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93 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Action Films of All Time, 27 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Collection [DVD] (DVD)
'Raiders of the Lost Ark'

For all the criticisms George Lucas has received in recent times, we must remember that he did manage to come up with this gem of an idea for a perfect action movie, and in doing so he created one of the most iconic action hero's that cinema has ever seen. A role perfectly played by its star, Harrison Ford.

The script, written by Lawrence Kasdan, is expertly directed by Steven Spielberg, who by this stage of his career was firing on all cylinders. He takes Kasdan's script and perfectly balances the dialogue with the action creating a finely tuned fast paced action film.
The opening scene and the `Truck Scene' showcase Spielberg's uncanny ability to create stunning set-pieces within his movies. This is something that really sets him apart from other directors, and makes 'Raiders' not just one of the best action films of the 80s but one of the defining action films of all time. 5/5

'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom'

Second time round for Indy and in my opinion the third best movie.
At the request of George Lucas, scriptwriters Willard Huyck & Gloria Katz turned in a far darker and more foreboding script than the previous movie. George felt that the second film should be a lot darker, following in a similar vein to the second Star Wars film, `The Empire Strikes Back'.

With a lot of script ideas left over from `Raiders' the film certainly wasn't short on creativity or action set pieces. But, it seems Spielberg wasn't entirely comfortable with the "dark" direction George had decided to take the franchise. Spielberg wisely injects a lot more humour into the script, which is handled very well by Harrison Ford and Ke Huy Quan, creating some highly amusing scenes. Kate Capshaw's performance as Willie Scott is routinely criticised, and admittedly there is a lot of screaming to contend with, but in my opinion I feel it's a well balanced performance that doesn't detract from the other actors, or from the actual film.

My main criticism is that a great deal of the movie is spent within the Temple itself and I felt the film could have benefited had they made more out our hero's escape. I'm every bit as grateful as our intrepid action hero to see daylight after so many hours spent in the doom and gloom.

Although this is one of the weaker films in the cannon, it still remains a thoroughly enjoyable, extremely fast-paced, exciting action epic, knocking spots of any imitators. Thus proving that, even Spielberg on a bad day is better than most directors on a good day. 4/5

'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade'

A perfectly balanced sequel, with some fine comedic chemistry from Ford and Connery.

This remains my favourite Indy sequel/prequel. Spielberg gets a firm grip on the reins and delivers, arguably, the finest of the Indiana Jones movies.
The real genius lies in the addition of Sean Connery, who plays Indy's Father. It works well and provides some great on screen chemistry between him and Ford, thus creating some laugh out loud comedic moments. Ford routinely pulls faces and shrugs shoulders as his Dad continually undermines him. I have always felt that Ford's comic ability is greatly underappreciated, and it should also be noted that Ford is one of cinema's finest physical actors, reacting to kicks and punches like no other actor, and in doing so, adds tension and excitement to the films most exciting set-piece, the `Tank Scene'. 5/5

'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'

Nineteen years in the making, and numerous screenwriters that all had Ford, Spielberg and Lucas banging heads over the films overall direction. The question is, was it worth the wait...?

Well, I found the opening sequence thoroughly exciting, and after Raiders, I consider it the best opening sequence of the franchise. There have been criticisms of the flying fridge scene, and although it is 'over the top', it is by no means anymore unrealistic than Indy leaping out of a plane on a life raft, or a mine cart jumping thirty foot over the breaks in the tracks. I think the problem with this scene is that it shows Indy as an indestructable super-hero, and that is not what Indiana Jones is about.

Harrison Ford, although obviously older, delivers a decent performance as the ageing Indiana, and Shia LaBeouf tries to make the best out of an underwritten written character. But where the film really fails is with the other supporting characters; Ray Winstone's Mac, is badly written and underdeveloped. The film misses out on what could have been a great performance. Karen Allen reprises her role as Marion Ravenwood, she lights up the screen upon her arrival, but sadly doesn't have much else to do for the rest of the movie. The wonderful John Hurt is utterly wasted, and the likeable Cate Blanchett delivers one of the worst and most ineffective villians to ever step in front of the camera.

My biggest criticism is that the `Jungle Chase' lacks any tension whatsoever, and the blame has to lie with Hollywood's current fascination with CGI. It doesn't look real, and makes it impossible for your brain to immerse itself into the action. You have no belief that the characters are in any peril. However, negatives aside, parts of this film are very enjoyable.

This films faliure pretty much lies within the script, and Spielberg's lacklustre direction. David Koepp's script lacks intrigue and character motivation, only an amateur script writer would have a double agent reveal himself in the first five minutes of the film, and having read Frank Darabont's `City of Gods' script, there is no doubt it would have made the better movie, and it is a terrible shame it wasn't the script they decided to go with. 2/5
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Sep 2008 18:51:06 BDT
Anonymous says:
Fantastic, informative review.

Very helpful, I gave you a helpful comment!

Posted on 24 Oct 2008 19:53:28 BDT
Caitlin says:
Great comment, these films totally deserve all the praise you've given them. Indy rocks!

Posted on 21 Nov 2008 06:56:04 GMT
S. Moment says:
Excellent review. I don't begrudge you those 5 stars in theory, but does anyone know whether this set contains the uncut version of "Temple of Doom"? If not, Paramount have certainly missed an opportunity with this 12 certificate boxset and I won't be wasting my money.

Posted on 17 Dec 2009 18:01:57 GMT
Is german language available (spoken, not subtitle)?
Thanks in advance!

Posted on 22 May 2014 10:49:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Oct 2014 22:55:25 BDT
Timelord-007 says:
Brilliant review my friend worthy of the high voting.

Temple is uncut only on Blu-ray.
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