Thursday, 23 January 2014

Review - The Ark of the Sun God (1984 - Dir. Antonio Margheriti)

The first match in our FA Cup of Actors kicks off with a cheeky back heel from David Warbeck in the form of The Ark of the Sun God. But will it be enough to quash Radha Mitchell's attempts at winning the trophy in its very first year?

It starts off pretty well with wise-cracking thief Rick Spear (Warbeck) walking in the footsteps of the Milk Tray man, lurking in shadows and sneaking into a building. He even gets to use a zip wire in his burgling antics. Action packed stuff with a little twist at the end of this first act. Quite cheap and cheerful but entertaining nonetheless. 

Then things take a turn for the worst. There's about forty or fifty minutes of characters getting abducted, then found again, then abducted, then found etc. It all gets a bit tiresome and the story goes absolutely nowhere. Finally it gets moving again with a quest to find a sceptre that belonged to the god Gilgamesh. Mmm, a quest for a religious artefact... you're probably thinking exactly the same as me: I wonder when Raiders of the Lost Ark came out. It was 1981, and yep, this is an Italian homage/cash-in directed by Antonio Margheriti of Cannibal Apocaplyse fame. 

Compared to Raiders, this comes off really badly. As mentioned previously, it takes an age for Rick to actually pack his bags and get going on his journey. And when he does it's a very short trip: nip in a helicopter, fly a bit, have a little walk and he's there. Seeing as though it's an adventure film there's precious little adventuring.

The villains are pretty low quality ineffectual buffoons too. Their leader is not much better. No subtlety here. Just plenty of ranting and shouting. I don't think Belloq has got anything to worry about.

But it's got David Warbeck in it so it can't be all bad. Funnily enough, he's the best thing about this lacklustre adventure fest. For starters, he tells his lady friend that he's off out to do "man's work". And when he returns from his mission at about 7 o'clock in the morning, he's just in time for a bit of nookie. What a guy. Adding to his manliness is his propensity to wear beautiful clothes along the lines of an eighties style jacket with sky blue trousers. And not content with that, his favourite drink is Bacardi with milk and lots of crushed ice. What kind of sick deviant would like that?!? (Doccortex, the milk pervert, probably would.)

And that's not the end of things that are actually quite good in this film. John Steiner (Tenebraeappears as a posh English wheelchair bound millionaire type who is willing to fund Rick's adventure. It's a treat to see him in action as usual. Plus he's got a camp butler called Rupert who's "rather good at tying people up". Yeah, I bet he is.

Although it's not a total own goal extravaganza, it's not the best of starts for David Warbeck and I can sense that Radha Mitchell isn't exactly quaking in her boots based on this performance. But it all depends on her randomly selected film, there may still be a late minute winner from Warbeck...

If you like this you could also try:
Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Treasure Hunter, Armour of God, Operation Condor.

1 comment:


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