Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Lost Idol (1988)

IMDB claims The Lost Idol is from 1990, but according to one of the actors it’s made earlier – so that’s why I choose something that differs from what the mighty database says. But anyway, The Lost Idol is a quite well-budgeted Thai action-adventure movie with a fun cast consisting of Erik Estrada, Sorapong Chatree, Krung Srivilai and German big guy Christoph Klüppel. Estrada was forced to take this job when he needed money, and found out he could go around the Screen Actors Guild with taking a job in Thailand. He’s not in top-form here, but still manages to be a capable hero.

The year is 1975, Erik Estrada leads a stranded group of US soldiers to safety in Thailand. On the way they take shelter in an old temple and find a golden statue. They bring it with them, but hide it in a cave to go back later to get it. But one of them, a greedy Lieutenant (James Phillips) kills them all, but Estrada gets away. Estrada finds his way to Thailand, hooks up with a female farmer and falls in love. Many years later Phillips is back in Thailand to try to get back into Cambodia to get his golden statue. He gathers a group of mercenaries, forces Estrada to join them, and goes back into the war zone…

The Lost Idol is an ambitious action movie with, it seem, a bigger budget than usual. The attractive cast of both Thai superstars and good westerners adds to the international feeling. But in the end it’s a typical jungle-action movie with a lot of explosions and a high body count. Philip Chalong tries to make it as a big and Hollywood as possible, with large scenes of carnage, beautiful jungle scenery and even some shots I think is in Bangkok. I also appreciated the use of minatures (and in both those scenes they fall apart in a nice spectacular way). The stunts are wild and as usual they save the best for last, when Sorapong and his Cambodian rebels attack the Cambodian military camp. It’s a scene which goes on forever, and I’m grateful for that.

It’s not without plasma either, with the camera-lens getting stained by blood several times during the action scenes. I also love how they include a nice, old-fashioned, fist-fight aboard a helicopter in the end. Feels like one of those old spy movies from the sixties!

Erik Estrada, a guy I like a lot, is not always with us here. In some scenes he’s visibly not that interested and just don’t give it all. It borders to just amateur action, but here and there he shines – especially in the action scenes. Sorapong is good as usual, but Krung Srivilai is a bit wasted in his part as one of the mercenaries. But at least he shoots down a helicopter before he dies. This was also Christoph Klüppel’s first movie. Later he did more or less the same thing in Mission Hunter 1 and 2, but in a bigger part. More about him later here on Ninja Dixon.

The Lost Idol is not a serious movie, it even has some comedy (in one scenes they shoot a hole in a door, in the shape of a man), but its worth seeking up for all of you that appreciates Asian jungle-action and lots of exploding guard towers!

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