Sahara uses it as a spiffy little McGuffin, which is nothing short of obscene. (Perhaps this is one reason why Gardener's source author, John LeCarre, is regarded as a real writer while Sahara's, Clive Cussler, is considered a hack.) Almost as offensive is Sahara's total waste of the great William H. Macy in the all-but-invisible role of McConaughey's and Zahn's superior; one of the movie's more curious aspects is its uninspired, supposedly jocular use of several 1974 Top 40 hits ("Sweet Home Alabama", "Right Place Wrong Time"), but in Macy's case it should've added one more: "Billy, Don't Be A Hero (Or Anything Else)". Expand
  17. JuniorB.
    Mar 7, 2007
    6
    This movie is ok if there is nothing else on tv i guess. McConaughey once again shows that he can only play one character - good ol southern boy, cocky, too cool for school(i'm guessing that's must be his real personality).The HD-DVD version has amazing picture quality which is the main reason i gave it a 6. Also Penelope Cruz was very nice to look at. BTW who picked the songs This movie is ok if there is nothing else on tv i guess. McConaughey once again shows that he can only play one character - good ol southern boy, cocky, too cool for school(i'm guessing that's must be his real personality).The HD-DVD version has amazing picture quality which is the main reason i gave it a 6. Also Penelope Cruz was very nice to look at. BTW who picked the songs for this movie? Matthew McConaughey himself using his dazed and confused leftovers tracks. Expand
  18. TonyB.
    May 9, 2007
    6
    Just because you probably will not believe a minute of it does not mean you will not have a pretty good time.
  19. PatC.
    Nov 10, 2005
    4
    An action movie that flaunts its refusal to do reality checks.
  20. SteveN.
    Apr 10, 2005
    8
    Good fun, lots of action and the interaction between McConaughey and Zahn is great. Zahn plays a great sidekick. The whole thing is a bit over the top, but quite an enjoyable movie without the usual vulgarity common in many films.
  21. SusanM.
    Apr 14, 2005
    8
    Good movie, very exciting and the setting is amazing. Matthew is a dream to watch, it's one of those movies that are just plain fun, the type that help you escape from reality for a little while!!
  22. PaulH-E
    Apr 8, 2005
    10
    This is a fantastic movie! The cast are obviously having fun in their roles, and it carries through to the audience well. Matthew McConaughey plays Dirk Pitt exactly as Clive Cussler wrote him, an adventurer par excellence, while Steve Zahn is brilliant as his buddy, Al. The movie balances character, adventure and humour perfectly, with stunning locations, gorgeous cinematography and This is a fantastic movie! The cast are obviously having fun in their roles, and it carries through to the audience well. Matthew McConaughey plays Dirk Pitt exactly as Clive Cussler wrote him, an adventurer par excellence, while Steve Zahn is brilliant as his buddy, Al. The movie balances character, adventure and humour perfectly, with stunning locations, gorgeous cinematography and it's a joy to watch. Go see it! Expand
  23. TD
    May 1, 2005
    9
    This movie is a lot of fun. You can relax, and somehow as crazy as some scenes are, you still think they can still happen. An awesome piece of entertainment. They all can't be thought filled and meaningful, but this isn't meant to be one to begin with. Mmm.. can't go wrong with Ms.Cruz either.. mmm. lol.
  24. ChristopherB
    May 2, 2005
    7
    I still wonder how Dirk fell off the tower and managed to cling onto the mirrors and then climb back up. Ask Spiderman? Good film for a wet day. CB (age 7).
  25. BeauW.
    May 6, 2005
    8
    I am amazed at the bad review this movie got from the Dallas Observer and Washington Post. What were they expecting? It was an action movie staring Mathew McConaughey. For what was expected of it, it was an entertaining movie.
  26. nickw.
    Jul 7, 2005
    8
    This movie deserves an 8. it isnt meant to be moving or inspiring it is meant to be an exciting movie with plenty of action and a touch of humor.
