Wednesday, March 04, 2009

MOVIES: #28 Romancing the Stone

If I were one of my parents, this slot would probably be filled with The African Queen, starring Hepburn and Bogart. A romantic action comedy, but with slightly hokey special effects and filmed in black and white. For me, romantic action comedic thriller means something after I was born, and in colour. Romancing the Stone (1984), featuring Kathleen Turner at her sexiest and Micheal Douglas in his breakout movie role.

Turner plays a romance novelist who gets out of her comfort zone and down to Columbia to rescue her sister, who's fallen afoul of the criminal creeps down there. The ransom is a honking big rock, which she has coincidentally acquired a treasure map to find. A fish out of water, Turner runs into treasure-hunting Douglas early on in the adventure. And from there sparks fly. Frequently from bullets ricocheting off everything around them, but romantic sparks too. All this while getting into and out of trouble befitting any of the Indiana Jones movies.

Turner is the complete package, good looks and that sexy, husky voice. I know some will point to Body Heat or Crimes of Passion as sexier roles for Turner. But give me the 'real' women she plays in this one over the other iconic cliches.

Douglas plays sort of crazy smart throughout the movie. It was a big departure from the movies he'd quit The Streets of San Francisco to be in. And it established him as a devil-may-care action star in addition to roles where he had to look good in a suit and make speeches.

Turner and Douglas make out in the end, romantically and financially. The last shot 'sailing' down 5th Avenue in New York is priceless. I shouldn't forget Ralph, played with the usual manic mayhem by Danny DeVito. DeVito's ability to sputter comedic life from a few words makes him an instant superstar supporting player. All three were back a few years later for The Jewel of the Nile, a decent movie, but not up to the original's quality. But decent enough to enjoy.

A tough genre, romantic action flicks with a sense of humour. But this one earns its place amongst the better ones in the small grouping.

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