Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Original Title: El tesoro del Amazonas
Year: 1985
Director: René Cardona Jr.
Writer: René Cardona Jr., Jacques Wilson
IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090200/
Genre: Adventure

An action adventure about a group of fortune hunters who search for gold and jewels in the jungles of South America.

This is the Cardona film I have been waiting for! I've sludged through a few days to finally get to a fun yet exploitative film that will leave me with a good taste in my mouth as I move on to the greener pastures of Mexican horror to close out my theme month.

Take Indiana Jones and throw in a surly drunk, profanity, tits, blood and gore, and you have The Treasure of the Amazon. It's not a great film, and suffers a little from Cardona's talkative down times, but this one is worth the time most definitely.

Stuart Whitman plays the aforementioned surly drunk, Gringo, a man who has spent years in the jungle looking for treasures that may or may not even exist. He's chubby and fuzzy and just funny with his typical over-the-top delivery. He seems like he would be a grouch in real life as well.

Here is is pictured with a lovely boom mic.

His partners in crime are Paco and Zapato, played by Emilio Fernández and Pedro Armendáriz Jr., are kind of forgettable characters I thought. They don't stand out as particularly bad, so that's good, yeah? You may remember Pedro Armendáriz Jr. as the abandoned husband from Guns & Guts that I previously reviewed.

Another character of note here is the "leading lady" Barbara (Ann Sydney) who is British, but does a hideous southern accent throughout the film. She is really there only to serve as the standard exploitation lady. You know, eye candy/individual needing protection/target of rapist/etc. Cardona does his damnedest to cram in every female genre stereotype all in one petite package!

Donald Pleasance also makes an appearance here as an old Nazi named Klaus von Blantz who is also on the hunt for treasure. I'm not sure of the point of this character except to try to cash into the Indiana Jones bank that was huge at the time, and to provide more excuses for Cardona to show natives getting killed and Klaus' hot native and TOPLESS assistant. Hooray boobies! His story ties in somewhat to Gringo and his group, but they wander apart and Klaus becomes rather pointless outside of shocking moments by the end of the film.

Yep, I'm showing boobs over Nazi face.

While overly long still (almost 2 hours), I thought Cardona brought a much more entertaining story here than in the previous films I have reviewed. Particularly with Stuart Whitman, I even had fun with the down scenes loaded with dialogue. As soon as you felt like it may be getting a bit boring, we'd get one of the awesome FAST ZOOM into someone's face to note surprise or something to that effect. Even little touches like this had me laughing in the film.

The previous films I reviewed could be absolutely brutal in their pacing while you waited for that exploitative moment. Cardona did a much better job here in not saving that one big bang for the end and having us suffer for the rest... it's all spaced out well.

Honestly it probably could have been cut by 30 minutes, but it's possible then we may have not been treated to all the fun beheadings, gunshots, native attacks out of nowhere, and a fucking CRAB ATTACK. I swear it looked better than the spider attack in Fulci's The Beyond! (but that's not really saying much, is it?)


The story is straightforward (I feel like I have said that a dozen times this month on these reviews), if a bit amateur in its structure. You will see most of it coming a mile away. But I was able to forgive the shortcomings since it was a good time. I didn't find myself really nit-picking. It is what it is. Finally all the little parts made the whole better! That's all I really ask of these films.

This film was a lot of fun for me. Maybe it was because I had gone through some rough films in Cardona's huge catalog of work, but this one lightened the mood and helped me feel a bit better. It's got a nasty side, but much of The Treasure of the Amazon is tongue in cheek exploitation that comes from a better place I think.

And fucking Stiglitz shows up again. I swear, would that guy say no to anything? Hilarious!

Good job, boat captain!

It's totally cashing in on the Indiana Jones and early-80s jungle movie fad (Romancing the Stone!), it's probably overly bloody and breast-filled, but it I liked it for what it was.

Recommended for those looking to lighten up their Mexploitation education.

Score: 6.25 / 10

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