Harrison Ford: the man who can make badly written dialog sound good.
Good thing for Indiana Jones.
Our story opens with Dr. Jones being fired from his university teaching job because he helped a beautiful but evil psychic communist Russian lady spy steal space-alien remains from a warehouse in Area 51. Of course he was forced to do so at gunpoint by a squad of Russian soldiers, but in the anti-communist climate of the 1950's, that still leaves him under suspicion. I mean, any true red-blooded American would rather be shot than let the Russians have our precious space-alien remains from area 51, right?
As it happens, Dr. Jones is glad he doesn't have to teach classes for a while. Just as he's on his way to sulk in Europe he receives a mysterious coded letter from a former colleague who was hunting for a lost temple in South America. To further complicate the matter, the letter is delivered by a teenage boy on a motorbike, leather jacket and hairdo reminiscent of The Fonz, who claims his mother knows Indiana. And guess what, mom is being held captive by the Russians somewhere in the Amazon. Those Russians do get around.
Indiana Jones to the rescue.
The film had some clever moments, but much of it was re-hash of old ideas. Especially amusing was the way everyone looked so amazed as they discovered that the space-aliens had taught farming and civilization to the Incas or Aztecs or whoever they were. I mean, haven't they seen 2001 A Space Odyssey? Oh, I guess not. That came out in 1968.
I disliked the fact that so many people died horrible deaths in the film. It made it less fun for me to see extras lying all over the ground. Another problem I had was the teenage boy, played by Shia LeBeouf. They tried to make him a tough kid, but I'm afraid that no matter how many lousy action films they put him in he'll always be Stanley Yelnats for me. I was sorry they gave him a couple of vulgar exclamations.
My favorite line, delivered as only Harrison Ford could:
"So what does that make you? A triple agent?"
Better than Temple of Doom, not as good as Last Crusade, still a worthy addition to the series. However, when the writers have to resort to space-aliens and psychic Russian lady spies, it is probably time for Indy to hang up his hat.