Reviewed by: Gabriel Mohler
|Featuring:||Richard Chamberlain … Allan Quatermain
Sharon Stone … Jesse Huston
Herbert Lom … Colonel Bockner
John Rhys-Davies … Dogati
Ken Gampu … Umbopo
June Buthelezi … Gagoola
Sam Williams … Scragga
|Director:||J. Lee Thompson—“The Guns of Navarone” (1961), “Battle for the Planet of the Apes” (1973), “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes” (1972)|
|Distributor:||Cannon Releasing Corp.|
Allan Quatermain is the archaeologist version of Sherlock Holmes. Indiana Jones is more legendary as an archaeologist, but Allan Quatermain is a public domain name, so many world adventure storylines have used the character. His first appearance was in Sir H. Rider Haggard’s novel King Solomon’s Mines. This 1985 movie may share the title and premise—searching for treasure mines in unexplored Africa—but many have called it a terrible adaption, because the plot substitutes Haggard’s adventures with Indiana Jones spoofs. (This film even features John Rhys-Davies, by the way.) The action is well-done, however, and the movie’s mix of lighthearted fun and heart-pounding suspense make an entertaining popcorn flick.
The action is almost non-stop, and comes in many diverse scenes. There is lots of fighting and peril, but not brutal. The most violent scene is where a large object crushes a man and kills him, and his mouth is briefly shown bleeding. The other main scene of concern is where a pale corpse is found, but it’s not gruesome. Some tribes use skulls as decoration—not shown closely. A few times, the villains threaten gruesome methods of torture, but the worst thing they do to anyone is whipping. Other than these few things, the violence is merely what you’d expect from a world adventure movie—fistfights, gunfights, lions, disasters, and explosions. There is very little blood. The violence, overall, is on the mild side of its PG-13 rating.
A few scenes show a stone figurine with breasts, but they’re not realistic. They represent mountains, as the figurine is actually a map. It has no genitals. There is occasionally some passionate embracing and kissing. Some tribal men go shirtless. Language consists of six misuses of God’s name and d*mn, four misuses of H*ll, and one “what the devil.” Some may find one “holy mackerel” bothersome.
This is a exhilarating and refreshing movie. It shows that there is evil in the world, but viewers always know who the good guys are, and the good guys always come out on top. Quatermain is not only quick-witted, but also a hero. It’s obvious that he’s not just helping find Jesse’s father for the money, and that he’s not racing to the mines just for the gold. He really cares about Jesse and her father, and, even though he doesn’t believe in the mines at first, he wants to make sure the archaeologists” work doesn’t fall into the hands of the Nazis.
I had to lower the moviemaking quality rating because many of the action scenes blatantly steal from “Indiana Jones.” And I won’t lie, the Indiana Jones movies are much better than this. Still, this movie does have scenes of original brilliance. The effects aren’t the best, but Jerry Goldsmith’s soundtrack is very catchy and majestic. If you want to show your kids an alternative to Indiana Jones that is more family-friendly, this is it. This is a reasonable choice for Christians ages 12 and up who can be wary of some language.
Violence: Moderate to Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.