I saw 'Romancing the Stone' when I was a young one and like most boys I was taken with the adventurous nature of the story. I recently revisited the film and found myself still enjoying it even in my old cynical shell.
Kathleen Turner plays a pulp romance novelist who travels to South America to free her sister from a kidnappers. The abductors demand that Kathleen provide them with a treasure map as ransom. Things go wrong for her right off the bat as her bus breaks down. Cue the scruffy loner hero/love interest Michael Douglas who agrees to escort her through the jungle and later to find her sister. Gunfire, a treasure hunt, and love making ensue.
It's not high brow cinema by any means, but 'Romancing the Stone' does deliver a solid action adventure. It has all the elements one can expect from something of this genre. Over-the-top, almost cartoonish, villains and sidekicks alike provide most of the comic relief as the leads display a fair amount of chemistry. Similar films are full of cliches, but it's refreshing to see this one rise above most them and give the audiences a convincing romance, funny characters, and action that is relatively believable.
Given the box office success of 'Romancing the Stone' the producers decided it would be a great idea to make the abysmal sequel 'Jewel of the Nile'. I don't have to tell you Hollywood is not above making poor quality sequels, but it's surprising given how much the first film got everything audiences want in an action film right. You would think that they could carry the charm of the first film into the second, but as George Lucas taught us that's not always necessary to make a hit.
This film is not 'Raiders of the Lost Ark', although one could argue the acting is better, but it's sense of fun is similar. Sometimes you need a mindless escape for your movie watching needs and this one is surprisingly above par. Given the genre is so packed with so many ridiculous films 'Romancing the Stone' does the seemingly impossible task of not insulting your intelligence while you pick popcorn out of your teeth.
"Stone hit a nerve with both feminists (riding the high point of that movement's wave) and movie fans simply looking for a good time. Its combination of romance and adventure (and a bit of comedy) was spot-on, and few films that have arrived since have captured Stone's enthusiasm and good-naturedness." - Christopher Null