In the Indiana Jones wannabe, The Lost City, Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) is a writer struggling to find a suitable ending for her latest potboiler. She writes Mills and Boon-like fancies, featuring long-haired hero Lothario Dash.
The model she’s used on 20 front covers is Alan (Channing Tatum), who is invariably asked to rip off his shirt to reveal his rippling muscles at book launches. Loretta is, in reality, serious and has lost her mojo since the death of her archaeologist husband. She’s decidedly uncomfortable in the limelight. But her publicist Beth Hatten (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) has other ideas.
She squeezes Loretta into a skin-tight pant suit to appear alongside Alan – who Loretta has made clear she’s not comfortable with. Suffice to say the ensuing Q&A at a fan event doesn’t go well. But worse is to follow, after Loretta is kidnapped by lackeys of billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe). He believes Loretta has uncovered a secret hieroglyphic code that will pinpoint the location of a precious relic known as the Crown of Fire. Next thing you know, Loretta is drugged, bundled onto a small plane and flown to a remote volcanic island.
Using GPS and the help of an ex-Navy SEAL Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt), Alan manages to track her and fly to the rescue. Only, it’s hardly smooth sailing when they arrive … and Loretta and Alan are left scrambling for their lives. Meanwhile, publicist Hatten also takes her own circuitous trip to the island … just in the nick of time.
The Lost City is a waste of the talent involved in the project thanks to a decidedly pedestrian script by directors Aaron and Adam Nee (along with Oren Uziel and Dana Fox), based on a story by Seth Gordon. I’m afraid I felt the actors were just going through the motions. Sure, they deliver their lines, but given the trifling material they had to work with, there was no credibility behind any of them. While watching, I was thinking “nothing to see here”. My interest in the lacklustre and transparent plot quickly waned … and it didn’t return.
There was never a doubt where this film was heading, but the journey to get there was hardly inventive or inspiring. The Lost City looks and feels like an attempt to cash in on a past favourite, but time has moved on and expectations have risen.
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Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.