Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom

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Director: Steven Spielberg.
Screenplay: Willard Huyck.
Starring: Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Ke Huy Quan, Amrish Puri, Roshan Seth, Philip Stone, Raj Singh, Roy Chiao, David Yip, Ric Young, Dan Aykroyd.

Are you trying to develop a sense of humor or am I going deaf?

Following the massive success of Raiders of the Lost Ark, it was inevitable that a sequel would follow. No sane-minded or financially aware production company would ever dream of missing the opportunity to boost a few more zero’s on their bank accounts. As expected, the sequel made it to the screen three years later. Now, some have given this second adventure a bit of hard time but I happen to think it’s a very underrated and action packed addition to the adventures of the whip-cracking, fedora-wearing Dr. Jones that we have come to know and love.

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This time, Indy is in search of the Sankara Stones – artefacts that an ancient village believe has protected them for generations and with the recent disappearance of their children, only the stones will bring them back and protect their people. As is customary, Indy agrees to the exploration, but he does so with wanted (and unwanted) people in tow.

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Although a follow-up, Indy’s second adventure actually precedes Raiders by one year (essentially making it the beginning of the franchise) and this time we find ourselves in 1935. The Nazi’s haven’t occupied Europe yet but Indy is still going about his endeavours with just as much bravery and commitment as we’d expect. His (and our) adventure begins in China before moving onto India as Spielberg and Lucas leave behind the Nazi adversaries and opt for a more world exploration in the travels of our favourite archeologist. Some might argue that the Nazi’s were part of the draw for Raiders – and I’d agree with them. Who doesn’t like the Nazi’s being challenged? However, what can’t be argued, is that Spielberg still hadn’t lost his touch in concocting an exciting matinee yarn.

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Even though the Nazi’s are omitted (and missed) as villains, the second instalment adds to the overall sense of world wide adventures that Indy has experienced. That being said, many viewers were not happy with this film and delivered some harsh criticism. True, it’s a little more bubble-gum entertainment than the solidity of it’s predecessor but when the character and his escapades are this much fun, it’s still very difficult not to be drawn in.

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Let’s face it, Raiders was an achievement that was never going to be surpassed but I admire Spielberg and Lucas’ determination in trying. For example, the escape from a nosediving airplane by rubber dingy is genius action material, as is the roller coaster chase through the mines and the (hugely iconic) rope bridge showdown make up some of the best action set-pieces in any of the films. In fact, the opening rolling gong at the Shanghai nightclub and mine shaft chase were originally planned for parts of Raiders but they couldn’t fit it in. You could also say that the sense of humour was diminished in favour of a darker tone (leaving this to be one of the first films to ever be prescribed a newly appointed PG-13 rating).

Once again, Ford embodies the role with such commitment and believability and despite the dark tone, Spielberg still manages to be playful by incorporating damsel in distress Willie Scott (a gleefully entertaining Kate Capshaw) and child sidekick “Short Round” (a perfectly cast Ke-Huy Quan) and his action skills are, simply, at the peak of his powers.

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Despite it possessing some of the most iconic scenes and confrontations of Indy’s adventures, this had been pilloried for being a lacklustre follow-up. It does have faults, for sure, but this is still one of most underrated of action adventures that Hollywood (or Spielberg) has ever produced.

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Mark Walker

Trivia: The rope bridge used during the final fight scene was actually suspended up a couple of hundred feet across a gorge on location in Sri Lanka. Acrophobic Steven Spielberg would never walk over it, and had to drive a mile and a half to reach the other side. Harrison Ford on the other hand had no such fear, and would run across it at full speed.

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29 Responses to “Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom”

  1. Was at one point my least favorite in this series…then Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released. This ain’t too bad now, though a few of my Indian friends have some valid points against it. Plus, this has the best opening song and dance number of any in a Indiana Jones movie! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed Michael. It’s probably fair to say that this was my least favourite too, until…

      That said, I reckon it’s still a great adventure yarn and has took a lot of criticism on the back of Raiders. There’s some fabulous set-pieces throughout and it never fails to entertain.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review, I’ve heard so many people slate this one but as soon as Crystal Skull was released at least everyone reevaluated it. It’s such an entertaining movie that is much darker than the first. That heart removal sacrifice traumatised me as a kid.

    Like

  3. Good stuff Markster! bIg fan of this one too although it is definitely a notch below Raiders. Temple has so many memorable scenes. The opening nightclub sequence, the insane bridge scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice review Mark. I definitely think Temple of Doom has gotten a critical reevaluation recently, probably due to Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Not as strong as Raiders or Crusade, but I still have a lot of love for Temple of Doom. Plus I’ve always had a lot of fun watching the dinner scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I Love this Installment for obvious reasons; India’s No.1 villain Late Mr. Amrish Puri played the role of Mola Ram. They were not allowed to shoot in India & Sri Lanka provided for the locations. Indie in India was a massive success. I can still watch Temple of Doom multiple no. of times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nice info, man! I too, can (and have) watched this so many times that I’ve lost count. Some of the criticisms directed at it are understandable but I can easily overlook the faults it was. It’s great entertainment.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice one Sir Markus. It’s been so long since i’ve seen this series it might be time to reacquaint myself. I do remember walking out of The Crystal Skull and feeling like I had just watched a really terrible sci-fi channel special, though. And that people really weren’t pleased in general with that installment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, sir! D’you know I remember walking out of The Crystal Skull and being pleasantly surprised. What was I thinking?! It was only once the dust settled that I realised how terrible it was. I’ve always been a fan of Temple of Doom though.

      Like

  7. Hear hear! Glad to read you think this stands up. Chilled monkey brains and all! Ha ha!

    Liked by 1 person

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