Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1986)
Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1986)

Genre: Action and Adventure Running Time: 1 hr. 39 min.

Release Date: January 30th, 1987 MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Gary Nelson Actors: Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone, James Earl Jones, Henry Silva, Robert Donner, Aileen Marson, Cassandra Peterson

 


 

J

esse Huston (Sharon Stone) arrives at her home in the African jungle to her fiancé Allan Quatermain (Richard Chamberlain), surprising him with a new suit. She deems it necessary attire for their trip to America, where they plan to be married. But just as he tries it on, the bloodied, frantic Dumont (Rory Kilalea) stumbles onto their property, warning of his nearby pursuers – white-hooded, black tribesmen brandishing curved blades. And they come back in the middle of the night to finish off the feverish Dumont.

The dead adventurer was the only link to Quatermain’s missing brother, Robeson (Martin Rabbett), who went in search of yet another improbable African myth months ago – a city of gold maintained by a lost, enslaved white race. Allan heads into town the following morning to see Indian charlatan Swarma (Robert Donner, sporting a heavily exaggerated accent), the same man who directed Robeson into unexplored East Africa based on little more than a legend. After meeting Umslopogaas (James Earl Jones), a lone, sizable, ax-toting barbarian, Quatermain assembles a small team of pathfinders – including the initially reluctant but faithful Jesse – to cross miles of hazardous terrain, in the hopes of finding his sibling.

Once again donning a fedora to match Indiana Jones, Chamberlain’s Quatermain is the generic, wise-cracking, bearded, low-grade substitute for a real swashbuckler. Also returning are the booby-traps, angry cannibalistic natives dressed in elaborate headgear and war paint, dated special effects, an underground cavern, goofy creepy-crawlers (including incredibly fake bats), and entirely too much comic relief. The pacing at the start duplicates the previous film, with nonstop action and unending skirmishes, though the eventual investigation of volcanic Phoenician tunnels allows for a few calmer moments as the plot shifts to mild unrest in the lost city, rife with trials for supremacy between warring factions. As it draws to the climax, it’s actually rather tedious.

The acting appears to have gotten worse, with Sharon Stone’s irritating portrayal becoming even more bothersome than before (mimicking the constantly screaming, squeamish Willie from “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”). A new addition to the two-film series is the use of dead bodies: the first is that of fellow explorer Hudson, which uses some impressive makeup effects to disturb the already traumatized Jesse, followed by a bloated Askari, whose face explodes as a reptilian worm bursts forth. A few notable character actors also make an appearance, including Henry Silva as the gold-obsessed, high priest Agon (with hilariously puffy hair); Cassandra Peterson (of Elvira fame) as Queen Sorais, who has no speaking lines but brandishes a shapely figure; and, of course, James Earl Jones as the deep-voiced African warrior, uninspiringly dressed in leopard skins, feathers, and beads. But this bland sequel, despite taking a few elements from the “Allan Quatermain” novel by H. Rider Haggard (certainly more than did the prior feature from his source material), still can’t find its own voice. It was, however, timed to make the most of Indiana Jones’ popularity, being released between “Temple of Doom” and “The Last Crusade.”

– Mike Massie

  • 2/10