Sahara is a 2005 action /adventure movie directed by Breck Eisner and based on the best-selling book of the same name by Clive Cussler. It stars Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz, Steve Zahn, William H Macy & Rainn Wilson. The movie is about 3 points – the search for a long lost ironclad boat, carrying the last of the Confederacy’s treasury away from attack, a disease spread through the water in Mali and a corrupt solar detoxification plant the source of the contamination and is aided by bribes given to the Mali dictator.
World Health Organization doctors Eva Rojas and Frank Hopper are investigating a disease that is spreading across Mali, Africa. Assassins attempt to murder Eva, but she is rescued by Dirk Pitt, from National Underwater and Marine Agency, who was working nearby. Dirk gets a call from a dealer in Nigeria to sell him a gold Confederate States of America coin, one of supposedly only five in existence. Believing this to be a lead to the long lost CSS Texas, Dirk gets his boss and former commanding officer, ret. Navy Admiral James Sandecker, to let him, Al Giordino, and Rudi Gunn, from NUMA, go to Mali to search. They give Eva and Hopper a ride, so that they can continue their investigation, for the WHO.
Former Navy seals & ex-CIA men Dirk & Al take Rudi along with them on Sandecker’s yatch and after dropping off the doctors and trudge along the river on their search. Businessman Yves Massarde and dictator General Kazim, who controls half of civil-war torn Mali, try to stop the doctors from discovering the source of “plague”. Kazim also sends some of his soldiers on motor boats to kill the men from NUMA but Kirk & Al are able to destroy their boats and escape unharmed. They send Rudi back to warn Sandecker about the situation while they themselves go to rescue the WHO doctors. They are able to save Eva from the soldiers but Dr. Hopper and their local crew are all killed by gunfire. The three of them make their way through the desert but are captured by Tuareg, who are fighting the civil war against Kazim. The Tuaregs’ leader, Madibo, shows Eva his people, who are dying from the same disease she was investigating at the beginning. After taking samples, Eva finds that their water is contaminated.
During their stay Al stumbles on a cave painting that depicts the CSS Texas. Dirk believes that the Texas became stranded when the river water dried up after a storm and that the same river that carried the Texas now runs underground, spreading the contamination. On their search they stumble upon the solar plant and realize that it is the source of the contamination but before they can leave they are captured by Massarde’s men. He keeps Eva but sends Dirk and Al to Kazim. They escape but end up stranded in the middle of the desert. The two friends make their way to civilisation and contact Sandecker, who warns them that Kazim and his troops are after them. Dirk and Al enlist Madibo’s aid to return to the plant and rescue Eva. He helps them infiltrate the plant and rescue his people who are working there as slaves. Rather than risk discover, Massarde decides to escape and blow up the plant but Al defuses the bomb. Dirk manages to rescue Eva while Massarde escapes in his helicopter. Dirk, Eva, and Al get away from the plant and discover the wreck of the ironclad while throwing bombs at a chasing Kazim in his helicopter.
They take cover inside but Kazim’s ammunition is too much for the old ironclad’s armor. Using a rusted old cannon they fire off and destroy Kazim’s gunship while Madibo’s men arrive to take care of Kazim’s army. In the end the contamination is dealt with Sandecker is offered a deal to do some covert work, while the government serendipitously funds NUMA, which he accepts, tentatively. Massarde is given some of the contaminated water to drink without his knowledge by one of Sandecker’s friends. The gold discovered in the Texas is given to Madibo’s people and Eva & Dirk start a relationship.
It’s a little too predictable and doesn’t really light up your imagination in the way that some adventure movies do. The movie made $120 mil at the box office but on a $160 mil budget that is considered a flop. My rating is a 6 out of 10!