  27. Spankaccount
    Aug 31, 2005
    0
    Hollyweird schlock at it's worst, but held together with decent visuals. Not worth a rent. That said, my 13 year old loved it.
  28. CJ
    Feb 26, 2006
    0
    The worst trash I have ever seen. I would have paid to get out of the cinema while watching it.
  29. DavidH
    May 4, 2009
    3
    This movie is based on a Clive Cussler novel, who is not exactly Herman Melville, but his adventure novels are great fun and very easy reading for a quick escape. Sadly, if you're a big Cussler fan, you won't like what Hollywood has done to this "Dirk Pitt" adventure. Their most obvious and atrocious error was casting McConoughey in the lead role. Not so much that his talent is This movie is based on a Clive Cussler novel, who is not exactly Herman Melville, but his adventure novels are great fun and very easy reading for a quick escape. Sadly, if you're a big Cussler fan, you won't like what Hollywood has done to this "Dirk Pitt" adventure. Their most obvious and atrocious error was casting McConoughey in the lead role. Not so much that his talent is in question, but that casting him as Pitt is like casting Steve Buschemi in the life story of John Wayne. i.e.: they could not have picked a more opposite person from the character developed in Cussler's books. Likewise for casting of Dirk's sidekick character. If you loved the books, you won't be able to get past the horrible casting choices. If not, it comes across as a fairly high energy but lightweight adventure movie. Expand
  30. ChrisK.
    Oct 11, 2005
    8
    Action, humor, great locations and wonderful visuals. Just a good movie for a weekend inside. Anyone who says that it is bad, is an independent film snob who didn't like Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  31. LuisV.
    Oct 16, 2005
    0
    This movie is not bad The Movie and Penelope as an actrees are what follows, both are absolutly terrible dont waste your money on this garbage.
  32. MatthieuR.
    Apr 11, 2005
    10
    Lots of fun, beautiful cinematography, and a wonderful soundtrack. This film captures the fun and adventure of Indiana Jones, and does it without taking itself too seriously. I am not a big Penelope Cruz or McConaughey fan, but they were good in these roles.
  33. SteveB
    Apr 18, 2005
    8
    Fun movie. Hey, they can't all be Gladiator. Sometimes a good fun adventure is all we need, and this fulfills that.
  34. victoriat.
    Apr 29, 2005
    7
    Fun popcorn film. Not too predictable and lots of fun parts. Steve Zahn was great, as was William Macy. McConaughey was good enough. Cruz was really light, but then, she was just eye candy. Good fun evening.
  35. LouieS.
    Apr 6, 2005
    8
    I went into this movie with fairly low expectations (Penelope Cruz is a dream to look at but her "English" leaves much to be desired). However I came out having been fully entertained for 2 hours. Is it the next Indiana Jones franchise? No way but it was made well, performed well and was interesting. Will I like it as much the second time? Who can tell but I know the first time I had a I went into this movie with fairly low expectations (Penelope Cruz is a dream to look at but her "English" leaves much to be desired). However I came out having been fully entertained for 2 hours. Is it the next Indiana Jones franchise? No way but it was made well, performed well and was interesting. Will I like it as much the second time? Who can tell but I know the first time I had a ball. Another note...for people running around in the desert all the actors have STUNNINGLY white teeth...I wonder if Crest Whitestrips financed a bit of the movie. Expand
  36. WakoJ,
    May 11, 2005
    3
    BOOOOORING! Derivative, silly, amateurish, and not worth your time. For people with very low IQ's.
  37. Asrugan
    May 1, 2005
    8
    Terrific "boxed" adventure movie, like something right out of the fourties. Pulp action at it's modern best.
  38. Bob
    May 21, 2005
    9
    Lots of fun. Just sit back and enjoy with a tub of popcorn. Just don't take it seriously and you will have a good time.
  39. JeffL
    Jun 29, 2005
    3
    Ridiculously cliche. Not funny enough to warrant it's unoriginality. Not even Steve Zahn was able to save this horrible movie.
