• Bringing the slow devolution of Jaws knock-offs into sub-sub-Anaconda territory


• Introducing an African genocide subplot in order to become the Blood Diamond of 25-foot killer-crocodile movies

• Extending the dormant career of once-ubiquitous 7-Up pitchman and annoying comedic sidekick Orlando Jones

Defenders: Director Michael Katleman, visual effects supervisor Paul Linden

Tone of commentary: Genial, self-deprecating. Katleman and Linden joke at the start that they had the most fun doing the storyboards together, because "it went downhill quickly after the boards." Mostly, they share horror stories from the arduous shoot in South Africa, including such nature confrontations as a spitting cobra in the bathroom, rhinos terrorizing the catering tent, and "black clouds" of ticks on the savannah. All of which leads Katleman to observe that the best part of filmmaking is having to adjust when "nothing goes according to plan."


What went wrong: An actress in the opening sequence wasn't happy to learn that the "special mud" being thrown on her repeatedly was "boiled chicken excrement." Important contracts and paperwork were lost when Linden's Capetown office was ransacked by a "shaman in training" who felt the room had "bad mookie." Other mishaps included an animatronic crocodile that didn't work, the camera not being in focus during Jürgen Prochnow's big Robert Shaw-like speech, and a water tank so fetid that it made half the actors sick.

Comment on the cast: Katleman says, "You never know what's going to come out of [Orlando Jones'] mouth," and means it as a compliment. Leading man Dominic Purcell dislocated his shoulder doing his own stunts during the second week of shooting. The fun continued for Purcell in a fight scene: "This isn't acting. He's really being kicked there."


Inevitable dash of pretension: The commentary lacks pretension, though the reasons for exploiting African genocide for a Z-grade horror film deserve a more high-minded explanation than "warlords gave the film more action." Commentary in a nutshell: "We were all happy that Harry's head managed to explode properly."