Monday, September 27, 2010

Dr. Jones, I Presume?: ROBBERS OF THE SACRED MOUNTAIN (1982)

You hear that sound?  That is us scrapping the bottom of the barrel as we wind up our Indiana Jones knock off spectacular.  You know things are getting rough when we tackle Canadian Indiana Jones rip-offs!  Ha, I kid our loveable friends to the North as they make exploitation movies as good as the rest of us.  And while they jumped on the Jones bandwagon rather quickly, this is, sadly, not one of their good exploitation flicks.  This made-for-pay TV feature started life as FALCON’S GOLD but then got the decidedly more RAIDERS-ian title of ROBBERS OF THE SACRED MOUNTAIN.  

The film opens in Mexico in 1931 with some monks guarding a sacred treasure.  Some banditos arrive to steal it, but the crafty monks get away and hide the plate-size gold medallions in a volcano.  Brother Juan is the only one who survives the journey and he is saved by some Indians.  Cut to 50 years later as archeologist Christopher Falcon (John Marley) is contacted by a friend to verify an unusual piece.  Seems some random dude has one of these ten precious ornaments and – in the mother of all exposition speeches – Falcon explains how the center of the discs is made from pieces of a meteorite that can shoot freakin’ laser beams.  Naturally, this is a hot commodity amongst local villains as Falcon soon finds out when assassins attack him and the treasure holder at a museum.  The unlucky owner is stabbed to death, while Falcon is sliced in the calf with an axe (but not before Marley gets some licks in; a true sight to behold).  Falcon is saved by British reporter Archibald “Hank” Richards (Simon MacCorkindale), who has been incessantly hounding Falcon for an interview.  Archibald?  Yeah, he might be a Brit.

Obviously indebted to Richards, Falcon asks him to pick up his granddaughter Tracy (Louise Vallance) at the airport in exchange for an interview.  Wait a sec, you saved his life and now he is asking for more favors?  Richards picks up the school girl outfit clad Tracy, but the duo is quickly kidnapped via the old “gassing in the back of the limo” trick.  The orchestrator of this abduction is a Mexican super villain with the Hispanic challenged name of Ivar Murdoch (George Touliatos).  He visits Falcon in the hospital and demands an expedition to find the remaining treasures in exchange for the release of his granddaughter.  Of course, Murdoch doesn’t count on the cheeky Archibald, er, Hank escaping via clever use of a gas line and Tracy’s skirt.  Later, in a completely incongruous bit, we find out why Murdoch wants these gold plates as he displays a high tech laser beam for various heads of countries.  He blows up a satellite, which effectively shuts down all the power in the city.  How exactly a satellite can cause cars to die in traffic is beyond me.

Falcon can’t let a super villain with an odd name find the remaining discs so he organizes an expedition into the jungles of Mexico.  Since Falcon is incapacitated, Richards offers to go and the team hires guide B.G. (Blanca Guerra) and troublesome Tracy sneaks onto the team disguised as a Mexican chef (in a disguise that makes her look like the Frito Bandito).  So we are off onto (as the VHS box claims) “a thrilling jungle adventure for mysterious treasure.”  Naturally, B.G. is double teaming the group and working for Ivar, but Richards turns a blind eye since she is always getting it on with him.  The group makes it to the monastery from the opening, but the monks have no idea where the treasure is.  Cue Tracy finding a mysterious key and a crazy old guy who will tell the story of what happened to Brother Juan.  So Richards, B.G. and Tracy decide to head down river to find the Indians but they are captured by Murdoch’s men.  But suddenly they are saved by some of the Indians we keep hearing about.  What stand up dudes!  The Indians then force Richards to square off in a loin cloth against one of Murdoch’s men in a fight over a pit of flames.  Not so cool dudes.

Naturally the guy named Archibald prevails when it comes to a tough man contest.  Ha, just kidding, he is saved when Falcon arrives via helicopter.  Damn, dude, I thought you said you couldn’t travel?  In the village our team finds a spot where Tracy’s acquired key fits and, wouldn’t you know it, it forms a map to the location of the volcano where the remaining treasure is hidden.  Our group heads to the mountain and proves to be the luckiest treasure hunters ever as the volcano is erupting and said the resulting shaking reveals the location of the hidden gold plates.  They get away, but soon find Murdoch waiting for them.  Gee, I wonder if the good guys will win this one.
The face of viewers while watching this:

Sorry if that review is a bit long on scene description, but there is really not much to say about this routine flick.  Director Bob Schulz was a technical director on '70s sitcoms like GOOD TIMES and THREE’S COMPANY and this is the only feature he ever directed.  It is obvious why as this is pretty flat all around.  There is just nothing in the way of thrills here.  You know you are in trouble when the film’s highlight is a dummy falling from a helicopter during the climax (see pic to the left).  The IMDb lists this as being based on a story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but the film itself does not.  I can’t find any corresponding story in his bibliography, so I suspect it is an error.  The cast is fine but MacCorkindale is an odd choice for the Indiana Jones-esque role.  He is verrry British, so much so that I could see Michael York (who MacCorkindale slightly resembles) meeting him and saying, “That is one smarmy sounding bastard.”  Guerra, who you might recognize from SANTA SANGRE, delivers the film’s nudity, which is unusual for a TV production (gotta love the open minded countries).  Marley is good in his role and it is a hoot seeing him jump into a boxing stance and throw some punches during one of the early fights (see pic below).  His stunt double that looks like Alex Trebek circa 1986 then gets some work in.  If you haunted video store aisles in the 80s, ROBBERS OF THE SACRED MOUNTAIN is one of those titles you probably saw all the time and passed up.  You’ve survived this long without seeing it, so no need to see it now.

Kimbo Slice, watch your back!

1 Reactions:

  1. This was released theatrically outside the US. Along with Blanca Guerra's nudity, I've also never forgotten this bit -

    Hank to Tracy on seeing the fire and needing something to help put it out: "It's either my trousers or your skirt!... (thinks for a second) Your skirt!" (pulls it right off her)


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