Treasure of the Amazon really is one of those films that is so bad it's actually good. It's a Mexican-made film from 1985 menat to cash in on the popularity of the Indian Jones films. It stars a cast of name actors (well sort of) such as Stuart Whitman, Donald Pleasance, John Ireland, and Bradford Dillman. Not exactly Hollywood's A list, or even B list, but at least some people you've heard of.
The plot involves a search for gold in the Amazon by various groups of people, all trying to out-wit each other and be the first to find the treasure. Pleasance plays a former German officer named Klaus Von Blantz who is hoping to find the gold and bring back the Third Reich. Whitman is a tough old Jungle vet named Gringo. Throughout the film the groups battle jungle headhunters, crocodiles, and vicious crabs who tear apart one person in a memorable scene.
There's lots of gore including decapitations, animal attacks, and shrunken heads but the budget is so low that it doesn't scare or shock. It's all quite harmless and great cheesy entertainment. Kind of like an old Saturday Afternoon matinee film.
I knew when I started reviewing crud cinema again that I'd revisit the Rene Cardona, Jr Fun Park. Although it's been a long time, I vividly remember struggling through "Tintorera" and "Guyana: Crime of the Century". How could I forget those two experiences? A frontal lobotomy performed with a sledgehammer wouldn't rid my mind of the images those two "classics" inflicted upon me. If you're not familiar with Senor Cardona's work, he's the sort of director who somehow managed to raise enough funds to populate his films with fairly well known actors and actresses. He convinced Susan George to appear in "Tintorera," and staffed "Guyana" with folks like Joseph Cotton and Stuart Whitman. I know what you're going to say, and you're right. Susan George was never a huge star, and Joseph Cotton's career trajectory was approaching its nadir in the 1970s. True. But it's still surprising to see the number of known faces Cardona put in his films. For example, check out "Treasure of the Amazon". We see Bradford Dillman, Donald Pleasence, John Ireland, and Stuart Whitman camping it up out in the jungle. Consider Cardona as a sort of past tense version of Uwe Boll.
Think about "Treasure of the Amazon," if you must, in the context of the 1980s jungle actioner. "Romancing the Stone," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "King Solomon's Mines"--you can see where this one's going. In Cardona's crudfest, we immediately meet a scruffy old coot named Gringo (Whitman). He's one of these jungle guides that take people into the backcountry when they're searching for something valuable. Needless to say, Zapata (Pedro Armendariz Jr.) and Jaime (Jorge Luke) hire him in order to find some gold. Amazingly, it's the same gold Gringo once looked for back in the day, only something went wrong with the expedition and he was the sole survivor. Also needless to say, the gold lies in an area infested with scary head hunting Indians. Then we learn that a German war criminal named Klaus von Blantz (Pleasence) is also heading upriver looking for valuable loot. With a half-nekkid native girl as a guide, Morimba (Sonia Infante), von Blantz hopes to find gold in order to reconstitute his beloved German National Socialist state right smack dab in the middle of South America. And we're supposed to believe that Gringo is the crazy one!
Wait a minute! We're not even close to being done here. Cardona also throws in another group of people, some oil company surveyors out in the sticks, so they can play a role in the proceedings. This trio of characters consists of Clark (Bradford Dillman sans the flannel he wore in "Piranha"), his buddy Richard (Clark Jarrett), and the always complaining Barbara (Ann Sidney sporting a southern accent so atrocious you'll need to drink a gallon of mint juleps to recover). They become part of the story when they unearth a few headless skeletons only to discover a few diamonds in the gravesite. Diamonds? In the Amazon? Must have something to do with that treasure referenced in the film's title. Soon we learn that there's a cave loaded with diamonds, as big as eyes according to one of the characters, and the gold seems to take a back seat to the unfolding hijinks. Expect to see a few decapitations, a hook through the tongue, cut off fingers, and some other nastiness before this one concludes. Also expect to see John Ireland in a small blink and you'll miss him role as a priest. Hugo Stiglitz, another Cardona regular, pops up in a very small role as a riverboat captain.
Whew! That's a lot of plot. That's also typical of Rene Cardona flicks. He figures if you burden down a movie with a ton of characters and subplots, you won't notice the cheese oozing out of the celluloid. And believe me when I tell you that "Treasure of the Amazon" is cheesy. Bad dialogue, idiotic character motivations, and hammy acting all rule the day here. The guiltiest party in the giant ham department is probably Donald Pleasence. His German accent coupled with a scene where he practices a little ethnic cleansing on the Indian population ends up ruling the day. His death scene, the result of lying to a corrupt custom's agent, is one of the highlights of the film. The Donald aside, not much else grabs a viewer's interest here. Cardona treats us to the aforementioned headless skeletons, diamonds in a cave, a cool death by crabs scene, and a "twist" ending that isn't very original. Most of the film consists of these groups plodding through the jungle trying to deal with the dangerous wildlife and the hostile Indians. Leeches attack! Watch out for the piranha! Snakes! Is that a crocodile in the river? You get the idea. Most of the animal stuff looks like stock footage anyway.
