Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) was a trumped up affair with the usual hype associated with an Indiana Jones blockbuster (the two before it were Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Raiders of the Lost Ark).
Last Crusade did very well at the box office although it’s not director Steven Spielberg at his finest. It’s still a well-made entertainment, and what it lacks in a vivid imagination, makes up for it in spiritual verve.
The premise is a kind of exciting one, as it is the search for the Holy Grail, the cup that Jesus Christ used at the supper before he was crucified. A legend was born that the cup passed through into medieval hands and was entrusted to a Knight.
This is the cup that some despicable (at least on mere appearances) Nazi’s are wanting to find as it promises the beholder eternal life. They enlist the part-time archaeology professor and procurer of rare antiquities Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), unknown to Jones that they are Nazi’s. This is when the fun begins.
Sean Connery makes a welcome appearance as Indiana Jones’ father, Henry Jones, whose also inadvertently caught up in the Nazi scheme.
Connery’s performance is amusing, with a dash of distinction, an awkward older man of history and letters, who is still fathering his son. The father-son relationship is interwoven in its highs and lows, and Connery and Ford have good onscreen chemistry.
Jones Snr and Jones Jr are the best part of the acting and characterization; the rest pale in comparison. Even the villain is a bit lightweight and Allison Doody as the ‘female interest’ (in a male dominated cast) is a little one dimensional although all are immensely watchable. Unfortunately, the action is scaled down, but it makes its presence felt.
It’s great to ‘feel’ the Christian themes come to the fore as the final act settles in, themes of penitence, the identity of God, faith and trust in God, Christ’s healing power, and everlasting life, a nice way to cap off an entertaining two hours.
3 1/2 out of 5 stars