tek's rating: ½

Romancing the Stone (PG)
AFI Catalog; IMDb; Rotten Tomatoes; TV Tropes; Wikipedia
streaming sites: Amazon; FandangoNOW; Google Play; iTunes; Movies Anywhere; Vudu

This came out in 1984. I am reviewing it after watching it on DVD in 2018, but before that, I felt like I might have seen it on TV at some point, in the late 80s or the 90s. After watching it... I have no idea. I mean, there wasn't anything in the movie that felt familiar to me, but that doesn't really mean anything. Maybe I saw it before, and maybe I didn't.

Anyway, there's a novelist named Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner), who writes books about adventure that include romance. (The first scene of the movie is just the end of one of her books playing out in her mind as she writes it.) She then delivers the manuscript to her publisher, Gloria (Holland Taylor), who wants to find a guy to set her up with. But Joan is holding out for the kind of guy she writes about in her novels, as the love interest for her protagonist. Meanwhile, Joan has received a package in the mail from her sister's husband, who was recently murdered. And when she gets home from her meeting with Gloria, she finds that her apartment has been ransacked. Then she gets a call from her sister, Elaine, who is in Colombia, and who has just been kidnapped. She tells Joan to bring the contents of the package, a treasure map, to Cartagena, Colombia, to give the kidnappers in exchange for Elaine. When Joan gets off the plane, she tries to figure out which bus to take, and a stranger gives her misinformation. One of the kidnappers, Ralph (Danny DeVito), realizes she's on the wrong bus, so he spends much of the movie trying to catch up to her.

The bus eventually crashes into a jeep, and the driver and passengers all leave on foot. But the stranger who had given her the misinformation in the first place tells her that another bus will be along, so she doesn't have to walk. Once the others are all out of sight, he pulls a gun and tries to steal her purse. But then another man happens by, and gets into a gunfight with the stranger, who ends up running away. This new guy, Jack Colton (Michael Douglas), turns out to be the owner of the jeep. And the crash had caused him to lose his cargo (birds he was going to sell). Joan then hires him to guide her to the nearest phone, so she can call her sister's kidnappers. But the guy who had tried to steal her purse eventually comes back into the picture. He turns out to be a colonel in the secret police, named Zolo, and he and his men will constantly pursue Joan and Jack. And of course, Ralph is also pursuing them. The map Joan has leads to a large emerald called "El Corazon," which Jack thinks he and Joan should look for themselves.

And... I guess that's all I want to say about the plot. The movie is fairly amusing, and the adventure is fairly entertaining, and... I guess the romance that develops between Joan and Jack is okay. And I think my favorite part of the movie was when they met a drug lord named Juan. He was kind of great. Anyway... there's a sequel, "The Jewel of the Nile," which I should watch and review sometime soonish.

action/adventure index