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King Solomon's Mines (1986) [DVD]
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Allan Quartermain (Richard Chamberlain) is hired by a girl (Sharon Stone) to find her kidnapped father in the African jungle. They have many Indiana Jones-style adventures before they free her father and escape being boiled alive. Two earlier versions of the film were made in 1937 and 1950.
King Solomon's Mines had been filmed several times before, but this 1985 adaptation of H Rider Haggard's novel is far and away the most absurdly tongue-in-cheek. Making no disguise of riding Indiana Jones's coattails, the adventure starts fast and grows ever wilder. Richard Chamberlain wears Allan Quatermain's fedora and expression of grim determination. Supposedly concerned with the novel's quest for lost gold, the movie is really an excuse to string together numerous sight gags and low-budget attempts to upstage Raiders of the Lost Ark (hardly surprisingly, it fails).
Pursued by a wax-moustachioed and Wagner-obsessed Herbert Lom, Quatermain and a dizzily blonde Sharon Stone escape an avalanche and crocodiles before being boiled in a cauldron with plastic vegetables at the Village of the Upside Down People. Nothing lingers in the memory, though, than the sight of Chamberlain skiing behind a locomotive. Cheap and rudely plagiaristic it may be, but Indy never got to be as (un)intentionally hilarious.
On the DVD: King Solomon's Mines has come up exceptionally well on disc in this widescreen print. Sound is in Dolby 2.0 and is a faithful representation of the effort put into the film's sound design. The only extra is the original trailer. --Paul Tonks
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A rip roaring fun adventure and the third of five film adaptations of the 1885 novel of the same name by Henry Rider Haggard. Full of corny gags, over the top stereo typical characters, obvious plots and slapstick situations, an naive heroine and dashing hero, this is fun all the way. Herbert Lom is superb as the a single-minded knackwurst-munching, bald-headed German Colonel Bockner and John Rhys-Davies makes a fine villainous and ruthless Turkish adventurer and slave-trader.
The single disc opens to language screen [English. German, French, Italian, castellano] before going to a main menu offering play, scene selection, language options [as languages minus the Italian, subtitles in most European languages] and the trailer.
This is a PG rating done in the day when violence was acceptable entertainment as there are some gruesome deaths from the start, face slapping and scenes of hilarious torture. Featuring two of the worlds leading sex symbols of the day, what’s not to like. A definite ***** adventure in the best ‘heroic’ tongue in cheek tradition for all the family.
The movie moves at such a cracking pace that you can almost ignore the bizarre and glaringly-bad continuity. Just how does Colonel Bockner extricate himself from quicksand; while having no trace of the fluid on his uniform immediately afterwards? How do Jessie’s shorts become skimpier as the film progresses (not that we mind, of course)? And how does Dogati (John RHYS-DAVIES) escape - after being crushed by rocks (twice) - to engage in a climactic showdown with the hero Quatermain?
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.
Sound quality was good on Dolby Prologic surround
Your better off watching this on Film 4 when it gets broadcast again and pvr it!
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