Romancing the Stone (1984) / Adventure-Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG for violence, some sensuality and language
Running Time: 106 min.
Cast: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Zack Norman, Alfonso Arau
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay: Diane Thomas
Review published September 14, 1998
Joan Wilder (Turner, The Man with Two Brains), a best-selling writer of romance novels, has little romance in her own life. She dreams of a tall, dark and handsome man to rescue her and whisk her off her feet. When Joan's sister is kidnapped, Joan must travel to Colombia to give some baddies the map and free her sister.
Unfortunately, the corrupt local police are after the same map and when she takes the wrong bus upon arrival, she soon finds herself on the run for her life. She comes across a local soldier of fortune named Jack Colton (Douglas, The Star Chamber), who agrees to escort her to the nearest phone booth (for a price), but soon discovers the journey will be harder than they bargained for. Jack has the idea that they should follow the map to get to the treasure it points to, because it is the treasure and not the map that is the true bargaining chip. Could this be the adventure she has searched for all her life?
It's a hard movie to dislike, despite a good deal of clichés and hokey moments. The trio of Turner, Douglas and DeVito (Goin' South) makes the film watchable, and amazingly director Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit) is able to hold together the light tone of the film despite the murders and violence that surrounds the heroes.
It's too bad that screenwriter Diane Thomas suffered an untimely death because she had a winner here, this being her first and only screenplay produced into a motion picture. Obviously in comparison to the other obvious jungle adventure, Raiders of the Lost Ark, this film suffers, but it definitely is a worthy investment of your time and what it lacks in freshness it more than makes up for in charm.
©1998 Vince Leo