Reviewed by GREG KING
Directors: Aaron and Adam Nee
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Brad Pitt, Da’Vin Joy Randolph, Oscar Nunez, Patti Harrison.
The DNA of the far superior Romancing The Stone is all over this action comedy from filmmaking siblings Aaron and Adam Nee (Band Of Robbers, etc).
Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) is a reclusive author who writes a series of bestselling romantic fiction adventures featuring her heroic creation Lothario Dah, a ruggedly handsome adventurer in the Indiana Jones mold. The model who plays him on the bodice ripping cover of her books is Alan (Channing Tatum), a vacuous and handsome Fabio-like man who is always asked to rip his shirt off at book signings, much to Loretta’s chagrin. Loretta has become even more reclusive and withdrawn following the death of her archaeologist husband. But she is urged by her pushy publicist Bett (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) to attend the launch of her latest novel.
At the launch though she finds herself kidnapped by eccentric media billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe), who wants to use her specialist knowledge to help decipher a hieroglyphic code that will reveal the location of a fabled relic known as the Crown of Fire. Apparently this was a key plot point in her last novel The Lost City Of D, and Fairfax believes she can help him find its location. Loretta is whisked away to Isla Hundida, a remote volcanic island where Fairfax’s team have already started work on uncovering ancient ruins of a city that supposedly housed the relic.
Meanwhile Alan enlists the help of Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt), a former Navy SEAL who now specializes in hostage rescue, to find the missing Loretta. But the rescue does not go according to plan, leaving Loretta and Alan to escape Fairfax’s clutches.
Based on a story from Seth Gordon, The Lost City has been written by the Nee brothers along with contributions from Oren Uziel and Dana Fox. The brothers maintain a fast pace throughout that rarely lets up during its two hour run time. There are some wonderful sight gags as well, such as the small blue environmentally friendly hybrid car that Trainer drives, which is a contrast to his macho image, and inappropriate for driving in the jungle.
The leads, especially Bullock and Tatum, seem to be fully aware of the silliness of it all and revel in the screwball nature of the material. They enter into the spirit of the material by allowing themselves to take the mickey out of their screen personas. Tatum plays the sweet but gormless muscle bound hero well, while the sight of Bullock prancing around the jungle in a glitzy, garish bright pink one piece jump suit is bizarre. The pair develop a wonderfully prickly chemistry that carries the film along. Since he finished playing the boy wizard Radcliffe has been seeking out more diverse roles; here he plays the urbane villain with relish, although his character is something of a cardboard stereotype and cliched character. And Randolph is great with a bold and brassy presence as Beth, Loretta’s publicist, who comes to the jungle in an effort to find her. Pitt contributes a nice extended cameo as Jack Trainer, and also seems to throw himself into the spirit of the film.
The Lost City has been nicely shot on location in the Dominican Republic by cinematographer Jonathan Sela (Atomic Blonde, etc).
There is nothing particularly original about The Lost City, but enter into the spirit of the film and you’ll enjoy it while it is on screen. It is fairly easy to forget once you’ve left the cinema.
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