  40. oenm.
    Aug 21, 2005
    0
    There is just no excuse for this movie. Even the fact that this is just a dumb actionflick does not relieve the pain and teeth-grinding experienced while watching this piece of junk (even when keeping the target-audience in mind, namely early teen boys who watched too many episodes of the Power Rangers and Pokemon). This Cussler fellow will think twice before selling his story again. (I There is just no excuse for this movie. Even the fact that this is just a dumb actionflick does not relieve the pain and teeth-grinding experienced while watching this piece of junk (even when keeping the target-audience in mind, namely early teen boys who watched too many episodes of the Power Rangers and Pokemon). This Cussler fellow will think twice before selling his story again. (I believe he did try to sue the production, though I don't know what came out of that) The plot / story (or whatever this Eisner thinks that means) is just so twisted it is no fun anymore (And I did enjoy Return of the Dead series). America's Hollywood at it's worst (or best, depending on how one views the reputation of Hollywood...). Expand
  41. FredBob
    Oct 18, 2006
    7
    It's pretty good, but has a couple of dragging spots.
  42. SteveP.
    Feb 10, 2006
    8
    every once in a wile, we need to get away from all the political rederick, deep meaning, and hidden mediphors of the film industry. some times movie viewers just want a ride, a action packed, joke filled, little adventure. Films like indana jones, leathle wepons, and Sahara. it's not award winner, but it is fun to watch. i'm gald that not EVERYONE in hollywood a critic pleasing, every once in a wile, we need to get away from all the political rederick, deep meaning, and hidden mediphors of the film industry. some times movie viewers just want a ride, a action packed, joke filled, little adventure. Films like indana jones, leathle wepons, and Sahara. it's not award winner, but it is fun to watch. i'm gald that not EVERYONE in hollywood a critic pleasing, award winning MOVIE SNOBBS. and still have the capibility to make a good holsome adventure film for the family. see it! Expand
  43. TorvC.
    Apr 15, 2005
    3
    Sahara started off promising enough with a well staged and interesting Civil War naval battle scene, unfortunately it degenerated immediately into a credit sequence, a seemingly endless pan of "meaningful" photograghs utilizing awful 80's pop music, that was meant to convey something about the McConaughey character. As Judy T. below remarked, the music is truly awful, both Sahara started off promising enough with a well staged and interesting Civil War naval battle scene, unfortunately it degenerated immediately into a credit sequence, a seemingly endless pan of "meaningful" photograghs utilizing awful 80's pop music, that was meant to convey something about the McConaughey character. As Judy T. below remarked, the music is truly awful, both innapropriate and intrusive -- it literally made me cringe. The script is ludicrious leaving the viewer slack-jawed at the gaping plot holes. The film is saved from complete obilivion by William Macy and Steve Zahn who provide the only credible and interesting performances in an otherwise dreary film. Directed by Breck Eisner (Michael Eisner's son -- I wonder how he got this job!) "Sahara" is a study in bad film making and poor directing. Made at a cost of $140 million dollars, this money could have been better spent on 140 independent film makers with something truly interesting to say and would have been far more profitable than this absurd film will ever be. Expand
  44. BigDogMahoney
    Apr 15, 2005
    10
    EXCELLENT.
  45. JasonH
    Apr 15, 2005
    9
    Fun....that's the best way to describe this flick. It doesn't make you think too hard and is great for a Friday night date.
  46. DavidA.
    Apr 17, 2005
    8
    Not an incredible movie but it is fun and entertaining, it has some funny moments, this kind of a good movie to take somebody on a date with. It is actionpacked which adds to the entertaiment.
