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Curse of the Crystal Eye
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by Charles Tatum

"Curse of this critic's eyes"
1 stars

For years after the release of "Raiders of the Lost Ark," every film studio in Hollywood and abroad jumped on the adventurer-in-exotic-locales bandwagon. Even considering Richard Chamberlain in the mortifying "Alan Quatermain" series, "Curse of the Crystal Eye" finds a new subcategory of suck.

Bland Jameson Parker, impatiently awaiting the next "Simon & Simon" reunion TV-movie, plays the equally bland Luke. Luke is thanked for saving a little girl in some gunfight and given a map and an eye-looking piece of crystal that will lead him to the treasure of Ali Baba and the forty thieves. He also meets Vickie (Cynthia Rhodes), an ambassador's granddaughter, and they fall in love in about twenty seconds (the film is an hour and twenty two minutes, we don't have time for "characterization!")

Luke is financed by a gun runner, and heads into the desert (the film takes place in India, but not filmed there) with wacky doofus nerdy professor Dr. Ferrari (Dave Sherwood), some of Luke's old mercenary buddies, and a bunch of native "Indian" laborers. The troupe fights off bandits, and finds the mythical lost cave faster than you can say "open sesame." Getting into the cave is the easy part, the bulk of the film involves Luke and Cynthia and the gang working their way through the massive booby trapped set, er, cavern to get to the treasure.

Parker looks so bored with the material, I thought he might doze off in between badly staged action set pieces. Rhodes just grins and ducks for cover, big hair always in place. Tornatore's direction just plain sucks. Here is a sample of some of the exciting dialogue, ignored by Oscar voters that year (this is not verbatim, I was laughing too hard to get it just right):

Luke and Villain square off with their respective armed forces
Luke: I guess I'm holding all the cards!
More of Villain's men arrive
Villain: No, I have the joker!
More of Luke's men arrive
Luke: Looks like there's two jokers in this deck!
Villain puts gun to Cynthia's moussed head
Villain: I cheat!

Only one major supporting character is killed. The rest of the victims are the Indian laborers, who are unnamed and constantly maimed by the cave. The white guys and gal all react to each laborer's death with a grimace meaning either they ate too much curried chicken before they left, or now they will have to carry the heavy stuff themselves. The film is also mysteriously rated "R" by the MPAA. I wouldn't even give it a PG13, it is so mild. No nudity, not a lot of bad language, and no gore.

I can only assume Parker and Rhodes signed on to this mess so they could end their struggling film careers and return to anonymity. Return this junk to anonymity while you're at it.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=13499&reviewer=325
originally posted: 11/13/05 07:29:01
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USA
  02-Feb-1991 (R)

UK
  02-Apr-1991 (PG)

Australia
  02-Apr-1991




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