Lost City Raiders (2008)

James Brolin, Ian Somerhalder
Color, Dolby, DVD, NTSC
Number of discs:
First Look Pictures
DVD Release Date:
January 26, 2010
Run Time:
90 minutes


It 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 Indiana Jones, 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 first place!

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.



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