Welcome to the Jungle


Rob Meltzer


Jeff Kauffmann

This movie was one big surprise as I did not expect JCVD to appear in a role so different from his earlier films. Although the character Storm does show glimpses of the steely eyed, intense JCVD of his younger days; you can’t stop smiling when you realise that it is more of a self caricature than the real character.
The film starts of in a typical corporate creative agency with the cliched over worked, under paid, extremely talented junior executive has his ideas stolen by the suave, scheming, manipulative boss and his crony, submissive “yes man”. So far, all of us can related to this scenario as we have probably experienced it (from either side) in our daily work. As expected, the junior executive Chris (Adam Brody) has his complaints to the top management falling on deaf ears. The boss Phil (Rob Huebel) and his assistant Troy (Aaron Takahashi) are lauded and appreciated. Now its time to throw in the cute crush and get some female element involved… and Ta Daaaaaa here comes Lisa (Megan Boone) who finds Chris and his only buddy Jared (Eric Edelstien), who in turn is in an on-off relationship with Brenda (Kristen Schaal), the only sane/fun ones in the office. I have no clue how I managed to tolerate so many cliches in under 30 minutes.
Enter Storm (JCVD)… The hard core army man/marine/navy seal who now runs a corporate training company that specializes in team building and leadership. He rounds up the staff and starts out on a weekend training camp to a secluded island. Here is where the plot (if there is any) kicks in. They find themselves on an island participating in your usual team building activities with Phil excelling in most. Oh, did I forget to mention that Chris is a Silver Badger winning boy scout? Well he is!!
Now for the predicted twist. The pilot (who was almost 150 years old) is found dead. They spot a tiger on the island (Seriosly guys… A tiger on a secluded island near North America???) The tiger attacks Storm and puts him out of commission. The boy scout shows his skills and takes over as the leader of the stranded group.
Time for a counter twist. Phil does not take too lightly the fact that he is being upstaged by Chris and decides to take over the group using some sort of hallucination inducing berry mixed with water. Chris, Jared, Lisa and Brenda decide to split from the group to find their own way out of the island while the others under the drug proclaim Phil as their “God” and indulge in caveman/survivor mentality and indulge in orgies all the time. Phew!!!!
Now for another twist. Storm is back!! (I was wondering how JCVD could die in a movie unless being beaten up by Sylvester Stallone in the Expendables). He reveals that he is not actually an army guy but it was his biggest dream to be one. After this we are put through standard survival and escape plot sequence and they all manage to escape after subduding the other group. The ending is also predictable with Chris quiting his job inspite of being promoted and Phil remaining alone on the island. And that concludes the movie.
Overall Welcome to the Jungle was highly predictable but no less entertaining. It had its share of laughs and surprises and manages to keep you from walking away. Could have done without a few cliches and pot errors though. In the end, it was enjoyable.
Rating – 3/5
Highlight – JCVD in a comic role that spoofs his earlier roles.

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