PUBLISHED: 10:02 21 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:15 24 August 2010
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (12A) www.indianajonesmovie.co.uk Four out of five stars by Alex Wellman A dusty army car pulls up in a deserted airbase and a figure i
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (12A)
Four out of five stars
by Alex Wellman
A dusty army car pulls up in a deserted airbase and a figure is pulled out of the boot.
A battered hat falls to the floor as soldiers circle a silhouette that picks it up and places it on their head.
A camera pans round to reveal the sweaty face of the mystery man who simply mutters 'Russians'.
With that 19 long years are soon forgotten.
Welcome back Indiana Jones.
After months of rumour, gossip and extraordinarily few leaks, the fourth instalment of Indiana Jones arrives with a bang.
And what a bang.
The storyline is simple. Set in 1957 against the backdrop of the Cold War our hero begins the movie as a captive of the Russians, led by Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett).
Forced to help them find a mysterious artefact along with fellow adventurer Mac (Ray Winstone) in a wonderfully familiar warehouse, it's not long before Dr Jones is cracking the whip and landing haymakers on dastardly Commies as he makes good his escape.
Back in Marshall College he meets up with a rebellious young man called Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) who asks him for help tracking down his mother and his friend Professor Oxley (John Hurt).
The two are soon navigating the globe as a familiar red line marks their progression with the uplifting Raiders theme playing in the background.
A number of fist fights, car chases and creepy happenings later and the team are arrive at an Aztec temple, ready for the climax.
Let us start first with what is right with the film - Steven Spielberg.
The master filmmaker proves once again that he has lost none of his touch when it comes to making blockbusters.
A furious chase and fight sequence complete with Indy whipping peoples arms, swinging from lights, smashing through boxes and being blasted into the sky in a fridge opens the film.
A fantastic 20 minute car chase through the Amazon jungle complete with sword fights across speeding vehicles which culminates in a ferocious attack by giant ants shows other film makers how it should be done.
CGI is at a minimum in the film and we are all the better for it. Harrison Ford, at 65, leaps, bounds, hits and gets hit in a very real way.
Now what is wrong with the film - George Lucas.
I may be wrong but the central plot point surrounding the return of a Crystal Skull to a temple, takes Indy into rather silly territory and smacks of the Star Wars man.
After ruining that franchise he must not be allowed to do the same to this one and as such must be banned from having any input in future Indiana Jones films.
Having said that nothing can take the joy away from seeing Indy crack a whip and take a punch.
The lines on the face may be more prominent and the hair greyer but time certainly has not tamed this doctor.
For those of you wanting a four-and-a-half star film I suggest you switch off with 25 minutes to go.
For those of you wanting a five star film I suggest you switch back on with five minutes to go.
Overall a fantastic action movie with set pieces harking back to a golden age of pre-CGI cinema and lovely touches of humour.
Not the best in the franchise but a worthy addition with enough spills, thrills, crashes and crunches to make audiences want more.