Review: CITY OF GOLD (2016)

City of Gold - Key Art

IMDB lists CITY OF GOLD as a 2016 film, but under trivia says that it was shot in sixteen days back in 2014. And now, after a festival showing or two in 2016 it’s seeing release from High Octane Pictures. Was it worth taking of the shelf?

Jon Davenport (Robbie Allen) has been estranged from his wealthy father Richard (Christopher Atkins THE BLUE LAGOON, THE 13th CHILD) since the death of his mother. However, when dad shoots himself while leaving him a voicemail, (Jon was too busy being whipped bloody by a dominatrix to take the call), he’s shattered.

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Judged mentally unfit to run the family company he makes the logical next move and hooks back up with ex-girlfriend Elisabeth (Riley Dandy) and joins her on an expedition to Peru. Attempting to locate an artist living deep in rebel held territory turns into a quest to find El Dorado, the lost city of gold. Of course, he’ll have to deal with the demonic powers that guard it and the legacy of The Inquisitor (Vernon Wells CROSSBREED, LILITH)

CITY OF GOLD tries to be a microbudget TOMB RAIDER or RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. After so many attempts over the years, filmmakers should have realized it just isn’t possible. Even Cannon had to up its budgets for films like KING SOLOMON’S MINES and FIREWALKER. The film uses animation to depict larger-scale historical action scenes and that works about as well as it sounds. Smaller-scale flashbacks are done with what looks like Halloween store costumes. The modern day action scenes are distinctly lackluster and dull as well. Even a character getting hacked to death with a machete is done off-screen to save the cost of effects.

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The script by Ronald A. Blum is long on talk and short on action and imagination. If it had even managed to channel some of the over the top ideas of the Italian RAIDERS rip off it might have worked as cheesy fun. But stale reincarnation tropes and flat direction from Harry Locke IV doom it in the end. It all ends with the set up for a sequel, but I can’t see anyone wanting more of this.

CITY OF GOLD will be available on VOD 12/04/18 and on DVD 1/1/19 from High Octane Pictures.

Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy

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