Saturday, July 4, 2015

Movie #315: Jewel of the Nile

Jewel of the Nile is the sequel to Romancing the Stone (we'll get R eventually), and stars Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, Spiro Focas, and Avner Eisenberg. It's so 80s it hurts.

Jack (Douglas) and Joan (Turner) have retired to a life of sailing around the world, following their pulpy adventures in the first movie, but Joan is dissatisfied and Jack is stubborn. Joan, stuck on her latest crappy novel, gets an invite from Omar Khalifa (no reference at all to Momar Gadaffi) to write his biography. Turns out he's about to take over...Africa, I guess? He does that by kidnapping a holy man named "the Jewel of the Nile" (Eisenberg), who I guess is supposed to be Sufi. In the mix is Ralph (DeVito), Jack's frenemy out for revenge and profit.

The big misunderstanding throughout the movie is that the "Jewel" is a literal jewel, rather than a man, and that actually becomes a plot point when Joan refuses to tell Jack the truth because she thinks he'll hit the road if there's no profit, which isn't terribly charitable of her. The group goes through various misadventures until the Jewel returns to his people, Omar gets knocked off a building into some fire, the Flying Karamazov brothers, inexplicably playing Arabs, juggle some knives, and everyone lives happily ever after.

This movie is a really good example of "ah, fuck it, let's make a sequel, we've got all this coke." The plot is pretty thin, the notion of the "Jewel" being a holy man is kind of interesting but it never really goes anywhere. Jewel doesn't have anything deep or interesting to say, he just does a couple of magic tricks ("miracles") and all the men in Kadir worship him (the women are apparently there, judging by the screams, but are never shown). There are some fairly significant plot holes, and Omar's obviously never read the 101 rules of being an evil mastermind, but hell, at least Whodini is on the soundtrack.

Joan doesn't quite get damseled; she gets captured and otherwise inconvenienced a lot, but no more or less than Jack, so it's got that going for it.

My grade: D
Rewatch value: Low

Next up: John Carter