H. Rider Haggard’s legendary creation Allan Quatermain (played with irresistible goofy charm by Richard Chamberlain), a seeker of fortune and glory, is paired with an obnoxious, albeit resourceful woman named Jesse (Sharon Stone???), in a jungle trek to find her missing father who vanished attempting to find the legendary mines of King Solomon. Well, as fate (and central casting) would have it, there are others in pursuit of the mines as well, namely Herbert Lom and John Rhys-Davies as a knockwurst munching German Colonel and a Turkish slaver (who just so happen to have kidnapped Jesse’s father, and seem to be in a state of mortal combat to see who can chew the most scenery) respectively. The chase is soon on (and what a chase it is), as the rival groups attempt to find the mines first leading to car chases, battles on a moving train, bi-plane dog fights (complete with some of the worst green screen work I have ever seen), cannibals attempting to cook our heroes in a mammoth cauldron (yeah…I know) which gets knocked over and barrels down a hill with speeds you can’t even fathom (there’s lions and kissing involved too…look, just go with it), encounters with a tribe that live suspended upside down from trees (I just…and…but…) and roughly 4,567 explosions. There’s crocodiles in here too (which mark the triumphant return of that shit green screen work)…damn, I forgot to mention the giant spider…
Fun, vibrant, patently ridiculous, and never boring, King Solomon’s Mines is the type of film that just doesn’t get made anymore, and in particular not made by companies specializing in lower budgeted fare. You see, good ol’ Cannon Films (the company that made this picture) could actually compete with the majors in movie houses back in the 1980’s (instead of just being dumped onto home video), so they upped their game and offered epic productions that looked like they cost way more than they actually did; and this film definitely is a sterling example of that as the story bounds from one spectacular action sequence to another.
If there is a negative to be had with the film, there’s some racist references bandied about here and there, from the age where that kind of shit could fly, that will definitely make you cringe a bit when they are uttered, but for the most part the characterizations presented are nothing short of full on cartoon characters (the Germans especially are way over the top), and absolutely no one involved in this picture appears to be taking themselves (or the roles they play) seriously.
As for the nuts and bolts of the Blu-ray, the transfer Olive Films used for this release is breathtaking and chock full of vibrant, eye popping color and clarity. The only downside is, there are absolutely zero special features included with this release.
Filled to bursting with exotic locales, car chases, action set-pieces, colorful costumes, slapstick assfoolery, and a heaping helping of pure, Grade-A cheese; King Solomon’s Mines is a must have for lovers of high adventure and all around cinematic good times!