might be 28 years and counting since Raiders of the Lost Ark, but
this flick made for the Sci-Fi Channel apparently believes that it's not
too late to cash in on that movie's sterling box-office success . . .
Like many a cheap genre effort Lost City Raiders
was filmed in South Africa, which not only offers currency benefits to
Hollywood film-makers but also serves to lure faded ?name? stars to
participate in particular projects with the prospect of a paid vacation in
Cape Town. One can just imagine agents pitching movies such as Lost
City Raiders to their clients going: ?The movie is shit, I know, yeah,
but you get a free trip to South Africa! I hear Cape Town is very nice
this time of the year . . .?
Lost City Raiders is unintentionally hilarious.
The acting is terrible and the special effects are lousy. But its worst
transgressor is the brainless screenplay which is an unholy mix of
Waterworld and The Da Vinci Code. (You'd never thought you'd
ever see any movie that combined elements from those three disparate
titles, now did you?)
It is the near future and thanks to global warming and
melting ice caps 90% of the planet's land surface is now underwater.
Civilization is however still remarkably intact even
though most of Nike's sweatshops are now probably underwater. People still
dress snazzily; you can still eat dinner ? with champagne! - in a fancy
restaurant; governments not only still exist, but they can bust your ass
for scavenging underwater cities without a permit; you still have great
cell phone reception; the Vatican is still in business. And so on.
A father and his two sons are low-rent tomb raiders who
are hired by the Vatican to search for a mystical staff that Moses
apparently used to part the Red Sea in the Bible. The staff in question
can apparently reverse the effects of global warming and lower the sea
levels again. No, seriously.
A corrupt businessman played by Ben Cross however wants
to stop them. His character smells the opportunity for a real estate scam:
buy all the submerged real estate for peanuts while it's useless and then
sell it again for huge profits when the land in question is dry again.
Like we said, it's pretty amazing that governments and property deeds
managed to survive in spite of the whole planet being underwater in the
Idiocy abounds in Lost City Raiders. Ships sail
in what must only be a few meters of water for instance. Global flooding
is reversed when the water falls down huge holes into the Earth's crust.
But the funniest thing in the entire movie is Ben Cross? over-the-top
hammy turn as chief-villain Nicholas Filiminov. He overacts so much that
one practically expects him to spew into the camera lens! (Actually it
might also be the saddest thing in the whole movie depending on your point
of view - you'd never believe that Ben Cross actually made his acting
debut in Chariots of Fire all those years ago!)
The rest of the cast are uniformly rotten and all of
them are out-acted by actress Elodie Frenck's ample cleavage - surely the
best thing in the entire movie. May they find more future employment . . .
WORTH IT? It's kinda ironic that the TV station
that once broadcast Mystery Science Theater 3000
now shows the very sort of bad movie that that sadly defunct cult series
used to lampoon . . .
RECOMMENDATION: Lost City Raiders is as
laughably bad as you would expect any movie bearing the dreaded "original
movie made for the Sci-Fi Channel" (now SyFy) label to be. In fact it so
often veers into "so bad it's actually good" territory that one dare not
hesitate in recommending it to connoisseurs of bad movies. Anyone else
with a less advanced sense of irony should however avoid it.