Tarzan and the Lost City - 1/2*

Tarzan and the Lost City

Though technically a sequel to Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Tarzan and the Lost City boasts none of the same cast, and even less quality. It’s a difficult task to make a Tarzan movie on the heels of the successful George of the Jungle, one that Tarzan and the Lost City just isn’t quite up to.

The action picks up with Tarzan (Casper Van Dien) in London, about to come into his inheritance as Lord Greystoke, and preparing to wed the lovely Jane (Jane March). However, his bliss is interrupted by a mystical vision from his homeland which sends him (and Jane) packing back to Africa.

An evil poacher, Nigel Ravens (Steven Waddington), is on a quest. Certain artifacts (which he has plundered from the corpses of dead tribal chieftains…during their funerals, no less) point him to the lost city of Opar, the cradle of civilization. Tarzan is asked by an old friend, the tribal shaman Mugambi (Winston Ntshona), to prevent Ravens from reaching (and plundering) his goal.

One of the many problems that plague this movie is in this summons. Mugambi is given such godlike magical powers (from shapeshifting to even resurrection) that it is unlikely that he’d need the assistance of anyone so comparatively pathetic as Tarzan! Why doesn’t he simply wave his magical hands and make those mean ol’ poachers disappear?

Ahh…but then, this wouldn’t be a Tarzan movie. (And I suppose a Mugambi movie is a tougher sell.) But, on the other hand, Van Dien doesn’t make a particularly convincing Tarzan. True, he does have the Tarzan yell…but it sounds canned, as if someone had tape recorded a clip from the old movies. Van Dien merely places his hands by his mouth and the sound appears.

But then that’s par for the course in a film filled with shoddy special effects. It’s hard to imagine a giant snake that’s even more fake-looking than the one in Anaconda, but somehow this film succeeds. But then, it looks right at home among the hideous gorilla suits, styrofoam boulders, and Power Ranger-quality magical warriors.

Tarzan and the Lost City was a film released with little fanfare, and deserves to remain that way. Tarzan devotees would be better served by waiting at least until next year’s Tarzan, and leaving this one to the wild.

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