  47. VinceH.
    Apr 21, 2005
    7
    Okay let me say this...I am a bigger snob about so-called "time-wasters" and "thrill rides" than anyone. I HATE when people call movies that absoltely are horrid and call them fun romps (After the Sunset, Van Helsing, etc.). Sahara is almost exactly the same experience as reading a decent action-paperback on a long cross-country trip. You finish it and were sufficiently entertained. This Okay let me say this...I am a bigger snob about so-called "time-wasters" and "thrill rides" than anyone. I HATE when people call movies that absoltely are horrid and call them fun romps (After the Sunset, Van Helsing, etc.). Sahara is almost exactly the same experience as reading a decent action-paperback on a long cross-country trip. You finish it and were sufficiently entertained. This is the best compliment I can give "Sahara". Breck Eisner keeps the movie going at a lively pace and the humor flows enough to keep the action scenes from becoming completely turgid (altough they do in the final overheated and overdone climax). Matthew McConaughey is a true movie star, even if he is just playing a slight variation on the cliched "romantic adventurer". The movie is easily 15-20 min too long at best and as I said earlier, the final action scene starts out campy fun but deters into a huge silly bore that had me checking my watch more than once. On the flipside Eisner stages some fun scenes (a chase on speedboats, a shootout by a well, a very exciting fight on top of a extemely high building) and the very well cast-cast keep the Cussler-bad dialogue at least bearable. Overall there are worse ways to spend 2-hours at the multiplex, just don't expect Indiana Jones 4. Expand
  48. Roy
    Apr 24, 2005
    7
    Entertaining ride. Didn't really think much of the Cruz character, but enjoyed Zahn and Macy.
  49. ChadS.
    Jun 14, 2005
    6
    "Sahara" is a B-movie and knows it. Why else would it quote David Twohy's "The Arrival"? In a over-the-top action film like this, the only thing that can save it, is if the actors are having fun. When Penelope Cruz smiles after boarding a train from her camel, we get a sense that they are. "Sahara", thankfully, bypasses the cliche that Dirk develops a conscience about the bigger "Sahara" is a B-movie and knows it. Why else would it quote David Twohy's "The Arrival"? In a over-the-top action film like this, the only thing that can save it, is if the actors are having fun. When Penelope Cruz smiles after boarding a train from her camel, we get a sense that they are. "Sahara", thankfully, bypasses the cliche that Dirk develops a conscience about the bigger picture after being in it only for the treasure at the outset. He's not even looking for the coins. Like Brad Pitt, Dirk Pitt is hypnotized by a beautiful woman and learns the valuable life lesson that happiness is a healthy African(replace the end of world hunger with clean drinking water). In an effort to condense time, the enviromental crusaders somehow know just where to place those explosions. When Zahn's eyes grow wide, I thought, "Oh, no. Don't tell me." It's a moment that's funnier than anything in "The Longest Yard". And what about that dictator making like Howard Hughes in the final action set-piece? "Sahara" is fun. You have to know your dreck. Expand
  50. BenR.
    Jun 29, 2005
    7
    The movie is not anythign particularly new, but the storyline and the acting are nothing to particularly spit on. The small touch of comedy also gives this a little bit of a push that makes it a decent movie.
  51. JustinH.
    Jun 29, 2005
    9
    I thought the movie was good.
  52. JustinC.
    Jul 19, 2005
    8
    The movie is good but just a little long.
  53. JesseS.
    Jun 24, 2008
    10
    This movie was awesome! and I don't a crap about what you other scumsuckers say about this movie!
  54. [Anonymous]
    Nov 12, 2005
    7
    A fun adventure that's worth a ride, but it OD's on improbability every now and then.
Metascore
41

Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 33
  2. Negative: 6 out of 33
  1. Action films can't be this consistently absurd, can't paint their heroes into such dangerous corners, from which only cocktails of luck and divine intervention can save them, over and over. It's a bad-faith bargain with the audience and bad storytelling.
  2. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    60
    About as good as a big, stupid American action movie can be without ever being anything better than a big, stupid American action movie.
  3. Any movie starring Penelope Cruz or William H. Macy can't be all bad. And Sahara, which stars both Penelope Cruz and William H. Macy, proves the point: It isn't all bad.