Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

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Famed archaeologist/adventurer Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones is called back into action when he becomes entangled in a Soviet plot to uncover the secret behind mysterious artifacts known as the Crystal Skulls. (IMDb)
A classic straightaway action sequence is followed by a great plot set-up that introduces an enjoyable new sidekick (LaBeouf’s greaser) while offering some rambunctious initial fun (see the bar escape; motorcycle chase; Ford’s library one-liner) in a glossed-up 50s Americana setting. The adventure only gets amped up from there, but obvious CGI often brings it down (see the jungle sequence), and the increasingly ridiculous sci-fi plot certainly doesn’t help matters. Still an entertaining watch.
7/10 (Good)
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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

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When Dr. Henry Jones Sr. suddenly goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, eminent archaeologist Indiana Jones must follow in his father’s footsteps and stop the Nazis. (IMDb)
The Grail-quest plot adds a decent dollop of tempered intrigue to the still stellar fast-paced action antics, giving the film a more mature tone than its wacky and wild predecessor, while the opening glimpse into Indy’s childhood and the introduction of his father (their constant bickering and brains vs. brawn dynamic are hilarious–see Connery’s silent look during their motorcycle escape) add some welcome character depth as well as some great humour that goes beyond just one-liners.
8/10 (Great)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

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After arriving in India, Indiana Jones is asked by a desperate village to find a mystical stone. He agrees, and stumbles upon a secret cult plotting a terrible plan in the catacombs of an ancient palace. (IMDb)

With the stereotypical exotic Indian locale being milked for all it’s worth, this sequel simultaneously takes turns towards darker (see the horrifying human-sacrificing cult and their child slaves) and funnier (see the outrageous palace meal) material. Capshaw’s distressed diva and Quan’s charming ESL kid sidekick add further humour to a stacked line-up of action sequences in the same vein as its predecessor, making them even more memorable (the secret chamber with spikes scene is a standout).

8.0/10

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

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Archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the US government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis. (IMDb)

With Ford’s idealistic hero Indiana Jones at the helm here comes loads of life-or-death globetrotting adventure-action that’s able to flow smoothly from gun fights in burning-down bars in Nepal to frantic car chases in the deserts of Egypt (only the supernatural-tinged climax feels a little out of place). There’s nothing else terribly compelling here (only a few funny one-liners) but it’s so jam-packed full of exotic excitement (even when you think it’s over) that it doesn’t really matter.

7.9/10

Sahara (2005)

Master explorer Dirk Pitt goes on the adventure of a lifetime of seeking out a lost Civil War battleship known as the “Ship of Death” in the deserts of West Africa while helping a WHO doctor being hounded by a ruthless dictator. (IMDb)

A rollicking adventure film, Sahara is a poor man’s Indiana Jones–nothing more and nothing less than just a great popcorn flick, with exciting action that’s occasionally a bit ridiculous, fun music, an easy-to-follow plot, and an easy-to-root for buddy duo in McConaughey’s Dirk and Zahn’s Al, the latter of whom provides a good amount of comic relief throughout. Sahara isn’t deep or complicated or thought-provoking, and the acting isn’t mesmerizing, but it’s an enjoyable watch nonetheless.

6.5/10