Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

temple of doom


It’s 1935, and Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is risking his life again. He narrowly escapes a crime boss, Lao Che (Ray Chiao), in Shanghai with his sidekick Shorty (Jonathan KeQuan) and gets the unfortunate task of having to take night club singer Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) with them. They board an airplane but the plane belongs to Lao and when the flight attendants and pilot skydive out of the plane they are in deep trouble. The plane crashes in the Himalayas and the trio escapes alive through Indiana’s enviable skills.

The first village they get to is Mayapore, and the residents are in a very bad way. They believe the poverty and famine that is plaguing them as well as the mysterious disappearance of their children is because their Sivalinga, a sacred stone they had in a shrine, was stolen by the residents of the nearby Pankot palace. They believe Indiana was sent to them by the Hindu god Shiva to retrieve the stone and restore their village. Indiana naturally agrees to look into the matter and hypothesizes that the Sivalinga might be one of the five famous Sankara stones that give fortune and glory.

The trio is welcomed at the Palace by the Pankot Palace Prime Minister ChattarLal (Roshan Seth) and Maharajah Zalim Singh (Raj Singh) who is still a child. They are invited to spend the night at the palace and attend festivities, where Willie passes out when offered some monkey and eyeball soup. Indiana’s enquiry on whether the palace and an ancient Thuggee cult are indeed behind the village’s downward spiral is politely rebuffed.

willy and the monkey

Within a few hours Indiana is attacked by an assassin. He saves himself and discovers underground passage ways, but a bad move by Shorty causes the room to start closing in on them. Eventually Willy frees them after some hysterical screaming. The trio heads further into the tunnels to see what is going on.

They reach an underground temple where the Thuggees are busy worshipping the Hindu goddess Kali through human sacrifice. High Priest Mola Ram (AmrishPuri) is in possession of three of the five Sankara Stones. He is also behind the enslavement of the village children who are now forced to mine for the two other stones. Ram is hoping to rule the world when he has all five stones. Indiana wants to get the three stones but he, Willie and Shorty are caught. Indy is whipped then forced to drink an evil potion that causes him to serve Mola. Willie is kept as sacrifice and Shorty is put to work in the mines. He manages to break free and wakes Indiana up by burning him with a torch. The Maharajah, also under mind control, uses a voodoo doll to stop Indiana. Shorty awakens the Maharajah with the same methods and afterwards the Maharajah points them in the right direction. Mola gets away but Indy and Shorty get the stones, save Willie and free the village kids.

When the trio escapes, they are cornered by Mola and his men on a rope bridge. After giving Shorty and Willy instructions to tie themselves to the bridge, he cuts it and some of the henchmen become crocodile dinner in the river below. Mola tries to overpower Indy but Indiana invokes an incantation to Shiva to punish Mola for abusing power. The stones grow red hot and Mola and two of the stones fall into the river, and Indiana catches the third. The henchmen are caught by members of the British Army.


Indiana, Willie and Shorty return to the village to return the stone. The villagers are very happy because they are becoming prosperous once more, and when the children return the trio are the heroes. Indy and Willie kiss after a short argument and all seems well.

So, after watching and completely enjoying Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, I knew I had to embark on another adventure with Indiana. I went in expecting the same hilarious and adventurous experience that I got from the Lost Ark.

Rating: 6.5/10

I have to say that I didn’t find the Temple of Doom even nearly as entertaining as the Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was very dark, but that would have been fine if I could like the female lead more. Really, Winnie may be one of the worst roles I have ever seen in movies. She was selfish and a brat and entitled and just not anything I could ever like. She had no acts of bravery or kindness and all her attitude was the wrong kind of attitude. Indy should have left her in the club and went on the adventure only with Shorty. I can’t imagine anyone writing her as a female lead because there was nothing fun or good about her.

I liked the costumes and I once again found the portrayal of anything other than American as stupid hilarious (considering how stupid the vast majority of ‘merica really is… sorry guys). Based on all the Hindus I know I have to say that human sacrifice is way at the bottom of their to-do lists. I found it hilariously inaccurate but can see how other people might be offended. I liked the common Nazi enemy element in the first and third movies – they were at that time the worst thing imaginable (and still is) and I think it worked well with Indiana’s quest to get precious artifacts for museums because the Nazi’s are still known for their love to steal precious artifacts.

It was very dark and depressing overall. I’m deducing that the large amount of children in the film were specifically included to get kids to watch them film. Firstly, I don’t like children in movies. They are either used as cheap tricks or to get a younger target audience, and since I am interested in neither I don’t often watch any of it. Kids in slavery and being beaten are definitely not material for children to watch, a woman (although annoying) being slapped and sacrificed, the drinking of demonic blood – I think a lot of depressed people had influence over the script.

If it sounds like I didn’t like the movie, I did, I just didn’t find it on the level of the first – a thing quite common in sequels. I did like the huge adventure taking place, the good old fight scenes, the sometimes ridiculous 80’s acting, Indiana Jones, who was once again very hot and Indy’s character who is so badass and an excellent explorer.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

8 thoughts on “Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)


    This was definitely not as amazing as Raiders, but sheesh! LOL! Awesome review! Winnie was the biggest pain in the ass, I am with you there.

    • Haha I was waiting for what you would say 😀

      It was fine, but you remember how much I LOVED Raiders. This just didn’t get close at all to that level.

      Thanks friend!

      • That just breaks me friend! 😦

        Ah, Raiders was the best, but I am a massive fan of the trilogy… just not the fourth. Don’t do it.

        😀 I can’t wait for Friday!!

  2. Pingback: Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) | Life of this city girl

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