East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Looking for adventure, or Return of the Raiders of the Lost Franchise

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One of the (moderate and amply tolerable) down sides of co-hosting a podcast about horror is that sometimes you get to watch some pretty bad movies. Doing Paura & Delirio with my accomplice Lucy, we usually stick to movies we like, or at least we find interesting and worth a re-watch, but sometimes this comes with some less-than-welcome attachments (like when a pretty good movie suffered through an unnecessary remake). And after all, “horror” is such a wide and old genre, that you really get a huge variety of films, from straight-up ghost stories (that I like), to disturbing science fiction flicks (that I also like), to slashers and gorefests (that I like a lot less).

So, I was coming out of the viewing of a pretty boring and blood-drenched horror, and in need of a good palate cleanser, and I decided to look for a good adventure movie, possibly with some pulp-ish vibe. Is there anything new (or old but I missed it) that could help me spend a nice after-dinner and make me forget the dog I’ve just watched?

And it turns out that the label “adventure” is being attached, on IMDB and on streaming service catalogs, to a wide variety of stuff that… hmm…

Superheroes movies, for instance. Yes, I guess the are adventurous and you could argue that, say, Tarzan is a superhero of sorts. But… superhero movies in the “adventure” category? Really?

(Believe it or not, this image popped up when I searched for “Adventure movies” – and mind you, I’d watch the hell out of it, only apparently it doesn’t exist, and it’s dubbed in Hindi.)

Same goes for Star Wars, of course, or Star Trek.
Yes, there is a component of adventure in the stories, but we are dealing with science fantasy or science fiction here.
Lord of the Rings? Again, yes, they go on an adventure but…

I understand these movies have billions of fans, and yet, they are not what I am looking for.
Shouldn’t Google bring me what I’m looking for at the click of a mouse?

The search also brings up Silverado – that is a movie I love and I always re-watch with extreme pleasure, but it’s a western. It’s got horses, gunfights, people in cowboy hats, and it’s set in the 19th century in the frigging American West. It’s a western.

And of course yes, there’s a long list of movies that fit the bill, but I have already seen and in a few cases I know by heart – the Indiana Jones movies and Romancing the Stone, the Arséne Lupin movie and Adele Blanc Sec, the Phantom and the Shadow and a ton of Tarzans, and yes, even Darkman. Big Trouble in Little China and The High Road to China.
The search brings up from the depths of the web an army of Indiana Clones, from unlikely Quatermains to even less savory types called Minnesota Bill or stuff like that.

And while I drink me a cup of tea and browse the list, I start thinking I should start reviewing these movies again. True, it will sometimes be a source of pain and suffering, but really, as I said, that comes with the territory wherever you start reviewing a genre.
And it’s a pity I do not have an accomplice to do it on a podcast.
I’ll have to stick to text.

But I’m already compiling a list, and now I have a new project.
Which does not solve the problem of the movie for the evening.
Ah, what the heck, I think I’ll re-watch Romancing the Stone.
Or maybe Silverado.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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