Title: Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1986)
Director: Gary Nelson
Cast: Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone, James Earl Jones
Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold is a sequel to King Solomon’s Mines (1985) which in turn was a cheesy, low budget Indiana Jones wannabe, mind you an enjoyable one. Yeah, these movies were cashing in on the popularity of the Indiana Jones movies in the same way that all those cheesy Italian Indiana Jones rip offs did during the 80’s, films like The Mines of Kilimanjaro (1986) or The Ark of the Sun God (1984). Cool thing about these Quatermain movies is that no matter how silly or stupid they maybe, I find them incredibly entertaining. Why? Well, probably because nobody takes themselves too seriously here, it’s all in good fun. The point of these movies is to be stupid and silly. Both of these Allan Quatermain movies were shot back to back and released various years apart. The first film, King Solomon’s Mines, received better reviews then its sequel, which many consider to be a lesser film. But if you ask this Film Connoisseur, I really can’t tell the two apart in terms of mood or quality, to me they are both goofy adventure movies, both of them are super fun in my book.
On this one, Allan Quatermain must travel to Africa in search of a lost civilization, a “lost white tribe” that lives in a hidden city of gold. Apparently, his brother, who’s also an adventurer (adventure runs in the family it seems) went searching for the mythical “lost city of gold”, problem is he never came back. So of course, Quatermain must go in search of his sibling. On his journey he’s accompanied by his trusty sidekick/lover Jesse (Sharon Stone), an African adventurer, professional axe wielder and warrior called ‘Umslopogaas’ (James Earl Jones) and an Indian “wise man” who is more like a wise ass/comedic relief type of character; together they go in search of fortune and glory and Quatermain’s long lost brother. Of course perils await them along the way, including a tribe of blood thirsty cannibals! Will they ever make it to the City of Gold alive and find Quatermain’s brother?
The thing about this movie is that while most of the time it manages to be fast paced, adventurous and entertaining (with some silly dialog to boot!) what makes watching this movie a funny affair is that sometimes its low ‘budgetness’ is so blaringly obvious! For example, there are a couple of moments in which Allan Quatermain has to jump great distances, or hang on for dear life at the border of a cliff or something and right there above him you can see these huge fat cables holding the actor! I wouldn’t mind so much if it happened maybe once, but god, you can see those freaking cables so many times on this movie! They didn’t even bother hiding those suckers with lighting or trick photography or nothing, they just left them there! No time or money to hide them in post-production! It’s just hilarious when you can spot them, so knock yourselves out trying to spot them! Funny thing is that this movie comes to us from director Gary Nelson, the director who also made Disney's The Black Hole (1979), a film that also suffered from visible cables!
Hey mister, Gene Simmons wants his hair back!
Another thing is that some truly nonsensical things will happen from time to time. For example, there’s this moment in which the characters are making their way through a cave, and these snake like monsters pop out from the ground and the walls! I say this is nonsensical because this is not a fantasy film or anything, this is an adventure film, not a monster film, so suddenly seeing these crazy snake monsters (that resemble NOTHING from the real world) popping out of these walls, you tend to question what the hell they are and why the main characters don’t even question their existence? They just chop them up and kill them and move on to the next action sequence. He he…those little creatures felt so out of place on this movie! It’s as if the filmmakers just looked for the silliest excuse to make the film more interesting, so yeah, let’s throw some snake creatures in there! Too funny! Another set piece hasthe ground open up for no reason whatsoever, as if some sort of earthquake suddenly occurs or something, but you can tell it’s just this big ass set, and the floor opens up like some giant ass elevator door! It doesn’t look like an earthquake; it looks like revolving doors opening up to some secret underground lair or something! Not realistic in the least!
Things get more hilarious when Quatermain and crew arrive at the titular “Lost City of Gold”. This is where things get just a little nuttier. The leader of the tribe is this crazy religious nut who looks like Gene Simmons from KISS, you gotta see this guy, he likes to dip people in gold for some reason. The religion he’s created for the people of the lost city require human sacrifices, but the people don’t want them anymore, so suddenly the film turns into a film about boycotting this crazy religious leader. Even crazier, the queen of this city is played by Cassandra Peterson! That’s right my friends, Elvira is their queen! By the way, she looks great in her queen regalia. To top things off, the City of Gold looks like a really cheap ass set, with stair cases meant to look imposing, but ultimately end up looking unimpressive. Want more nonsensical events? How about Quatermain charging up a sword with lightning like He-Man and then using the lightning infused sword to melt a golden statue? So he can bathe the bad guy in Gold? Crazy I tell ya! Bottom line with this movie for me is that it’s so bad it’s good. It’s so bad, it’s hilarious! This is the movie that Sharon Stone doesn’t want you to see, well, this and Catwoman (2004), but who cares what Sharon Stone thinks of this awesome slice of 80’s b-movie madness? I say give it a spin if you want to laugh yourself silly and have a fun night of cheese.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5