Directed by Stephen Hopkins

Starring Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas.

"The Ghost and the Darkness"

Opened: October 11, 1996 | Rated: R

I'm not the first to say it, but there is no better way to describe "The Ghost and the Darkness" than to say it's "Jaws" on the veldt.

As the man-eating lion's tail swishes visibly above the dry African grasses, you can't help but hum the shark attack music that has become a cultural icon.

Val Kilmer isn't bad (although his accent comes and goes) as a British engineer building a railroad through turn-of-the-Century Africa while two lunatic lions turn his laborers into an all-they-can-eat buffet. Michael Douglas isn't bad as the famous hunter hired by the railroad company to kill the voracious but well groomed critters and get the project back on schedule.

"The Ghost and the Darkness" isn't bad as a matinee distraction, but goodness knows it isn't good, either. I can't even recommend it as a good date-jumping-in-your-lap movie, it's more laughable than scary.

About 20 minutes from the end there is one completely terrifying scene, but it only serves to point out how unspectacular the rest of the film has been.

One-hundred-thirty dead guys later, "The Ghost and the Darkness" ends just about as you'd expect -- with only one guy walking away, a couple of dead lions and an audience chorusing "yeah, whatever."

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