Any cult fan worth their salt has seen at least one film by director Jim Wynorski. Chopping Mall, The Return of Swamp Thing, Munchie, Dinosaur Island, Ghoulies IV, Deathstalker II, the list goes on and on and on. The Guy has 96 directing credits in total, and The Lost Empire is his first.
A kick ass attractive blonde super cop’s schlubby partner is murdered by some hypnotist/ninja guys via spinning ninja stars. They belong to a secretive sect that lives on an island. The only way for her to investigate the murder is to answer an ad in the paper put up by the sect. They’re looking for kick ass attractive women to join up. Our hero is a shoe in but there’s one catch. Entries have to come in three, so she has to find two partners to infiltrate the island, kick some ass and save the day. She gets a Native American and a convict to fill out the trifecta and along with her mustacheoed FBI agent boyfriend (also an ass kicker), they get on the island and give ‘em hell.
Funded by a guy looking for a tax loss (it wasn’t), this is the first time a young Jim showed the world what he had to offer. Part fantasy, part Enter the Dragon knock off, part buddy cop flick, and part T & A schlock fest, The Lost Empire gave me everything I was looking for. Ridiculous fight scenes, awful one liners, boobs, blood, broad racial stereotypes, a lazer that looks like a cock n balls, a John Carpenter-esque soundtrack, and a heaping helping of cheese. Angus Scrimm of Phantasm fame plays a small but fun role that gave him the opportunity to deliver some grade B lines and chew the scenery like he was starving. Robert Tessier of Hard Times and Starcrash also gets to deliver some quote worthy lines. It’s always nice to see his bald head pop up in flicks since his time on earth was so short. At 83 minutes the film moves at lightning speed from setup to setup rarely pausing for air. The film is about as deep as a puddle and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I had so much fun watching this that I’m sure it will be shown at my house for friends many many times.
The Lost Empire has charm and cheese buy the bucketful. I’m very glad this is finally available on dvd after being stuck in rights-holder hell for many years. It’s presented in widescreen and isn’t a vhs rip though the overall picture quality isn’t stellar but you can bet it hasn’t looked this good since 1985. It’s a high recommend for 80′s adventure fans and anyone who enjoys great B-movies. Did I mention it’s cheesy? Cuz it’s cheesy. Nacho convention level cheese. Joe Bob Briggs would tell you to check it out.