Not content with proving he's no Mark Hamill (in last year's sickeningly splattery sci-fi flick "Starship Troopers"), Casper Van Dien has given ample evidence with "Tarzan and the Lost City" that he's no Johnny Weissmuller or even a Christopher Lambert.

Of course, it would be extremely unfair to lay all the blame for this laughable dud on Van Dien, especially when his co-stars are nearly as bad and when the scripting and direction are so terribly inept.In fact, if not for the horrid 1981 Bo Derek soft-core exploitation film "Tarzan the Ape Man," it could easily stake its claim as being the worst movie to have been inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs' legendary Lord of the Jungle character.

The storyline cobbles together bits from other Tarzan movies with plotting devices swiped directly from the Indiana Jones movies,

In it, Lord Greystoke has retired to England and is getting ready to wed his longtime love Jane Porter (Jane March, from "The Color of Night") when he's "summoned" back to Africa by troubling images of burning villages.

He quickly discovers that his homeland is being besieged by European soldiers of fortune led by Nigel Ravens (Steven Waddington), an adventurer who's bent on discovering and looting the treasures of the mythical city of Opar.

Unfortunately, for veteran television director Carl Schenkel and a pair of untalented screenwriters, Tarzan's "titanic" struggle for control of the jungle isn't even slightly thrilling, it's just silly.

The cheesy dialogue doesn't help, nor do the unbelievably phony ape costumes. And the acting is truly awful, led by Van Dien and March's mannequin-like performances.

Also, it's hard to avoid noticing Van Dien's visible appendectomy scar (evidently, Tarzan's chimp friend Cheetah has some surgical skills we hadn't heard about).

"Tarzan and the Lost City" is rated PG for violent gunplay and fist fighting, partial male nudity and some mild profanities, as well as use of one vulgar phrase.