King Solomon's Mines

release year: 2004
genre: adventure/drama
viewing setting: home DVD, 10/30/04

synopsis: Hunter and adventurer Alan Quatermain joins a quest to find the legendary mines (and treasure) of King Solomon.

impressions: This was a three-hour made-for-TV movie (though the DVD packaging didn't mention this.) It was entertaining, but lacked the amount of sheer, pulse-pounding adventure that you'd find in, say, an Indiana Jones movie. It was fairly strong in the character department, but this alone can't support a three-hour "adventure" movie. There were several gunfights, a tomb/trap sequence, some fistfights, and a duel to the death with axes. There were a few plot holes, for example: bad guys want map which good guys have, bad guys successfully sneak up on good guys' group, knocking out one and kidnapping another to hold her as ransom for the map. Uh...why not just do the ransom deal right then and there? Why flee with the girl and then later trade her back for the map? Or, better yet, given the advantage of surprise, why not just attack and take the map by force in the first place? There was another major logic bloop at the very end. Overall, it seemed like certain things took place only to further a plot point.

important principles which were demonstrated in this movie: 
1) the "law of diminishing loved ones" principle: The number of friends killed exceeds the number of friends who had to be rescued from peril in the first place. In other words, if you set out to rescue one person, but lose one or more other people in the process, then you have a net loss, so what was the point? Of course, this outcome could have been avoided if not for...
2) the "failure to do unto them" principle: Failure to eliminate enemies now results in heartbreak later. In other words, when bad guys are trying to kill you, it's best to kill them ASAP and get it over with, because if you don't, then they will kill your family/friend(s), which will cause you to kill the bad guys anyway, but if you'd have done it in the first place, you'd still have your family/friend(s) alive and well.

things to watch for: For me, when they finally find the mine, two and a half hours into the movie.

something this movie has that no other movie has: a jungle witch who can make people stop breathing (and thus die) simply by commanding them to do so

acting: A rather old Patrick Swayze plays Allan Quatermain; it works, for the most part. He's got the tough-guy lines down, but sometimes seems confused. Alison Doody (the evil Nazi archaeologist from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade plays his love interest. The guy who played Quatermain's rival guide/hunter did a good job (though I still don't see why he hated Quatermain so much.)

final word: Worth seeing, once.

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