The Lost City Review: Hapless Treasure Hunters Are Seriously Good Fun

lost city

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum star in good old fashioned adventure romance, The Lost City

In The Lost City Sandra Bullock stars as romance novelist Loretta Sage, who despite having had aspirations of being a serious historian now makes a living making hugely successful but unfulfilling Mills and Boon style historical romance novels. Despite her huge following Loretta has become a recluse after the death of her archeologist husband some years previously.

Forced to take part in a book tour by her publicist/best friend Beth (a brilliant Da’Vine Joy Randolph) Loretta storms out of a press conference and is promptly kidnapped by nefarious billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) who after reading her latest book has become convinced Loretta can help him find an ancient lost treasure. Despite her protestations that she just writes trashy romance novels Loretta is carted off to a tropical island to translate a mysterious treasure map. Meanwhile, her cute but dumb cover model Alan (a Fabio-esque Channing Tatum) is in hot pursuit trying to rescue her and prove he is more than just a pretty face.

Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum star in The Lost City
Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum in The Lost City. Copyright Paramount Pictures

The Lost City marks a return of a favourite genre of the 80s and 90s that has been neglected in recent years – the over-the-top adventure romantic comedy. A proper Saturday night popcorn flick, comparisons to Romancing the Stone are obvious and whilst it may not hold a candle to the OG and the best, Indiana Jones, there’s an awful lot here to enjoy.

Bullock and Tatum have great chemistry and as we learned with the 21 Jump Street movies a few years ago, Channing Tatum is a fantastic comic actor (seriously, he was wasted spending all those years on pointless action movies.) Bawdy at times but not outright gross, there are many genuinely laugh out loud moments in this film (a certain scene involving leeches springs to mind) and watching it in a packed out screening the room was frequently riotously joyful.

Daniel Radcliffe has clearly been having the time of his life settling into post-Potter oddball roles in recent years from Swiss Army Man to Guns Akimbo. His eccentric billionaire is not quite on that spectrum of weird, but manages to be everything you’d expect from an old school Hollywood villain in the millennial age, and he’s hamming it up to the max. There’s also an utterly fantastic, entire movie stealing cameo from the one and only Brad Pitt. I won’t say anything more for fear of spoilers, but trust that it was all my friends and colleagues could talk about as the credits rolled.

Daniel Radcliffe is Abigail in The Lost City
Daniel Radcliffe in The Lost City. Copyright Paramount Pictures

Lost treasure, shootouts, car chases, a wisecracking damsel in distress kicking arse, there’s really an awful lot to like about The Lost City and a couple of clever subversions of classic tropes keep it feeling modern and fresh whilst not losing that old school exotic adventure appeal. Its only fault is in the final act when it tries a little too hard to insert some genuine emotional feeling into the romantic subplot.

After 2 hours of it being a ridiculous but fun action movie the sudden swerve into trying to make its audience feel feelings was a bit of a hard sell and honestly unnecessary. Nevertheless, this is still a decent action comedy with some genuinely great performances at its heart.

The Lost City attempts to dig up a much-loved relic from the past – the ridiculous and over the top romantic adventure films of the 1980s. Whilst it falters in places The Lost City is packed full of genuine laugh out loud moments and THAT Brad Pitt cameo will have audiences grinning from ear to ear. See it on a Saturday night with your friends and a big bucket of popcorn and you can’t go far wrong.

The Lost City is out in UK cinemas on 13th April

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