The Further Adventures of Tennessee Buck (1988)
The Further Adventures of Tennessee Buck (1988)

Genre: Adventure Running Time: 1 hr. 28 min.

Release Date: April 29th, 1988 MPAA Rating: R

Director: David Keith Actors: David Keith, Kathy Shower, Brant Van Hoffmann, Sydney Lassick, Stephen Davis, Sillaiyoor Selvarajan, Sumith Mudannayaka, Lilani Perera, Tiziana Stella, Patrizia Zanetti

 


 

T

he title graphics unapologetically rip off the look of Indiana Jones’ theatrical entries, which is not surprising, considering that the title character here is an obvious take on the original action-oriented professor of archaeology. Later, Tennessee Buck takes on a superior fighter in a fistfight; he dons a worn, brown fedora; a lengthy suspended bridge made of wood and rope is spied in the background; monkey parts are used in a feast; and Buck isn’t too fond of snakes. Plus, he’s a crocodile hunter, which means the filmmakers aren’t afraid to steal from “Crocodile Dundee” as well, particularly with the attempts at humor based around his machismo.

Malaysian village magistrate and exotic travel organizer Wolfgang Meyer (Sydney Lassick) has arranged a rare hunting trip for newlyweds Ken Manchester (Brant Van Hoffmann) and statuesque, blonde bride Barbara (Kathy Shower) – who would rather be hunting at Bloomingdale’s. To aid in the safari honeymoon, Meyer has acquired the best, most experienced, most cunning guide in the whole jungle. But when that guide runs off, a new one presents himself in the form of Buck Malone (David Keith) – a frequently drunk, womanizing, undependable adventurer who stumbles his way up and down the rivers of Borneo, selling reptile skins. In his first act of heroism, Buck shoots dead a mistreated elephant that nearly tramples Barbara, but he’s then jailed for killing the animal within the boundaries of the hamlet.

Once his lien is paid, Buck, along with his trusty pal Sinaga (Sillaiyoor Selvarajan), take the Manchesters into the jungle by plane – straight into cannibal country. This excites Ken, who isn’t afraid of headhunters or blood hunts, as he hopes to acquire some worthy stories to tell his lodge pals. Sure enough, however, the party wanders too deep into the swampy forestland and into the territory of bloodthirsty tribesmen, where their mettle is severely tested.

The first – and most prominent – character in the film is Kathy Shower, who is introduced legs-first as she applies nail polish to her toes. Without wasting much time, she’s then shown bathing and prancing around in revealing garments. This type of exploitation is not surprising, considering that she was Playboy’s Playmate of the Year in 1986. But the film’s sexual content doesn’t stop there; a native woman performs a very long, seductive dance while topless, allowing many minutes to focus on her pendulous breasts as they bounce in front of Tennessee’s face; Che (Tiziana Stella), a local woman, tries to grope Barbara before having a threesome with another girl; Barbara is stripped naked and oiled up extensively in slow-motion by a group of cannibal women; and sex scenes are thrown in sporadically for good measure. The masculine pride and unchecked sexism are both out of control and offensive in their absurd exaggerations and narrative pointlessness (though this is obviously the point for immature audiences).

Although the film is primarily a comedy (the music is silly and playful, and slapstick gags arise on several occasions – including a sequence in which Buck must suck the poison from an arrow wound near Barbara’s crotch), it takes an extraordinarily dark turn toward the climax. This includes not only some unexpectedly morbid deaths but also a graphic rape scene that absolutely does not belong in this picture. It’s so shockingly unfitting that it becomes the only memorable moment in an otherwise terribly boring adventure endeavor. And this is despite some virtually unforgettable, hopelessly pathetic dialogue, pitiful acting, and obnoxious storytelling ideas.

– Mike Massie

  • 2/10