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capsule : combine one quart of raiders of the lost ark , a dash of a jackie chan movie ( sans jackie ) , two teaspoons of gun- and swordplay , and a dollop of cgi .
simmer for 100 minutes .
yields : zilch .
the phantom is a depressing and tired retread of so many earlier , better movies that after the fifteen-minute mark i started cataloguing them out loud .
it's hard to make a good action-adventure movie that doesn't simply recycle its predecessors , and i've seen movies that even at least did the recycling gracefully .
the phantom , allegedly based on the long-running comic of the same name , doesn't even bother to be graceful .
it's a stupid and incompetent movie in too many ways to list , but i'll try .
the film opens up with a " prelude " sequence that looks like it was slashed to ribbons in the editing and then given a heavy voice-over to compensate for whatever got thrown out .
we go from there to a jungle sequence that , i swear to god , recycles the truck-chase scene from raiders of the lost ark note-for-note , possibly even shot-for-shot , right down to the moment where indy wrenched open the door and slung one of the drivers out into the brush -- and then goes on to rip off the rope-bridge scene from " sorcerer " as well !
sorcerer , as you may well remember , was a remake of a french movie , the wages of fear , in which a bunch of lowlifes were paid piles of money to drive a truck loaded with nitro through horrible jungle terrain .
both versions of that movie were far more interesting than this flick , but i've got my job to do , so back to the salt mines we go .
anyway , the cinematic theft doesn't stop there .
or at least the lack of inspiration .
there isn't a single thing here we haven't seen , and it's not given to us in a way that remotely evokes our interest .
we have ( where's my list ? )
a bad girl , a tough good girl , a secret cave hideaway ( which seems inspired more by dr .
no than anything else ) , a boardroom meeting that drips with greed and venality , magical artifacts of terrible power , and cary-hiroyuki tagawa wasted in another stupid role where he gets to wear a fu manchu mustache and sneer a lot and generally humiliate himself .
what else is there ?
the plot is a waste of time .
the sets alternate between big but hokey -- and tiny and still hokey .
there are lines in the script that are just begging to be mst3ked -- and i'm sure once mike and the 'bots get the cash , they'll stick it on their sked .
the only thing in the movie worth noting is billy zane -- he's a good actor , and he tries very hard , even when the script is sending him down one dead alley of a scene after another .
all i can say is that i pray this isn't the beginning of the end for him -- although it sure looks like the final nail in the coffin for the comic-book super-hero movie .