Classic Scenes #6: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
If only the rail carriage escape and rope bridge standoff of Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was an indication of the quality of the rest of the film. Unfortunately, the 20 minute sequence that culminates in Indy trying to avoid an untimely death above crocodile infested water that could quite possibly be the best bit of spectacle in any of the Indiana Jones movies, is far too good for the movie it’s in. Temple of Doom was the evil child of the Indiana Jones trilogy until the awful fourth movie arrived. It’s unfair to call it a bad film though – it isn’t – it’s just not nearly as good as films number 1 and number 3 because it forgets that Indy’s adventures are supposed to be light hearted, swashbuckling fun with plentiful helpings of irony (okay, we get quite a bit of irony but we could have done without the self-indulgence).
Fear not though as the film still has some trademark set-pieces, and frequently outdoes the other films for one-off action sequences. There’s the unforgettable inflatable boat escape from the plane, the bone-crushing falling ceiling and all those real life creepy crawlies, the chilled monkey brains and snake surprise banquet, and of course the escape along the underground mine railway line.
Just as Indy manages to stop the rail carriage carrying Willie and Short Round after its breaks fail, Indy’s foot setting on fire from the friction, a flapping Dr. Jones calls for water. WATER! Oh, isn’t it ironic, and rather amusing, that on that note a flood of life-threatening proportions hurtles towards our intrepid hero sending him and his band of merry men (the boy and the girl!) on a charge for the nearest exit. But, unfortunately, (and Indy should realise that high jinks follow him round like moths to fire) the exit is a cavernous opening on a mountain side a hundred feet above hungry crocodiles awaiting their lunchtime feed. After some careful manoeuvring they all end up on a crotchety rope bridge that hangs precariously over the yet-to-be-fed crocs.
Let the story begin…
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