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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Allan Quatermaine And The Lost City Of Gold (1986)

*********************************************************************************************************** EXTRA SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: TODAY FUCKSHIT!- THE HOME VIDEO REVIEW HAS TURNED ONE YEAR OLD, REJOICE!

I used to watch this movie all the time as a kid. We all have movies like that in our lives and many of them remain just that- in our childhood. Sometimes they manage to rear their heads out of distant memory by pure chance, and this is exactly what happened in this case. My friend Paul found me this at a Goodwill and my jaw dropped as soon as he handed it over. I had long kept a memory of a movie sequence involving a scary dude dipping a live victim into a huge pool of molten gold that scared the crap out of me as a small boy. Turns out it was from this movie, thanks a lot buried childhood memory.

Something I would very much like to point out about this trailer: There are several things in the footage above that are not in the finished film. The most noteworthy of which is the cable car sequence, which features Quatermaine using a whip much like Indiana Jones would do. Note that this sequence appears to have been cut so late in the game that it also managed to find its way onto the VHS box art pictured above. Curious, don't you think? Too bad really, because the couple of snippets lead me to believe it might have been a pretty cool bit. On a side note, Quatermaine is carrying a whip upon his shoulder on the box art besides the cable car thing. He never EVER carries or uses a whip anywhere in the movie.

Plot synopsis: Super adventurer Allan Quatermaine (Richard Chamberlain) is planning on settling down and marrying his bride to be Jesse (Sharon Stone) until an old colleague of his stumbles out of the jungle. Mumbling in delirium about a city made of gold, Quatermaine realizes that his missing brother might be there and goes on the attack to find him. Putting together a rag tag search party Quatermaine and his friends face unknown dangers in a death defying quest for the mythical city, finding much more than he expected once he arrives.

Gotta admit, I did okay describing that there didn't I? Let's get one thing straight right off the bat, this movie is capitalizing on the wild success of the first two Indiana Jones films and is not (necessarily) a rip-off of them. While huge liberties were taken with the source material, Allan Quatermaine (for those of you not in the know) is just one of several inspirations for Indy. This is a straight up adventure movie, but is definitely not without its flaws. Filmed at the same time as its successor from 1985 King Solomon's Mines in order to save money (leave it to the Cannon Group to make two movies for the price of one with minimal effort), they even went so far as to reuse most of Jerry Goldsmith's score from said movie in this one, which means music that really doesn't always fit what is happening and the exact same action cue used every 30 fucking seconds. There's also a bit of music that sounds suspiciously like the drumming from the title theme to Conan The Barbarian from 1982 only sped up a couple of times.

I'm not sure where to even begin on the acting. It seems pretty obvious to me that Richard Chamberlain and James Earl Jones only did this movie for some easy cash, at least I really hope so. Chamberlain's Quatermaine is very odd to say the least. He's constantly laying down half assed jokes and rather than use a whip like Indy he just shoots everything with his forever loaded revolver. Each member of the cast  is either on the borderline of or is a full blown racist caricature. Especially the weasel like Swarma (played by Robert Donner, who you will recognize as Boss Shorty in the 1968 classic Cool Hand Luke). Watch it and you will see what I mean. Sharon Stone couldn't act her way out of a wet paper bag, so I wasn't expecting much there to begin with. Henry Silva is as always, and I am now as certain as before that he's never actually acting, just being totally insane himself. Cassandra Peterson (sans her trademark Elvira makeup) makes a brief and completely forgettable appearance as someone or other. I'm not going on about the cast anymore, I could write a book before I finished.

This movie has the pacing of explosive diarrhea. Think about it, it runs all over the damn place. It's almost as if the film makers decided to model the movie off of a 1930's movie serial so very closely that they somehow forgot to release it as a serial. What do I mean by this you ask? Well, look at an old serial from the 30's/40's and you will see that each and every installment has an action sequence of some sort or other to crete a cliffhanger to keep viewers hooked. Apparently the film makers so clung to the dream of that idea that they must have decided that viewers could be lulled in by the technique through a full length feature.

Luckily for Cannon, it actually worked for me in a quite literal "so bad it really IS good!" kind of way. Sure there's an awful lot wrong with this movie (I won't even go into the often very hokey effects sequences), but even I will throw caution to the wind from time to time, put my arms up and say fuck it and just enjoy something this bottom of the barrel. I don't know just how this movie keeps me so entertained exactly, but maybe it's better off that way.

I suggest watching it over good conversation that has little to do with the movie and some delicious food and drink.

Maybe burritos or pupusas.

Definitely pupusas.

An extra little tidbit I found on youtube is this combination of the movie trailer (as linked above also, though seemingly slightly shorter but I didn't bother timing it) as well as the video rental store promotional campaign featuring some sorta neat stuff. I wouldn't half mind the 3-D poster they mention to tell you the truth (so if any of y'all have one hit me up). Also around 2:08 there's a great example of Henry Silva being completely insane himself.

See it below:

Now go get yourself booze and pupusas please.

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