King Solomon's Mines (1985)

Movie review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
King Solomon's Mines (1985) Movie Poster Image
Adventure spoof features relentless fighting and explosions.
  • PG-13
  • 1985
  • 100 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

King Solomon's Mines offers positive messages about honesty, integrity, and following through on one's commitments.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most characters are simplistically drawn as good or bad. Some adults are heroic and loyal and aim to save those close to them, but many are motivated by greed or relish violence.

Violence

From the opening scene to the end credits, the movie features nearly nonstop, sustained violence. Though most of it is quite cartoonish and only a handful of instances involve bloodshed, its relentless presence is a defining feature. A man is impaled on a set of spikes, and blood drips from his mouth. Multiple scenes involve punching, kicking, and fighting or people falling from trains, or into traps, or down caves. There are numerous explosions, guns fired, and knives pulled on other people. People are shot at, slapped about, and dragged from trains. Planes crash, and men are thrown into lava, drowned, or buried alive. An alligator eats two people, but only the animal shredding the clothing is shown.

Sex

A man holding two people hostage jokes that he can have sex with either the man or the woman. A man and woman kiss a few times briefly, then passionately as the credits roll.

Language

Minor profanity, such as "hell," and insulting or threatening language throughout, such as "fat pig" or threats to torture or "peel off skin inch by inch."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A man smokes a cigar that turns out to be dynamite. A man swigs wine directly from the bottle.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that King Solomon's Mines is one of five remakes of the 1885 novel about exploring as-of-yet-unknown parts of Africa. It clearly spoofs the Indiana Jones franchise that was popular at the time, and as such, it's a nonstop send-up of tribal warfare, colonialism, Nazis, cannibalism, archaeology, and explosions. Though most of the violence leans more toward the cartoonish than the explicit, it's still a relentless gauntlet of guns and knives and occasional bloodshed that's unlikely to appeal to young audiences.

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What's the story?

When Jesse (Sharon Stone) hires Allen Quatermain (Richard Chamberlain) to help rescue her kidnapped father, the task seems straightforward enough. But first they'll have to conquer cannibals, Nazis, tribespeople, and competing explorers looking to locate the mysterious King Solomon mines and its long-rumored fortune.

Is it any good?

All the elements are here for a big, over-the-top action/adventure with a historical angle, but somehow this feature falls flat. The relentless violence and the second-rate imitation of the popular Indiana Jones movies means it has all the action but none of the charm or wit. It takes a certain knowledge of these actors and the works they draw from to appreciate the jokes here, and in between there's just too much of a hodgepodge of the genre to feel it's distinguishing itself in any way. Parents of a certain age may appreciate seeing Sharon Stone in an early, pre-fame role or Richard Chamberlain on the way out, and for those inclined, there is certainly some interesting potential discussion here of colonialism and racism in the "lost world" literary genre in which the original novel trafficed, but there's not much to hook young audiences.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's portrayal of natives in the film. Have you seen other films that portray natives this way? What do you think it says about the protagonist's view of other cultures? Does the film seem to respect the culture it portrays? Why, or why not?

  • How does the film's sustained violence compare to violence in films today? 

  • Can you imagine a film like this being made today? Why, or why not?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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