Written by / 6/05/2012 / No comments / , , , , , , ,

RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN IN KING SOLOMON'S MINES

year: 1985 rating: ***
Since Indiana Jones was based on literary pulp heroes such as Allan Quatermain, would this movie about the original daring hero's quest to find a Biblically-based goldmine a complete rip-off?

It sure is... Yet with J. Lee Thomson directing an energetic Richard Chamberlain and a beautiful pre-fame Sharon Stone, it’s a worthy trip beginning with a foot chase through sandy city streets as Stone’s Jesse Huston is rolled up in a carpet and Quatermain must save her just in time, which is lifted straight from the basket chase in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. But it's such an obvious homage one can’t help but to forgive and forget from the very start: The plot having Jesse’s father hiding the map of King Solomon’s mines. Kidnapped by a goofball Nazi (Herbert Lom) and a boastful Turk (RAIDERS co-star John Rhys-Davies), Allan must save him before the wrong people find all that gold. Most of the film has Allan and Jesse either chasing or being chased by their adversaries. The story hits a wall once everyone arrives at the mines, loaded with an overabundance of dated special effects. It’s the prior chain of events, like Allan leaping across train cars to save his damsel or both almost getting cooked by cannibals, where the real fun occurs.

Director Thomson keeps everything moving and even the overly silly stuff… like a tribe of natives who live by hanging upside-down on vines… doesn’t matter. And although Chamberlain lacks Harrison Ford’s larger-than-life screen presence and Sharon Stone is more Kate Capshaw than Karen Allen, together they're a decent team-up. Not only that, but this exceeds TEMPLE OF DOOM and especially THE CRYSTAL SKULL... so there, nay-sayers!
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