In Sahara, Matthew McConaughey is the literary hero Dirk Pitt, searching for a U.S. Civil War ship loaded with gold and entombed in Africa. Penelope Cruz is a beautiful doctor fighting a deadly plague. Steve Zahn is an actor apparently determined not to have Paul Giamatti’s career. (Zahn’s as likable as ever playing Dirk’s buddy; we just want to see him stretch beyond the spotty action-adventure.)
EXTRAS Two director commentaries is self-aggrandizing, but we’d have forgiven Breck Eisner (son of Michael) if he’d discussed the McConaughey-Cruz romance in either. His solo audio track is full of boring film-school footnotes, but the one with McConaughey — clearly recorded before Sahara’s release, since they’re talkin’ sequel — is fun and informative: You have to know the code word to get a camel to run fast (so thieves don’t get far). The deleted scenes and making-ofs can’t compete.