The Movie Maestro's Reviews: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) dir. Steven Spielberg
Once the most divisive of the Indiana Jones adventures, Temple of Doom has aged very well. I still have so much fun watching this one that I don't think I will ever get tired of it. Much like Raiders, Doom follows more of the pulpish, serialized action adventures of decades past, but with a heavily-increased pace that barrels through at breakneck speed. Each set piece flows out of the previous so naturally and yet so chaotically, delivering an action experience to behold.
Harrison Ford is back in perfect form as Indy, joined in this installment by young Jonathan Ke Quan as Short Round, a full year before The Goonies. Here's he's just as memorable swashbuckling alongside Indy. Amrish Puri, an exceptional Indian actor at the time, turns in one of the best villainous performances in adventure cinema as Mola Ram, the leader of the vicious Thugee cult. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Kate Capshaw is the weak link of the cast, because she certainly isn't; her rich, white-girl antics in the Indian jungle are the source of much of the film's humor, and she is quite good at it, but after the depth of Karen Allen's Marion Ravenwood, it is a bit of a disappointment to step back from progressivism.
But there was a point to that change, and that lies in the film's setting. Being a prequel, Doom is, consequently, the best prequel of them all. It doesn't set out to explain every little detail of the original film exactly, nor does it seek to arrive at that film's very beginning. It's just a story that takes place before, and in this, Doom should set an example for a lot of Hollywood today.
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