For the entire month of April, Cinefessions will be locked into The Asylum, reviewing films released by the famed studio. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday throughout April you will get another review on a film released by The Asylum. April’s podcast will also be devoted to films from The Asylum, and you can decide which three will be reviewed right here. Today, Chris jumps heads first into The Asylum with their Indiana Jones mockbuster Allan Quartermain.


Allan Quatermain and the Temple of SkullsTitle: Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls (2008)
Inspired By: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Director: Mark Atkins
Runtime: 98 minutes

One does not simply pick up a film from The Asylum collection and expect greatness. I’ve unwittingly watched a few in the Cinefessions Summer Challenge (which is once again planned for June of 2014!), and didn’t even realize it. So imagine my cries of pain and sorrow when Branden said he wanted to designate the entire month of April to this studio’s films. What horrors await me as I enter The Asylum?

For my first adventure this month, I randomly picked a film out of my newly infested Netflix Instant Queue. The unlucky pick was Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls. This is a retelling of King Solomon’s Mine, a novel that has had many films made from it. Allan Quatermain is our hero who sets out in Africa to find a treasure. Along for the ride is a lovely lady, and a young-ish gentleman.

The plot pretty much takes a back seat as we slowly cross Africa looking for this treasure. It’s a slow journey, ala The Fellowship of the Ring, but with even less excitement. The action scenes are laughable, as are any scene with our heroes running, or rather, briskly walking away. The best scene is when Allan has a gunfight on a train with a guy who is maybe fifteen feet away from him. Allan fires just one shot and misses as the other guy runs away.

This movie is filled with silly stuff like that, and yet it’s never offensively bad. It has a pretty good soundtrack, and despite a slow pacing, it’s almost fun to watch. The best part is where we meet some Zulu tribe and they’re all dancing around topless, which is the only reason for the “R” rating, and, oh my, do they bounce, and for a rather absurd amount of time.

What really takes the cake, though, is the following scene, where we meet the witch doctor, or some other silly nonsense. She comes out with these perfectly white beads all over her dreads, and a very vibrant rainbow ankle bracelet. It had me rolling, especially because the camera pretty much looks right at it.

Here’s the scary truth, folks: Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls isn’t too bad. I had mild fun with it, and despite some flaws with the action scenes and costumes, I have to admit the acting and shooting locations (filmed in Africa!) are much better than I expected. Would I go so far as to recommend it? Not really, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be and makes me almost hopeful for the other films.

two_and_a_half_stars

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Chris Ranson
Film Critic at Cinefessions
Chris was raised on horror films, which gave him a deep love for the genre, especially its most quirky and offbeat titles (like A Nightmare on Elm Street 2). This love quickly turned into an obsession for cinema in 1997, when he decided he needed to see every major theatrical release. Video games (JRPGs), reading (anything but fantasy), and reality television (Survivor) are just some of his other passions. He's been with Cinefessions since 2013, and has been writing reviews all over the internet for the past twelve years.