CANNON MONTH 2: Jungle Raiders (1985)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jungle Raiders was not produced by Cannon but was theatrically distributed by Cannon Releasing Corporation.

Cannon released several Italian films that they didn’t have a hand in making, like this one, directed by Antonio Margheriti (Cannibal ApocalypseAnd God Said to CainYor Hunter from the Future) and written by Giovanni Simonelli (John Travolto da un insolito destinoThe Crimes of the Black Cat).

Duke “Captain Yankee” Howard (Christopher Connelly) and Gin Fizz (Luciano Pigozzi) sell fake jungle adventure dreams to rich foreigners who want a story to brag about when they get back home. But one day, U.S. government man Warren (Lee Van Cleef) tells them that he’ll expose their scan if they don’t guide museum curator Lansky (Mike Monty) and Maria (Marina Costa, who is also in The Final Executioner, another Italian movie that Cannon released; she has Carolynn De Fonseca’s voice) and find the Ruby of Doom. Or Gloom. Sometimes both. To get it, they’ll have to fight some river pirates, led by Tiger (Protacio Dee). Luckily, Captain Yankee has a child in his crew that has a near-psychic rapport with a deadly cobra, which is something you don’t see in many Raiders redux movies.

So yes, this might be Raiders of the Lost Ark, but so are two other movies Margheriti made, Ark of the Sun God and Hunters of the Golden Cobra. Video store shelves were starving for more treasure hunting rogues and he was the man to film these ripoffs, remixes and remakes.

Also: the use of miniatures and action figures to get big explosions in this movie is utterly charming. If you’re the kind of person that finds that cheap and off-putting, perhaps stop watching Italian 80s exploitation movies now. Or never start.

PS: The snake even gets a love interest.

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