Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom ★★★½

Though it is my least favorite of the original Indiana Jones trilogy, the TEMPLE OF DOOM may be the most interesting film of the franchise.

The movie's purposeful veer into the gruesome and macabre was an interesting choice for Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, fresh off the crowd-pleasing fun of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

TEMPLE features instead hearts ripped out of chests, creepy-crawlies, machete fights, and other surprisingly bloody happenings. This movie is a big reason why the MPAA developed the PG-13 rating and it shows.

It is understandable why TEMPLE is the black sheep of the trilogy. Kate Capshaw plays Willie Scott as intended, but the character is remarkably frustrating, unlike every other female lead in the franchise. Things are, on the whole, far more bleak than RAIDERS. And the film is fairly stationary — the characters reach the Pankot Palace early on and stay there for the duration.

But TEMPLE is still a solid action film, with thrills and laughs coming at a pretty steady clip. And though it does occasionally dip into the comically absurd (inflatable raft falling from an airplane), it is packed with enough memorable setpieces to keep things interesting. The opening scene is worth the price of admission alone.

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