Story

This movie is set in 1935, one year before the events in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is wheeling and dealing in a Hong Kong nightclub with a Chinese gangster named Lao Che (Roy Chiao). Things don’t go as planned and Indiana finds himself on the run with nightclub singer Wilhelmina ‘Willie’ Scott (Kate Capshaw) and a young boy named Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan). The three of them escape by boarding a plane headed out of Hong Kong.

Things get worse when the plane runs out of fuel and they’re forced to bail out somewhere over the Himalayas. They end up in a poor village in British India. From the village elder, they learn about the village’s sacred Sankara Stone, a magical stone that ensures the village’s wellbeing and prosperity. It’s been stolen by men from Pankot Palace, along with all of the village’s children.

Inspired by the desire for fame and fortune, Indiana agrees to go to Pankot Palace and recover the village’s sacred stone and lost children. This leads him to the Temple of Doom.

Themes

Cults and rituals; human sacrifice; child slavery and mistreatment

Violence

This movie contains intense action violence. Most of it is completely over the top and unrealistic, and some of it is done by young boys. The movie’s heroes don’t often get hurt. Although some of the violence is slapstick, the movie does have some graphic images of brutal violence that includes blood and gore. For example:

  • A man gets shot in the chest during a nightclub fight between Chinese gangsters and Indiana. At first, we only hear the gunshot, but then a wet patch of blood appears on the front of the man’s shirt and he collapses. Indiana picks up two flaming shish kebabs and hurls them at one of the gangsters, spearing him in the chest. Indiana punches men in the face and punches a woman in the face by accident. Men throw daggers at Indiana, and a man fires a machinegun at him.
  • Short Round drives a car recklessly through Hong Kong’s crowded city streets with Indiana and Willie as passengers. They’re trying to outrun gangsters who are chasing them and firing guns. The car knocks down shop stalls. Indiana shoots one of the gangsters in the head.
  • Indiana and Short Round are trapped in an underground stone room littered with skeletal remains. A lever accidentally activated causes the room’s stone ceiling to lower slowly. Steel spikes come up from both the ceiling and floor. Numerous human skulls are stuck on the spikes. Just before Indiana and Short Round get stuck on the spikes, they activate a second lever, which causes the ceiling to be raised.
  • Indiana and Short Round are tied to poles and whipped. A bloody cut is left on Indiana’s shirted back.
  • There’s a brutal fight between Indiana and a huge slavemaster. The men punch and kick each other’s head and body. They eventually end up on a conveyer belt, and the slavemaster is dragged screaming into a rock crusher. The scene shows the stone rollers covered with his blood.
  • A young boy stabs Short Round in the shoulder with a dagger. Short Round repeatedly punches the boy in the face. There’s a quick image of blood running down the side of the boy’s mouth. Short Round pushes a flaming torch into the young boy’s chest and the boy screams in pain.
  • Short Round uses martial arts moves to hit and kick several men.
  • Several men fall from a wooden rope bridge into crocodile-infested waters. They’re attacked and eaten by the crocodiles. The crocodiles roll around with the remains of the men’s clothing.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that are likely to scare or disturb children under eight. For example:

  • A large stone statue that represents an evil god has several rotting human fingers tied to it and splashes of fresh blood.
  • During a banquet at Pankot Palace, a large python snake coiled on a serving tray is placed on the table. A servant slices the snake open and dozens of baby snakes slither out and wriggle onto the table. The banquet also includes giant bugs, soup with large eyeballs, and monkey heads from which the brains are eaten.
  • In one scene, the ground is completely covered by large crawling insects. Giant insects crawl all over Willie, and a giant centipede crawls under her hair. There’s also a pile of wriggling maggots.
  • Short Round touches a wooden door. It seems to explode outwards and shows two ancient corpses dangling from chains.
  • The priest Mola Ram has a disturbing appearance. He wears a headdress that has animal horns protruding from the sides and a shrunken human head in the centre.
  • In a gruesome and disturbing human sacrifice, a man is strapped to an iron bed. Mola Ram uses supernatural powers to push his hand into the man’s chest. He pulls out the man’s beating heart and holds it up in the air. The bloody wound in the man’s chest immediately closes up, and the man doesn’t seem to be hurt. The man is lowered into a pit of burning lava, and there’s a brief image of him screaming as he’s engulfed by flames and burned alive.
  • A young boy carries a severed head to a man who’s tied up. The head has an open mouth and a protruding tongue. The head is raised to the man’s mouth. Blood pours out of the head’s mouth and into the man’s mouth. The man convulses violently after swallowing the blood.
  • Dozens of very skinny and hungry young children are chained up as slaves. Scary-looking men whip them. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the violent and disturbing scenes mentioned above.

Over 13

Children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the violent and disturbing scenes mentioned above. 

Sexual references

This movie contains some sexual references. For example:

  • After Indiana finds a vial of poison antidote that’s been hidden in a woman’s cleavage, the woman says, ‘Listen I just met you … I’m not that sort of woman’. A young boy watching says, ‘Hey, Dr Jones, no time for love’.
  • A man talks about a country’s ruler threatening to cut off Indiana’s head. Indiana makes a very subtle gesture suggesting it was his genitals that the ruler wanted to cut off.
  • Indiana asks a woman if she wears her jewels to bed. The woman says, ‘Yeah and nothing else’.
  • Indiana tells a woman about researching nocturnal activities, mating customs and rituals, which he calls ‘primitive sexual practices’. The woman asks Indiana if he’s an authority in that area. He replies, ‘Years of field work’.
  • Indiana puts his hands over the breasts of a stone statue. A woman watching Indiana puts her hands over her own breasts and says in a frustrated tone of voice, ‘Hey, I’m right here’. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example:

  • In the nightclub scene, glasses and bottles of champagne sit on tables. People open several bottles of champagne.
  • Indiana drinks a glass of poisoned champagne. 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie contains some partial nudity and occasional sexual activity. For example:

  • Female dancers wear plunging necklines, short skirts, shorts and bare midriffs.
  • Indiana Jones plunges his hand down the front of a woman’s dress to get a vial of poison antidote hidden in her cleavage.
  • Indiana and a woman kiss passionately. 

Product placement

None of concern 

Coarse language

This movie contains occasional mild coarse language and name-calling.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the second movie in the Indiana Jones series. It’s not as good as the first, Raiders of the Lost Ark. The movie’s story is a bit hard to follow and the movie relies heavily on shock factors, spectacular stunts and chase scenes to entertain. It includes many violent scenes and gruesome images that could disturb children and younger teenagers.

The main message from the movie is that chasing after fame and fortune is a dangerous business.

You could talk with your children about the movie’s stereotypical portrayal of women as useless and weak people who need constant looking after and get in the way at the wrong times.

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