VCI releases "Treasure of the Amazon" with a decent audio and picture transfer. They aren't great, but they're head and shoulders above what you'd expect for a prime piece of schlock cinema. Extras are sparse, alas, but we do get a trailer for the film, a few biographies on the cast, and more previews for other Cardona classics such as "Cyclone," "Guyana: Crime of the Century," and "The Bermuda Triangle". I'm not sure how many more Rene Cardona films I can stomach. This is my third review of his stuff (with one more on the way for "The Bermuda Triangle"), and I'm fearful that I won't have the strength to get through "Cyclone". Oh, who do I think I'm kidding? Of course I'll continue watching this pap. I've got nothing better to do with my free time. Besides, it's worth it if I can warn off the unprepared. Only schlock lovers should give Cardona a spin; all others should stay far away.
on July 3, 2008
This is my first review for Amazon. I really would like to do this more often after every film I watch, but I just either don't have the time or I get too lazy. Taken into account that I just watched this film and that it only has 2 reviews I'm going to start my reviewing with this title.
I won't go into plot details since they have already been given, but I will say that this film is given a reputation for being one of the better Indiana Jones knockoff films. It even says it on the back of the DVD case. I know this was made due to the success of the Indy films and I'm sure it was inspired by them, but this does not come as a knockoff at all. 'Treasure of the Amazon' is way different than any Indy movie. I think its safe to say that most exotic adventure films will have their similarities - and this is far from an original film, but it shouldn't be taken as just another Indy knockoff. First off this is Rated R...and features graphic violence, plenty of gratious nudity (even tho it comes from native girls, it still seems pretty exploitative) and some strong profanity - you will not find that in an Indy film. The lead hero Gringo (played wonderfully by Stuart Whitman) is very rugged and world weary. I loved his character and he had a lot of juicy material. Sure it was cheesy, but the dude owned the movie and I definitely do not consider him a wannabe Indiana Jones.
I really do love the Indy films so much (I just love great adventure films in general) and I have been craving to see more decent adventure films that I have never seen. I can't keep watching Indy over and over (and I need something to hold me off until Indy 4 hits DVD and Blu-Ray) so I am very pleased I discovered this little film. It is most definitely a glorified B-Movie, but I wouldn't consider it an exploitation flick. Going in I thought it was gonna be more like an Italian Exploitation effort like some have suggested it to be, but it is just simple B-Movie fun with a bit more boobs + guts than you would get in an Indy film. I actually enjoyed this more than the two 80's Allan Quatermain films (which were more Indy like than 'Treasure of the Amazon') and this is a perfect adventure for a dull or stormy day and for anybody who needs something to satisfy their appetite for adventure. 'Treasure...' is not a film for everyone, but Cult, B-Movie and most adventure film fans should find something to like in this cheesy, fun overlooked gem. Its better than most of today's adventure efforts.
I know this review is pretty long, but I want to mention that DVD quality itself is pretty good. The picture does have some scratches, dirt and grain early on but looks really sharp and clear in other scenes. It is inconsistent, but nonetheless watchable and probably the best the film has ever looked. The Dolby Digital Stereo track gets the job done, but its what you would expect from a low budget 80's B movie being released by a little DVD company. The trailers and Biographies featured on the disc are interesting and are a welcome addition, but I would of liked to have seen a retrospective feature. Only if Anchor Bay or Blu-Underground got a hold of this film...but RCI has done a decent enough job with the release. The price is a steal, so anyone who may seem interested should take the plunge and journey through the perilous AMAZON!
on May 1, 2011
"Treasure of the Amazon" is typically reviewed as barely deserving of B movie status. Filmed in Mexico, this video was released in 1985 featuring, Stuart Whitman, Donald Pleasence, Sonia Infante (exploitation style gratuitous upper body nudity occasionally), John Ireland, Ann Sidney (Miss World 1964), and others. I suppose I should explain that some footage in this film was borrowed from documentaries on rainforests, and that makes the hour and 45 minutes easier to watch. There are wild animals such as leopards, crocodiles, enormous boa constrictor snakes, panthers, and flesh eating crustaceans (crabs that eat a man alive), as well as head hunters that use blowguns and poison darts then decapitate their human victims while still alive. Human nature is as big a threat as any as betrayal creeps in after discovering gold and diamonds in the rugged rainforest. There is quicksand, biting insect swarms, piranha, swamps, cliffs, waterfalls, caves, and other dangerous things to prevent getting into the rainforest, or getting back out. A steam driven paddle boat takes us along a river, where we encounter some narrative dialogue to stage the story, and it doesn't take very long to realize you're not watching this video for the acting quality or ability. As you begin to hope there's lots of female nudity, you get treated to about a dozen black husky women in their 30's & 40's as they simulate a National Geographic genre wrestling match as if they were the female warriors known as Amazons. The camera angle mostly blocks the view, and the girls are husky enough you actually don't mind. Miss World Ann Sidney never gives us more than underwear shots, but Sonia Infante makes up for it. In fact, Sonia Infante makes up for the rest of the entire lameness of the cast, special FX, or poor directing and editing elsewhere in the film. Bless you Sonia Infante. Not a good family video, and not a good first date flick. But the film actually has its moments, and for my expectations, I'm going to say this film delivers.
