Reviewing Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom is almost like talking about the Black Sheep of any family. The darker, second act of the Indiana Jones Series is even dismissed and ignored by its parents, Steven Speilberg and George Lucas. Admittedly going through a rough patch in both their lives, the director and producer duo created the edgiest film in the franchise. Set as a prequel in pre-world war two India, Harrison Ford returns as Indiana himself, Katie Capshaw plays lounge singer Willie Scott and Johnathan Ke Quan is casted as Indy’s faithful aide Short Round. The trio bounds through Hong Kong and Northern India to retrieve a precious stone from the feared Thugee clan and their infamous ruler, Mola Ram.
Starting in Hong Kong, Indiana is cornered by Gangster Lao Che but escapes unscathed with his young sidekick Short Round and a beautiul lounge singer Willie Scott. The gang unknowingly board one of Che’s cargo plane’s and are ditched in the Himalayas. After a frightening exit, they find themselves in a village which has been devastated by the loss of its children and its sacred Sivilinga stone which has been stolen by the Thuggee clan who reside underneath the Pankot Palace. The Clan’s Leader Mola Ram has empowered his followers by submitting them to the word of Kali. After witnessing a brainwashing and a human sacrifice, Indiana realizes the graveness of the situation.
As with the first movie, Speilberg absolutely shoots the hell out of this masterpiece. He utilizes many different types of framing and utilizes long flowing camera shots, its no wonder he is Michael Bay’s mentor. One could contend that this film has better a pace to it than the other three. This is because many of the action scenes are tied in beautifully with a solid setup.
The major source of criticism for this film has been its dark nature. It is undoubtedly the least positive and least optimistic film of the series. Speilberg himself has even confessed that there is nothing positive and light harted about this film. I contend that this is the film’s greatest aspect as it makes it unique from the others in the series. The sudden switch to a devastated village, human sacrifice and child slavery is certainly worrying for those with weak constitutions, however for those of us who revel in the excitement this movie gives off, there is nothing better. Think about it this way, it makes it for a much happier ending when Indiana slays Mola Ram and returns the stone and the children to a once again happy punjab village.
Overall, I’d give this film an eight out of ten because of its uniqueness and its plot depth. Speilberg is easily able to utilize flowing camera shots to maximize the graveness that the film eludes. Harrison Ford once again is iconic, and his side kick Jonathan Ke Quan ads some much needed flavor to the film.