2 StarsCannon film’s attempt to cash in on the Indiana Jones craze results in raiding the literary work of H.R. Haggard for ‘inspiration’. In reality nothing in this corny and cheap looking flick is inspired. Owing more to Spielberg than anything on the pages of Haggard’s once famous stories, King Solomon’s Mines is a winking, adventure film with non-stop peril and enough offensive caricatures to enrage just about everyone equally. Directed by J. Lee Thompson and paced frantically, there is so much going on with no realistic threat that the whole thing becomes monotonous, as we watch the hero and damsel encounter one danger only to escape and find themselves in hot water elsewhere, in one case a literal cauldron of boiling water as part of an intended stew for a tribe of cannibals.
Allan Quartermain (Richard Chamberlain) has been hired by Jessie Huston (Sharon Stone), the daughter of a noted geography professor, to find her kidnapped father. Professor Huston is being held captive in the African jungles by a Turkish henchman, Dogati (John Rhys-Davies) and his partner, German Army General Bockner (Herbert Lom). Quartermain frees the elder Houston but not before he has divulged the location of the legendary King Solomon’s Mines. This sets in motion a series of action sequences that continually proceed one another until the movie becomes a checklist of possible obstacles, crocodiles, cannibals, cannons, fire, water, etc.
While the screenplay tries to ape Spielberg’s highly regarded Indiana Jones series, the brassy score from Jerry Goldsmith is strikingly similar to his work on another jungle adventure from 1985, Rambo: First Blood Part 2. Chamberlain sports the appropriate stubble and tough-guy banter, but he is un athletic in the film’s fight scenes and looks ill at ease handling weapons and Ms. Stone. In one of he fist roles a young Sharon Stone bounces obnoxiously around the screen, a barrage of constant whining intermingled with gasps, screams, and shouting ‘Quartermain” with various vocal inflections. King Solomon’s Mines is a poor-man’s substitute for the comparatively dazzling craftsmanship of the Lucas/Spielberg collaborations.
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Stars: Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone, John Rhys-Davies