‘The Lost City’ Review: Raiders of the 1980s Blockbusters

There is no need to view “The Lost City” if you can just stare at the poster. The one-sheet reveals almost everything you need to know about this illogical lark: the stars, the tropical location, and the Bruckheimer-esque fireball. With Sandra Bullock in a sparkly purple onesie, the ad sells explicit sex and violence as well as humour.

So, while she and Channing Tatum are the film’s two main stars, the studio has also made sure to throw in a leering goat and Fabio-ed Brad Pitt.

The goat and Pitt’s performance stand out in this high-concept frolic about a widower writer (Bullock) who struggles to re-enter society after a long absence. Successful author Loretta writes tales with hot male protagonists and steamy verbs. While on a book promotion tour with the book’s cover model, Alan, she is abducted for unspecified reasons (Tatum). A mad rich villain (Daniel Radcliffe) and his minions chase them through the jungle as they try to rescue her. Not all bullets and jokes strike their intended targets.

As a vehicle for Bullock to perform her most enduring role: Sandra Bullock, your wonderfully likeable BFF, that is roughly how the movie goes. The Bullock BFF has been a staple for decades, despite the challenges it has faced. When things become tough, she bounces back with a cleverly deployed, tenacious demeanour that’s healthy, sarcastic and humorous but not (usually) disparaging to the point of being offensive.

In spite of her versatility, she thrives at humour in large part because she can play off a wide range of actors:. She’s a generous double act, like all BFFs.

When they finally do get together, it’s not easy for Bullock and Tatum because Tatum isn’t quite as comfortable in his lunkhead character. In Alan’s exaggerated cover-model drag, with flowing hair and peekaboo waxed chest, he plays a typical sweet dope, a cliché part he does effortlessly. On the other hand, when his character appears to be incredibly foolish, he plays it down a notch by sounding like a whining Mark Wahlberg singsong.

Is it a tribute, a coincidence, or something else? Although it isn’t clear, Tatum appears to be pleased when he and Bullock are able to enjoy a more casual relationship.

While Da’Vine Joy Randolph occasionally steals the show as the second banana, “The Lost City” mostly delivers what it promises: a pair of highly polished avatars quaffing and hitting their marks. Allowances have been made for current social norms.

In a scene that, like the movie as a whole, isn’t as crisp or as humorous as it could be, Tatum bares more flesh than Bullock does, displaying his chiselled buttocks. It’s still about a man saving a woman whose eye makeup never runs, even though she’s not as vulnerable as she would have been in the old studio days.

Adam and Aaron Nee, who penned the script with Oren Uziel and Dana Fox, manage the various moving components with ease. Pitt’s swashbuckling appearances are the most comical because of the way the film is shot, which is crisp and clear.

“Romancing the Stone,” one of the many adventure sequels developed in the wake of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” is evidently a fan of this film’s makers. While “Raiders” and Steven Spielberg’s filmmaking in “Romancing” transcend their sources, “The Lost City” is a copy of a copy that fails miserably.

When it comes to The Lost City, it’s unfortunate that writer and poet Galatea isn’t given the opportunity to make her fantasies come true. “The Lost City,” like “Romancing the Stone,” opens with a scene from a book that its author heroine is writing — cue the purple prose and dashing guy.

However, Loretta is unable to eliminate the hero from “The Lost City” despite deleting the scene because it doesn’t function. He’s a figment of her imagination, but he’s hers to keep. Movies like this one realise that some of us crave fairy tales, even if they promise the stars and deliver Channing Tatum mooning.

The Lost City

Bloodless violence and partial nudity have been rated PG-13. There is a running time of one hour and fifty-two minutes. Currently showing at local cinemas.