Sandra Bullock – Channing Tatum starrer might not be a classic treasure-hunting caper, but their screwball chemistry is spot on!
In a world of romantic comedies where the older man falls for the younger woman, be like The Lost City where Sandra Bullock plays the protagonist, and Channing Tatum is the ‘damsel in distress’, in his character’s own words. It might remind the audience of many films that revolved around treasure-hunting including the Indiana Jones franchise, Romancing the Stone and its sequel The Jewel of the Nile, the Lara Croft series and reboot, or the many versions of King Solomon’s Mines, but the new and fresh take makes The Lost City stand out on its own.
Directed by the Nee Brothers Aaron and Adam (co-written with Oren Uziel and Dana Fox), it is based on a Seth Gordon story that isn’t out of this world, yet is interesting enough to keep the audience involved. It revolves around the life of a struggling romantic novelist Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) who wants to kill her most famous character Dash McMohan (Channing Tatum) so that she doesn’t have to write another book. However, the guy playing Dash on the cover of her books Alan Caprison wants to prove to Loretta that he is not a dimwit and can be as dashing as his other persona if the need arises.
As luck (or bad luck) would have it, eccentric billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) kidnaps Loretta because he believes that only she can read a dead language that would help him find the ‘Crown of Fire’ in the lost city of D. Alan, with the help of his ex-Navy Seal acquaintance Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt) rescue Loretta but when she steals an important piece of the treasure map from Fairfax’s table, things go sideways. Do they manage to escape from the inescapable island, do they find the treasure, and does Loretta get enough ideas to continue her writing career? Watch the film to find out.
Despite being released within a year of The Jungle Cruise and The Uncharted, which follow the same concept, in The Lost City, the heroine is the leading man, and the muscular eye candy is the tag along. Despite being the one who was rescued, Sandra Bullock’s character carries the film on her shoulders, while Channing Tatum supports her every step of the way. In a film devoid of needless special effects and over-the-top action sequences, their chemistry is what brings both smiles and shock to the audience’s faces.
While Sandra Bullock’s Loretta is the ‘Indiana Jones’ here, Channing Tatum’s Allan is the one who accompanies her as the sidekick, delivering low-damage slaps to henchmen, emoting shock and surprise when they are required and trying to act smart despite not being the smartest person in the jungle. While she takes her fans back to the Miss Congeniality zone, he takes them back into the days of 21 Jump Street. Together, they are a force to reckon with against their pursuers who might have the firepower, but lack the intelligence and muscles, like their targets.
The script is so quick-paced that you don’t have time to recover from the jokes that are delivered on the screen. While you are still unable to relax from the ‘mummies are humans’ comment, there comes the question ‘why are you so handsome?’, and the reply ‘my father was a weatherman.’ The film is full of such moments where you feel the jokes, instead of viewing them, and when you think that everything will be back to normal, you come across something that upstages everything else.
Predictability is the film’s weakest part, but it always is when there is a treasure hunt involved. However, instead of Channing Tatum saving Sandra Bullock’s character, it’s the other way round where the audience cheers for the female character because they know that the male character might not be able to pull it off. Also, the audience is able to connect with the Loretta character more because of her onscreen husband’s death, but since that angle isn’t explored after the first few minutes, it does leave the audience with many questions.
Channing Tatum plays the sidekick to perfection, and had it been a film back in the 1980s, Alan would have easily been Alice, since he is bad at driving, inept at swimming, allergic to water, and very bad at fighting. In fact, the film’s only off-camera nude scene features him without clothes, with the ‘hero’ Loretta plucking the blood-sucking leeches away from his body. The film sort of brings Sandra Bullock’s career to a full circle – her stardom began from being an action hero girlfriend in Speed and reaches the top as the ‘action hero’ in The Lost City where she is ‘the man’.
The supporting cast is not bad as well, considering that the ever-young Daniel Radcliffe (the Harry Potter) tries to do everything to claim the treasure while Da’Vine Joy Randolph (Detective Williams from Only Murders in the Building) just wants to get on with her publisher’s role, even if it meant crossing the Atlantic Ocean. If the film succeeds (and it seems it will succeed), then the makers could think about a sequel, or sequels, where they can explain the circumstances behind Loretta Sage’s husband’s death, and have an evolved Alan partner her on another ‘dashing’ adventure.
On one hand, there is an actress who will turn 58 later this year, while on the other there is an actor who hasn’t yet celebrated his 42nd birthday. Together, they are nothing less than a powerhouse who could hold a movie on their own and give superhero flicks like The Batman a run for their money. You might have seen a similar plot or experienced similar situations as a viewer before, but not like it was shown in The Lost City. After all, you don’t see movies where the guy is sexier than the girl, but still not in the driving seat because the other person is the smarter one.