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Romancing The Stone (1984)

He’s the best time she’s ever had

Directed by:

Robert Zemeckis

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 101 minutes

UK Certificate: PG

On DVD

Country: United States

The massive box office success of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1981 sparked a mass revival of the rip-roaring adventure movie, most of which were sadly inadequate in their attempts at aping the Indiana Jones formula. But if there was one success amongst that group of flicks it must surely be “Romancing the Stone”, a fantastically enjoyable romp through the jungles of deepest South America.

Kathleen Turner is in scintillating form as Joan Wilder, the hapless writer of cheesy romance novels who gets caught up in a race to uncover a priceless jewel in order to save her kidnapped sister's skin. Just when it's starting to look like she's bitten off more than she can chew, she finds an ally in scruffy gun-toting mercenary Jack Colton (Michael Douglas). Among the all-round baddies tailing our heroes are swarthy moustachioed secret police-type Zolo (Manuel Ojeda) and bungling wise-cracker Ralph (Danny DeVito, playing to type).

The chemistry between Turner and Douglas works a treat and, despite the title, Robert Zemeckis' pacy style of direction ensures things don't get slowed down by romance. In keeping with the blueprint laid down by Indiana Jones, the script by Diane Thomas (who sadly died one year after the movie's release) is laced with some great comedy touches. DeVito's clearly intended as the main comic foil, though it's perhaps Alfonso Arau as a well-read Colombian drug runner who does best with the funnies. Look out for that “Little Muel” of his.

Zemeckis – who was laughing all the way to the bank soon after this with “Back to the Future” – seriously hit the big-time with this nicely-executed escapade, but was sorely missed from the following year's below-par sequel “The Jewel of the Nile”.

It's Got: An on-form cast who seem to be enjoying themselves every step of the way – and it rubs off on the movie itself.

It Needs: Not to be taken too seriously – it’s a fun ride.

DVD Extras Just the trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10

Alternatives:

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade., Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Jewel of the Nile

Summary

The 80s setting means it’s become a tad dated, but this remains a great adventure film that’s well worth revisiting.

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