Just like Die Hard with Under Siege, Speed and countless other action movies, Indiana Jones inspired its own slew of adventure flicks from Michael Douglas’ Jack Colton movies to today’s Mummy and National Treasure franchises.
1985 saw the release of King Solomon’s Mines, an adaptation of H. Rider Haggard’s classic novel, directed by J. Lee Thompson (The Guns Of Navarone) and released by the now defunct Cannon Group. It stars Richard Chamberlain (Richard Lester’s Musketeers trilogy) as Allan Quatermain, horrible acting from Sharon Stone as the love interest, as well as Herbert Lom (the original Pink Panther films) and Indy’s own Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) as the villains. Review after the jump.
Let me say it straight, you do not want to see this movie. It’s bad, and not in a good way. Special effects that would have felt at home in the mid 50s, terribly unexciting filming and the aforementioned horrible acting by Sharon Stone (how did she manage a high profile career after this?). Loosely adapting Haggard’s book, J. Lee Thompson doesn’t care too much about plot and instead seems intent on lining up insipid action piece after insipid action piece and making sure Chamberlain has plenty of jokes to crack. Yes, jokes, and painfully unfunny ones at that. Some people claim the movie is an Indiana Jones spoof, but I don’t buy that. To me, it seems like Thompson and his writers were trying to emulate Indy’s balance of humor and excitement, but miserably failed. At any rate, even if it was meant as a spoof, it doesn’t work either.
You may be wondering how a movie with a treasure hunt, lava pits, German bad guys, death traps, lions, giant spiders, cackling African voodoo dudes and a weird papier maché giant monster thing can be so lame, but trust me, you don’t want to know. Steven Spielberg could have done wonders with this, alas Thompson, though he does get a few scenes right, apparently isn’t competent enough. King Solomon’s Mines was followed by a supposedly even more awful sequel a year later, Allan Quatermain And The Lost City Of Gold, directed by Gary Nelson (the original Freaky Friday). Yeah, go rewatch any of the Indiana Jones movies instead. If you have to see an adaptation of King Solomon’s Mines, I’d recommend the 2004 Hallmark produced version starring Patrick Swayze . Even Robert Stevenson’s 1937 version, though extremely dated is more entertaining than this. Hell, The Asylum’s undoubtedly crappy 2008 version is probably better (and funnily enough, it was also made to capitalize on Indy).