on October 11, 2009
Wow I wish they still made movies like this! It was greatly entertaining. I don't know if it was the type of cameras used, or just the great locations, but the colors and the picture clarity was beautiful. Yeah there were pops & a few white scratches visable here and there, but that's to be expected from and old fairly unknown movie.I had never heard of this film, but stumbled across it in an Amazon search.It sounded good, so I ordered it. I was not dissapointed. They must have rented every animal at the zoo,because every 3 minutes a new species ran across the screen! One thing was funny, that Every time a crocadile appeared, someone would yell there's an Alligator. Even I can tell the difference between a croc & a gator.Watch Animal Planet, people! But the movie contained a grungy cast, plenty of gore,and gunplay, the leading man gets his head chopped off about half way through the movie, which surprised me. The leading lady had a horrible nose job, that looked like a Michael Jackson special. Donald Pleasance always brings some quality to his character, and this was noe exception. His raven haired lady guide was beautiful! Probably not by todays Hollywood standards, but She really looked like an Amazonian type. Oh and did I mention she doesn't wear a shirt the whole time? Meyow! I am very happy to have this film in my video library, and can't wait to show it to my freinds. If you like jungle adventure movies or just older schlocky stuff, I think you should give this one a watch.
René Cardona Jr.'s 1984 "Treasure of the Amazon" still manages to keep your attention! There is such a sense of "Hey, nobody's gonna believe this, anyway", that the absurdities become entertaining, from Donald Pleasence sleepwalking through his role as an ex-Nazi searching for riches to revive the Third Reich, to grizzled, aging, out-of-shape Stuart Whitman bedding winsome 'Southern' belle Ann Sidney (a definite health risk!). Then there is Sonia Infante, who wanders through the entire film topless, John Ireland, nearly as bored as Pleasence, as the stoic local priest (isn't the Amazon a bit warm for a friar's robe?), Bradford Dillman as a pilot (who treats his small role as a paid vacation), Pedro Armendáriz Jr. and Jorge Luke mugging their way through the token 'greedy crook' roles...hey, for a lousy film, there are some pretty respectable actors here!
There's gold, there are diamonds (in the AMAZON???), and headhunters, piranha, alligators, leeches, flesh-eating land crabs, beautiful locations, barely legal (and dressed) native girls...and according to the opening credits, it's all based on a TRUE STORY! Uh-huh...
If you feel like 'slumming' with something laughably dumb, and at a low, low price, "Treasure of the Amazon" is just the ticket!
on November 17, 2012
wonderful. shooting. of. The. Amazon. jungle. rich. in color. interesting. turn of. events. I wouldent. say. that. it. was cheep. in any. way. and. a good. movie. to. have. in. any. collection but. may. not. be. a good. choice. for. yong kids. more. of a mix between. of and. r rated
on February 12, 2014
It is sad when decent actors are involved in cheap rubbish like this that squander their talents. Most notable are Stuart Whitman, who is a very competent actor but when placed in a cheap jungle thriller, albeit lacking any thrill, one wonders why they stooped so low. This is absolutely one of the worst films I have seen, it is amateurish, directed by some hack René Cardona Jr., who did numerous other junk that probably isn't worth seeing either. Evident are a lack of story, character study or anything that resembles "action", instead, one dumb scene is added to the next.
The editing is incongruent, many scenes looked as if they were filmed in the same "jungle location" or a mediocre studio. Loud music and dumb 'moments' signal the start of the supposed action, such as a man falling into a river and showing stock footage of crocs going into the water, not very exciting. There was a stupid Fulci scene in where a man is "torn" to pieces by small crabs in one of the most absurd scenes ever. The acting is atrocious from the minor leads, who can't even speak English very well, and it ruins their credulity. Donald Pleasence, who is also normally very good, was terrible here. There is nothing to motivate the audience, this is entirely dull and a complete waste.
on October 12, 2011
Wow: What a Movie> Headhunters ,Maneating spiders. Sexy half naked Amazon women. A real treat. The action never lets up> All the actors are past their prime but it did not seem to matter> The whole thing is so wonderfully over the top just sit back with a G and T and enjoy. Cant wait to watch it again, Highly reccomended.
on September 20, 2009
One of the posters said "A Lost 80's Gem". They must not have been watching the same movie that I did. To call this a "B" movie is an insult to "B" movies everywhere. The special effects were in no way special. The acting is bad, however you expect that in a "B" movie. Actors are generally learning their craft in this type of movie. Spoiler Alert if their can be for a movie like this. A river of diamonds, give me a break. It does have head hunters choping off heads and the obligatory priana attack(see not so special special effects). One of the actersses does manage to "fall" out of her very skipmy fur top frequently, however if you are expecting much in the way of nudity, skip this video. Come to think of it, just skip it. It's not worth paying the shipping charges to see this movie.