If you are looking for a fun, swashbuckling adventure with a good mix of supernatural, treasure hunting and comedy, then you could do a lot worse than Jungle Cruise. Its a film that knows what it is and what it is trying to be and does so unashamedly, resulting in an entertaining movie albeit one that you have seen many times before (and better).
Based on a Disney ride, this is a film which takes place primarily on a rickety boat on the Amazon river. The story brings together Emily Blunts courageous explorer, her timid brother, played by British comedian Jack Whitehall, and the chancer captain, Dwayne Johnson. They are searching for an ancient tree MacGuffin which really just serves as an excuse for Blunt and Johnson to bicker while the river quite literally takes them from one adventure set-piece to another.
This isn’t a complaint though. These set-pieces are very well put together and previous films have proven that both Johnson and Blunt have the skills to pull off action, be it chases through tree-tops, fights with locals or the supernatural finale. Add to this the fact that Johnson and Blunt have great chemistry. You struggle to find anyone that doesn’t work well alongside Johnson and Blunt is another example of how well the comedic, buddy comedy aspects work. Even Jack Whitehall, not necessarily known for his action and dramatic skills, manages to impress here and holds his own alongside the Hollywood heavyweights.
It is a very good adventure story but ultimately offers nothing that Indiana Jones or The Mummy hasn’t already done. In that spirit, its a worthy addition to the genre and as the finale emerges, you realise that it is also taking some story and tonal beats from The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise too, which is no surprise considering the films are spiritual cousins.
Overall, Jungle Cruise is fun, entertaining and offers a good adventure story. The cast is good, with Johnson and Blunt delivering great chemistry which makes this very watchable. The action and set-pieces work very well but you never quite feel like this offering anything new or coming close to the classics like Indiana Jones.
Rating – 3.5
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