A number of cliché remarks come to mind when thinking back on the latest Harrison Ford assault, including “I might have been last in my class but I’m still a doctor,” or “Inca-dinka-doo,” or “You thought that going over Niagara Falls in a barrel was something,” or “Duck and cover,” but at the end of watching this movie and remembering back to the original when Indiana sets off the definitive rolling stone or many of the other special tricks in the first three movies, I do know that Thomas Wolfe was correct when he said “You can’t go home again.”
Why did they wait so long and work so hard to come with a second rate quarto-sequel? The answer is, of course, money, but this time around the salute goes to Sean Connery who knew when to bow out.
Ford is now sixty-five years old and while he doesn’t show his age (the whip still cracks), you’re certainly aware that the only reason he can succeed in many of the stunts remains the ability to stop and start a camera.
There are a few great chases and a number of very clever scene changes (the best due to setting the stage for live actors and not computer legerdemain), including a number of waterfalls and parallel roads through the jungle, the first with our brave crew and the second with the Red Menace (and it’s not Flora).
Cate Blanchett plays the KGB agent Irina Spalko who wears a tailored flight suit of slate gray (thankfully without parachute straps) and thanks to her impressive aura is one of the best things in the movie. In a salute to the AARP members in the audience, Karen Allen shows up as Indy’s love interest returning to help win the day and in a salute to youth (after all, they represent the biggest box office draw), Indy has a young assistant called Mutt (Shia LaBeouf), who salutes the memories of the older members of the audience by continually taking a comb from his back pocket and styling his wavy hair.
Instead of setting the story in the late 1930s, we enter this flick in the early 1950s with, perhaps, one of the best set pieces with the action surrounded by a small town about to be blown apart for a nuclear test. With the connections between the American desert and flying saucers, it’s a shame David Koepp, the scriptwriter, didn’t begin the action in the ruined temples of the jungle and end it back in Nevada.