King Solomon's Mines (1985) starring Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone, Herbert Lom, John Rhys-Davies, Ken Gampu directed by J. Lee Thompson Movie Review

King Solomon's Mines (1985)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone in King Solomon's Mines

Chamberlain tries Romancing the Stone

Interesting fact the 1985 adaptation of H. Rider Haggard's novel "King Solomon's Mines" came 100 years after his story was published and for many it is the story which helped define the adventure/ lost world movie. But sadly whilst Haggard's story may have inspired the popular genre this adaptation is not very good and to be honest borders on the cheesy. Of course anyone who knows their movies will now that in the 4 years prior to "King Solomon's Mines" there were 2 "Indiana Jones" movies and as such what we end up watching ends up feeling like it is a poor imitation which is little more than a series of action scenes with very little storyline to tie it all together.

When her father goes missing in Africa, Jesse Huston (Sharon Stone - Basic Instinct 2) hires adventurer Allan Quatermain (Richard Chamberlain - The Towering Inferno) to help track him down. But when they do eventually find her father, who has been kidnapped by German's, Quatermain discovers there is an ulterior motive as to why Jesse hired him as her father was in search of a legendary mine and wants him to help her find it. But they are not alone as the German's are looking for it as well and with dangerous African tribes it becomes a dangerous adventure for Quatermain and Jesse.

John Rhys-Davies and Herbert Lom in King Solomon's Mines

As already mentioned "King Solomon's Mines" feels like a movie made not to celebrate the centenary of Haggard's novel but to make a profit on the popularity of the "Indiana Jones" movies. As such Haggard's original story has gone through some major changes and a couple of the most noticeable are that it has been shifted forwards in time so there is a threat from the German's and instead of a man in search for his brother we have a daughter in search of her father. And so you can clearly see how this version of "King Solomon's Mines" ends up feeling very much like an imitation of "Indiana Jones".

Now to be honest I don't mind those changes, if you want to watch a movie closer to Haggard's original story there had already been a couple made. But what is disappointing is that the storyline ends up unimportant as "King Solomon's Mines" ends up all about the big set piece action scenes. So whilst we get the first half being about Allan Quatermain and Jesse Huston finding her father and the second about them finding the legendary mines there is no more depth to it than that. And to be honest it plays out in a very typical fashion especially when Quatermain and Huston end up falling for each other.

As such it means that "King Solomon's Mines" is all about the action and there is a lot of it as some moment of semi excitement occurs every few minutes. And I do say semi excitement for a reason as whilst some of the stunt work is good and watching stunt men do daring jumps and so on is exciting. But then you get the terrible blue screen which is meant to make it look like it's Richard Chamberlain risking his neck and it just doesn't work, not now or to be honest back in the 80s. But it is also that all the action lacks imagination, be it a battle on a train or the traps in the actual mines there is nothing which has the wow factor. In fact some of the big action scenes end up incredibly cheesy especially when Quatermain and Huston end up in a cannibal's giant cooking pot.

Now I've mentioned how "King Solomon's Mines" feels like an imitation of the "Indiana Jones" movies and one thing which doesn't help is that it features John Rhys-Davies. Now I like John Rhys-Davies as an actor but with him already having been in "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" to have him in "King Solomon's Mines" just forces more comparisons. And sadly despite being two different movies you can't but help compare Richard Chamberlain to Harrison Ford and Chamberlain comes out as poor. As Quatermain Chamberlain may be bearded and dirty but he's not rugged and dangerous, in fact he is simply too nice. And as for Sharon Stone as Jesse Huston, well I don't know whether she was playing it for laughs or whether it was just poor acting.

What this all boils down to is that "King Solomon's Mines" is sadly an inferior adventure movies which coming just after the first two "Indiana Jones" movies ends up feeling like a poor imitation rather than an exciting adaptation of H. Rider Haggard's genre defining story.