After the release of director Steven Spielberg's RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, the question on almost everyone's lips was "How can he top this?" The answer won't be found in the $25 million sequel INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, a breakneck adventure that moves at twice the pace of the
original but has only half the creative strength. The film opens with one of the decade's most purely entertaining scenes, a Busby Berkeley-style dance number to Cole Porter's "Anything Goes" (perhaps a clue to the line of logic the filmmakers were to follow). The setting is a swanky Shanghai
nightclub in 1935 where heroic archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) has a run-in with some bad guys and is forced to make his getaway with singer Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw). Moments later they meet up with a 12-year-old named Short Round (Ke Huy Quan). The trio ends up in a primitive
Indian village, where Jones is beckoned to retrieve a sacred stone from a heavily guarded palace and encounters a sanguinary Khali cult lifted from GUNGA DIN.
Director Spielberg has crammed ceaseless special effects, chases, and gross-outs into the film's nearly two hours. The nonstop pace may eventually numb viewers to the thrills, although Spielberg must be congratulated for adding some shades of character to his archetypal action hero this time
around. The film is not helped by a xenophobia that sometimes verges on racism, or by its surprisingly graphic violence. A gruesome scene in which a beating heart is ripped from the chest of a sacrifical victim stirred controversy and prompted the MPAA to create the PG-13 rating.
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