Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
PG

Something strange happened to Steven Spielberg between "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and its first sequel, three years later. Having captivated the world with feelgood fable "E.T. - the Extra-Terrestrial", he decided to test the loyalty of his adoring public with this dark, nightmarish follow-up to his 1981 smash. Indeed, so gruesome was one scene of ritual sacrifice that it necessitated the creation of a new rating - PG-13 - in the United States.

Perhaps more unsettling, however, is the film's patronising depiction of Indians as either brainwashed religious maniacs or helpless peasants in need of a white messiah. That role is taken by Indiana Jones (Ford), after he bails out of a pilotless plane above the subcontinent and agrees to recover a sacred stone that's been stolen from a village by the evil Thuggee cult.

Thankfully, there's plenty of rip-roaring action to distract us from the more unpalatable elements, including a breakneck underground mine-cart chase and a frenetic fracas in a Shanghai nightclub. Along the way, Kate Capshaw (the future Mrs Spielberg) gets to sing "Anything Goes" in Cantonese, while Vietnamese newcomer Ke Huy Quan makes a shrill debut as obligatory cute kid Short Round.

For all that, you can't help feeling there's something a little nasty, even sadistic, going on this time around. Witness the scene where Ford and friends are invited to chow down on a banquet of sheep's eyeballs and monkey brains, or the sequence where the director covers wife-to-be Capshaw in hideous insects.

Great fun in places, but hardly Indy's finest hour.

End Credits

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz

Stars: Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Amrish Puri, Roshan Seth, Philip Stone, Ke Huy Quan

Genre: Action

Length: 117 minutes

Cinema: 1984

Country: USA

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