Romancing The Stone (1984)
If you look at the posters for this one, it might give you the impression that you’re in Indiana Jones territory, and in some ways the film does feel that way, but in reality it’s as much romantic comedy as it is action adventure.
A map to a fabled treasure is accidentally delivered to a romance author named Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner). To get their hands back on it some pretty inept crooks (including Danny DeVito) kidnap her sister and insist that she bring the map to them in Columbia, because just exchanging it in the US would have left them without a film to make. Having been tricked into taking the wrong bus by a very corrupt member of the Columbian police, she ends up begging and paying Jack Colton (Michael Douglas) to take her to the nearest phone.
And from there it’s pretty much a rollercoaster ride with with the pair meeting a lunatic drugs baron who loves her books, half the Columbian police/army, the inept crooks again, and on the way falling for eachother. It’s a pretty good film, it’s exciting where it needs to be and the laughs (many at the expense of Joan who is truly a fish out of water) aren’t too overdone.
This is the film that made Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner famous, it’s definitely a product of the 80s which really was a golden period for this kind of film, you don’t see too many blockbuster adventures anymore. I miss them.
Jewel Of The Nile (1985)
Now this one is definitely more in Indy territory! Having set off on a cruise around the world with each other, Jack’s desire to see something new every day is starting to wear a little with Joan’s need for peace and quiet for her writing, so when she’s offered the opportunity to travel to the middle east and write about it’s new ruler coming peacefully to power, she takes the opportunity.
Naturally, it’s all a lie, and everyone including Jack, Ralph, the bad guy and a group of freedom fighters, are all trying to get hold of the jewel.
This film was never rated as well as the first one, but if you take it at face value – a very solid bit of adventure fun, there’s not a lot to complain about. The character development isn’t as good because there’s less ‘downtime’, some of the fight choreography is pretty poor (or just poorly acted out). That’s really it, on the upside it’s exciting and funny, it was adjusted very slightly to be more family friendly, the pacing for a full-on adventure is just right, and the comedy relief character isn’t overplayed.
And it’s got one of the best ending tunes of all time, I can recommend watching both films over a weekend.