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Indiana Quatermain and the Mines of Doom,
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This review is from: King Solomon's Mines (1986) [DVD] (DVD)
H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines is one of those stories where it often feels that only the title and the odd character name have been filmed. If there were a prize for the least faithful version, Cannon's 1985 romp would win hands down. Richard Chamberlain's Great White Hunter Allan Quatermain may be a reluctant guide on a quest for the fabled mines, but this time his only companion is Sharon Stone, eager to save her archaeologist father from Herbert Lom's dastardly and cartoonish Wagner-loving German officer (the plot has been updated to pre-WW1 Africa). No prizes for guessing that this is inspired more by Indiana Jones than H. Rider Haggard (it even co-stars John Rhys-Davies as another Arab, this time on the bad guys' side), with the stunts increasingly outrageous and the tone firmly tongue in cheek.
Shot almost back-to-back with the dire Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold and originally brandishing the how-are-they-ever-going-to-fit-that-on-the-marquees title Allan Quatermain and King Solomon's Mines and the Lost Caves of Death, it's a film almost as overloaded as it's rejected title: for the first half or so it's surprisingly entertaining, but eventually the relentless energy starts to wear you down as you realise that the film's used up most of its best stunts and jokes and is running out of clichés to rehash and lampoon. Certainly there's nothing in the second half to match a comic marketplace chase or a very silly train rescue that sees Quatermain work his way through variations of Indy's truck chase before skiing along the rails as he holds on by his bullwhip... In many ways, DVD is an almost ideal way to see it: a little too much to sit through in one go, a self-created intermission certainly helps.
Chamberlain makes an amiable if overly reliant on dynamite Quatermain, though Stone is an irritatingly screeching heroine and Lom too much of an over the top caricature to provide much threat. J. Lee Thompson keeps it moving, Jerry Goldsmith contributes an enjoyably heroic score and there's enough of a sense of fun to paper over the weak spots.