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Joan Wilder, a mousy romance novelist, receives a treasure map in the mail from her recently murdered brother-in-law. Meanwhile, her sister Elaine is kidnapped in Colombia and the two criminals responsible demand that she travel to Colombia to exchange the map for her sister. Joan does, and quickly becomes lost in the jungle after being waylayed by Zolo, a vicious and corrupt Colombian cop who will stop at nothing to obtain the map. There, she meets an irreverent soldier-of-fortune named Jack Colton who agrees to bring her back to civilization. Together, they embark upon an adventure that could be straight out of Joan's novels. Written by
This film tries to do it all: adventure, comedy, and romance. Romancing the Stone succeeds, but Crocodile Dundee and other films have done it better.
Kathleen Turner stars as romance novelist Joan Wilder, a city girl who unintentionally finds herself stranded in the Colombian wilderness, miles away from modern communication and transportation. She encounters her opposite, a rugged outdoorsy soldier of fortune named Jack. Their clashing personalities are fun to watch. Of course, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom presented a similar relationship and did it better, but let's give Romancing the Stone credit for doing it first (by a few months).
Good cast. Danny DeVito is especially entertaining. I liked how Joan's experiences transform her character. Good plot premise. But parts of the script are a bit sloppy. The story moves forward at a good pace, but the progress of the story relies too often on "coincidences." (Imagine if you read a Superman story where every time Superman is about to catch the bad guy, a piece of kryptonite falls from the sky and knocks him unconscious.)
I was shocked that this film was nominated for best editing. In some getaway scenes, the editors apparently cut the part where the hiding party realizes that their pursuers have just arrived. The editors simply cut to the shot where the hiding party is attempting their escape. Fixing this problem would have extended the film's runtime by about 10 seconds. Also, there are some goofs involving stunt doubles, one of which could have been fixed by simply cutting the shot a second earlier.
I was disappointed that we never learn the history of the treasure or the map. Nor do we learn how or why Elaine's husband acquired the map or why he was in Colombia in the first place.
Despite its flaws, this movie is fun. Check it out if you enjoy adventure flicks.
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