Egypt's Ministry of Tourism takes a prominent bow in credits for this adventure-travelogue aimed at younger audiences.
Egyptologist Eric Lenhardt (Rick Rossovich) unearths a parchment that points toward the final resting place of 3,000-year-old Pharoah Ramses II. Straightaway he's kidnapped by a former colleague-turned-smuggler, Dr. William Bent (Stacy Keach), who thinks the map will lead him to gold treasures.
Meanwhile, Lenhardt's teenage son John (Brock Pierce) flies into Cairo to spend time with his divorced dad. John is greeted by fellow Yank Karen Lacy (Kimberlee Peterson), a 16-year-old joining Dr. Lenhardt as part of a summer high-school archaeology fellowship. When the grownup fails to appear,
they proceed to their hotel, where authorities are already suspicious about the scholar's unpaid bills and missed appointment with the Department of Antiquities. Karen finds the parchment in Lenhardt's trunk, and when Bent and his native stooge start chasing the kids, it doesn't take her long to
realize the scroll's significance. Karen is taken hostage, and John surrenders the parchment in exchange for her freedom, but the girl has already transcribed its pictograms. The teens race the villain's small entourage to a forbidden tomb deep in the desert, where John and his captive father are
finally reunited. The object of the chase is Ramses' "sacred scarab," an artifact required for a ritual that will free the dead king's kaa, or soul. Bent still believes it will mystically indicate the gold of the pharoahs, and he leaves the heroes trapped in the tomb as he heads for Aswan. John
and Karen find their way out, free Dr. Lenhardt (again), and confront Bent as he performs the ancient rite. Amidst a blaze of special effects, Ramses' kaa soars heavenward to the sun--the real treasure--and Bent, now insane, is arrested by Egyptian police, who have been shadowing the Americans
With postcard-perfect location filming and morsels of Egyptian lore, the agenda here was to combine the broadest features of a Disneyesque juvenile adventure and an educational Nile River field trip. Scenes in the streets of Cairo and atop the Great Pyramid of Giza (the monument's curator, Zahi
Hawass, plays himself) would do the Egyptian Chamber of Commerce proud, and the script endearingly skirts around any on-camera violence. Still, things would have been better had writer Jeremy Doner (loosely adapting a young-adult adventure novel by Walter Dean Myers) imbued his dual protagonists
with a bit more sophistication. John is impulsive, streetwise, and spunky; Karen is brainy, haughty, and spunky; soon, their contrived petty bickering gets on one's nerves. Keach hams unctuously with a mock Commonwealth accent. He's fun, but about as menacing as a roadshow Captain Hook. Soft-edged
perils hurled at the young heroes are not so much cliffhangers as sand traps, and the respect paid to ancient Egypt's art and culture seems a mite hollow when special-effects energy bolts start zapping from the eyes of statues. Still, given the pedigree of a Roger Corman production team (with
Corman's wife Julie listed as producer) LEGEND OF THE LOST TOMB is a fairly harmless diversion.
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- Released: 1997
- Rating: PG
- Review: Egypt's Ministry of Tourism takes a prominent bow in credits for this adventure-travelogue aimed at younger audiences. Egyptologist Eric Lenhardt (Rick Rossovich) unearths a parchment that points toward the final resting place of 3,000-year-old Pharoah Ra… (more)
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