Farhan Tahir’s Splendid Performance in Hollywood Movie
By Ras H. Siddiqui
Farhan Tahir in Iron Man
The number one movie in theatres in America last week was “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” far ahead of “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” and catching up quickly (in cumulative earnings) with the wonderful “Iron Man”. Having seen all three of these films, one just has to give the edge to Iron Man in quality filmmaking. But I have to admit that Indiana Jones is not too bad either because we left the venue with a smile on our faces. Contrast that to my pulling three yawning kids out of the “too long” Narnia sequel and we have our clear winner.
But before I go on to the review of this newest Indiana Jones flick, a note of disappointment on the reviews on Iron Man published in Pakistani newspapers. Not even a mention of our very own Faran Tahir? A Pakistani-American who recently starred in “Charlie Wilson’s War” and has now played the villain (really?) in Iron Man and certainly going places. Rumor has it that Faran’s next role is a major one. He will be playing the role of Federation Captain in the next Star Trek movie. That in itself is quite an achievement so our congratulations to him.
Now back to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. A great deal is being written on Harrison Ford’s advanced age as the leading man in this movie. There is less of a swagger in his walk and stunts appeared to be limited stunts (for him), but the magic of yesteryear does not wear off easily. Professor Jones is as convincing as ever, even though one just has to suspect he may be playing a role similar to that of Sean Connery in the last “Indy” movie.
If one enjoyed “The Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981) or “The Temple of Doom” (1984) along with an okay “The Last Crusade” (1989), nineteen years later viewers will still enjoy The Crystal Skull, wrinkles and all. A movie where the legendary George Lucas and Steven Spielberg combine forces just cannot be mediocre!
In this latest Indiana Jones adventure, Professor Jones (Harrison Ford) faces the old Soviet Secret Service and its formidable face in the person of Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett). During the cold war decade of the 1950’s, they compete in a journey across South America (Peru and the Amazon area) in search of a legendary city of gold and priceless treasure. The key to this treasure is a crystal skull that another academic by the name of Professor Oxley (John Hurt) has come across but in the process he has also lost his mind. Along the way Indiana is initially approached by a Mutt Williams (Shia LeBeouf), an adventurous young biker who could be right out of one of “Happy Days” or “Grease” characters.
If I am not mistaken, the movie started off with an Elvis number in its musical score, during a decade when nuclear weapons testing was a hot issue. Indiana found himself in the middle of it all and had to “refrigerate” an escape. And from there the action is almost non-stop across continents as Jones and the Soviets indulge in a most entertaining quest to reach the lost kingdom whose riches have been chronicled in legends.
For those who expect them, there are not many snakes in this movie but plenty of scorpions and army ants. There is also no shortage of skulls of a number of shapes either.
There is minor romance as Indiana Jones meets up with his old love interest Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) and a couple of secrets. But these are just parts of the puzzle.
The secret to the success of the Indiana Jones series of movies or continued sequels lies in their high energy action. In that department, this newest addition does not disappoint us. You can put your brain in park, get a soft drink and popcorn and let the movie absorb you. So what if it is unbelievable? It is pure fantasy and its entertainment potential is crystal clear.