DESPITE its ludicrous plotting, clunky dialogue and overblown thrills, the 1997 schlock horror Anaconda became something of a cult classic.

Where else can you see a bedraggled Jennifer Lopez squealing as she tries to outrun a laughably plastic, animatronic killer snake, or movie icon Jon Voight as a salty captain who is regurgitated by the scaly beast?

This belated sequel foregoes the camp, tongue-in-cheek histrionics of the first film in favour of po-faced seriousness.

That's not to say that Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid isn't sporadically funny, as the film does boast a fair few belly laughs. But all of them are unintentional.

A group of gung-ho scientists, fronted by research leader Dr Jack Byron (Matthew Marsden) and his plucky assistant, Samantha Rogers (KaDee Strickland), approach a pharmaceutical corporation with startling news.

They have discovered a rare red flower, known as the blood orchid, which may hold the key to producing a youth-preserving serum.

The flower only blooms once every seven years and takes root in a remote corner of the primitive Borneo jungle.

The greedy company agrees to finance an expedition to harvest the orchid, sending along accountant Gail Stern (Richardson-Whitfield) to ensure the mission doesn't go over budget.

Byron brings along good friend Gordon Mitchell (Morris Chestnut), technical adviser Cole Burris (Eugene Byrd) and medic Ben Douglas (Gonzalez).

Bill Johnson (Johnny Messner), captain of the Bloody Mary, agrees to ferry the party up river during the treacherous rainy season for a cool $50,000.

As the explorers chug towards their leafy destination, they quickly discover that within the dense jungle lies a deadly predator that keeps the secret of the orchids safe and stops anyone who dares to enter its territory from leaving.

Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid has the good sense to bring along plenty of good-looking characters for the ride, to ensure the giant snakes have an abundance of human prey.

Passengers and crew are quickly despatched one by one - even Johnson's pet monkey comes face to face with a ravenous serpent.

The computer-generated special effects are less than impressive and director Dwight H Little is rather too fond of aerial shots of the characters wading through water, oblivious to the snakes swimming around them.

Messner thrusts forward his chiselled features as the hero of the piece, kindling a tepid flirtation with Strickland's love interest.

The rest of the cast are as wooden as the Bloody Mary.

RATING: 4/10