The action trilogy of the 80's came to a close with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Oh, I know there's a new sequel coming this summer. But I think I will always associate these movies with that decade. Anyway, after the darker tone taken with the second in the series, this is a return to the lighthearted fun of the original entry in the series.
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Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is just back from retrieving the Cross of Coronado (a quest he's been on for years) when he gets the news. His father (Sean Connery) has picked up the trail of the Holy Grail, a quest he's been on for years. Unfortunately, Dr. Jones Senior has vanished. So Indiana sets out for Venice to find his father.
Once there, he realizes he and his father are in a race for time with the Nazis to find this holy relic. The Nazis want to use it to create an army of invincible soldiers since the cup is rumored to create eternal life from those who drink of it. The problem? The Nazis have key pieces of research the two need to locate and retrieve it. Can they find it first? Will they make it out of this adventure alive?
The movie actually opens with a flashback to Indy as a kid. Here, he is played by the late River Phoenix. The sequence is fun because it shows us how several of Indy's signature things came to be. However, it doesn't really advance the main plot and goes on a bit too long.
In fact, that's my only real complaint with the whole film. There are some fun action sequences here. Taken individually, they are great. Taken together, however, they become repetitive. I honestly feel like we are chasing the same objective for much of the middle part of the film and not getting anywhere.
Now I feel like a grump because the movie really is fun. It's a mindless action flick, and it does that very well. There are quite a few edge of your seat scenes that hold up even almost 20 years later.
Speaking of holding up 20 years later, there are the special effects. No, it isn't an effects driven film, but there are plenty of them. They aren't up to today's standards, but they get the job done without drawing too much attention to themselves.
After the darkness of the last film, I was glad to see this one get back to the fun of the original. There are actually a couple in jokes for fans of the series. And Indy and his father trade some wonderful banter. While this movie still isn't for the truly squeamish, I thought it was the least gruesome of the three despite the fact that it the only one rated PG-13. (And yes, I know that is because PG-13 wasn't an option for the first two.)
Finally, there's the acting. It's great. Harrison Ford and Sean Connery have great chemistry together. If you can ignore the accents, it's easy to believe they are father and son. Frankly, I thought everyone in the cast did a good job. Alison Doody plays the female lead this go around with good results. And it was fun to see John Rhys-Davies and Denholm Elliott back from the first film.
Of course, the myth of the Holy Grail is that, just a myth. I didn't take most of the lore surrounding it too seriously. There was one part I loved and I think they got 100% right. I'm not going to say any more because it comes near the end of the film. But if you've seen it, I'm sure you have some idea what I'm talking about.
As mindless action flicks go, this is a good one. So if that's what you are in the mood for, I recommend Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Indiana Jones Reviews:
1. Raiders of the Lost Ark
2. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
3. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (You are here)
4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Indiana Jones Boxed Set
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