Nineteen years after we last saw Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), the world around him has changed. The Nazi's are long gone (most of them melted) and Russia is now the biggest threat to the west. As his latest adventure begins in 1957, Indy has fallen into the insidious Soviet clutches of Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett). Tasked with locating a mysterious artefact that he studied a decade earlier, its not long before our favourite archaeologist is dusting off his trademark fedora and swinging back into action through the jungles of Peru.
Indy may be a little slower now, but he has lost none of his trademark magic and can still mix it up with the best of them. Joining him for the ride is Mutt Williams (Shia LeBeouf), a rebellious teen who calls on Jones to rescue his kidnapped mother. Handy with a knife and never one to shy away from a scrap, Mutt makes a credible sidekick. The duo has a great chemistry which leads to some entertaining exchanges between the Professor and college dropout.
A blast from the past excavates some old feelings as Indy is reunited with his love interest from Raiders of the Lost Ark - Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen). Ray Winstone is also thrown into the mix as 'Mac' George McHale, along with brief supporting turns from John Hurt as Professor Oxley and Jim Broadbent as Dean Charles Stanforth.
The action throughout is relentless, only pausing briefly for breath as Dr. Henry Jones teaches Marshall College students the finer points of archaeology. Standout set-pieces include a chase through the jungle and warehouse escape. There are also some great one-liners and references to his previous escapades.
As the film nears its climax however, it starts to loose momentum as you wait for a showdown that never properly materialises. There is also some surprisingly ropey CGI from Industrial Light and Magic in parts, but thankfully it doesn't detract from the overall experience.
Rich in action, nostalgia and humour, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" has an old school feel and is ultimately a lot of fun. Clearly setting the groundwork for a possible spin-off featuring Mutt Williams, we may not have seen the last of Indiana Jones yet!
Review by: Mark O'Connell
Date: 22nd May 2008
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Rating out of 5: