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Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade - Review

Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: It’s 1938 and when Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is informed by a wealthy American businessman that his father, Henry Jones (Sean Connery), has gone missing while researching a clue to the whereabouts of the Holy Grail, Indy sets off in search of him. With his father’s Grail diary as a guide, he enlists the support of Dr Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliot) and the enigmatic Austrian professor Dr Elsa Schneider (Alison Doody) – only to realise that the latter is not all she seems.

After finding his father, the Jones boys find themselves in a frantic race against time to beat the Nazis to the Holy Grail, the cup that holds the blood of Jesus and can grant men immortality.

Our verdict: The third installment in the Indiana Jones saga bucked the trend of most sequels (ie, the law of diminishing returns) by actually bettering the sequel [Temple of Doom] and matching the feelgood element of the original Raiders Of The Lost Ark.

Part of this lay with Steven Spielberg’s welcome decision to lay off the nastier elements of the sequel (or prequel) in favour of the knockabout fun of Raiders.

But most of it lay with the decision to cast Sean Connery as Indy’s father. It was a stroke of genius.

The banter and camaraderie between Ford and Connery added a new element to proceedings that made for an even more enjoyable adventure. It was both funny (“don’t call me Junior”) and touching and played to the strengths of both actors.

Key moments in their relationship included a terrific scene in which they were bound back-to-back to each other on two chairs and forced to unite to escape a burning room (caused by Connery’s own incompetence with a lighter) and their reunion in Africa following the tank chase sequence, when Snr thought Jnr had perished.

Alison Doody also played her part in accentuating the rivalry that existed between father and son, having bedded both of them during various twists and turns in the story (though we’re thankfully spared a sex scene involving Connery!).

In fine Indiana Jones tradition, The Last Crusade also boasted a number of spectacular set pieces, including the aforementioned tank sequence, a cracking canal chase in Venice and a moment involving the Jones boys on a motorbike and sidecar – not to mention an exploding Zeppelin and the opening flashback (that found River Phoenix playing the young Indiana Jones).

And let’s not forget the audacious sequence in which Indy gets an autograph from none other than Adolf Hitler!

The Last Crusade also boasted memorable support from returning cast members Jonathan Rhys-Davies and the late Denholm Elliott, who was finally given more to do as Indy’s bumbling college colleague – and some typically formidable villains.

Indeed, such is the overall sense of enthusiasm surrounding this third film in the series, that it’s little wonder to find that Steven Spielberg has since declared it to be his own personal favourite. It’s a fun ride that actually plays to a wider audience because of its emphasis on family values over harder violence. Fortunately, and unlike its name suggests, it wasn’t to be Indy’s last crusade…

Read our verdict on Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull