Director: Antonio Margheriti
Script: Giovanni Simonelli
Cast: David Warbeck, John Steiner, Susie Sudlow, Liciano Pigozzi, Ricardo Palacios
Running time: 98 minutes
Year: 1984
Certificate: 12

88 Films continue to add to their impressive Italian film collection with this lesser known Indiana Jones rip-off directed by all round polymath Antonio Margheriti, who it seems could pretty much turn his hand to most film genres, including action adventure yarns such as this mid-eighties oddity.

Cult film favourite, David Warbeck, plays Rick Spear, a master cracksman, who can break into any safe, anywhere in the world, which leads him to being hired to help find the fabled burial chamber of King Gilgamesh and retrieve the expected valuables that lie within its confines. However, he’s not the only person looking for this particular batch of ancient loot and his competition will stop at nothing to possess it themselves.

The adventure kicks off in Istanbul, Turkey, in the penthouse suite of a high class hotel, where our hero busts some moves with his badly dubbed girlfriend, before heading out to a marketplace to meet his contact, but instead of a peaceful chat he’s attacked by an assassin with a strangulation device. Obviously, the assassination attempt fails, otherwise we wouldn’t have a movie, and Rick ends up breaking into a mansion using a zip-line, but soon realises he’s been set up and it’s a test of his skills, prior to him being offered the Gilgamesh job.

Once on his mission proper, Spear finds a tablet which proves the tomb actually exists, his girlfriend is kidnapped and he’s followed and set upon by members of a cult that protects the tomb, namely the Demons of Gilgamesh, who all have an eye symbol tattooed into their hands.

The film’s Indy credentials are emphasised by Spear picking up an over-weight Turkish side-kick, a number of chases, our hero being attacked by rats and almost ending up dying horribly in a pit of snakes.

The Ark of the Sun God makes good use of some interesting locations and is nicely shot by Sandro Mancori, although much of the film’s score sounds like it belongs to a different movie! There’s a cool Gilgamesh tomb set, which is destroyed come the final act, but some of the other effects, such as car chases, are poorly done; in fact one such chase involves Dinky toys filling in for the real cars!

However, the film is rarely dull, moves along at a brisk pace and is entertaining despite, and because of, its shortfalls. And after seeing Warbeck in yet another adventure yarn I can’t help but think that he’d have made a decent James Bond back in the day.

Ark of the Sun God is being distributed by 88 Films on Blu-ray. There are some substantial extras included in the package, namely:

Audio commentary with Italian genre film experts Eugenio Ercolani and Troy Howarth – They reminds us that director Antonio Margheriti and David Warbeck had previously worked together on The Last Hunter, which also shares some of the same cast and crew. Their last collaboration was on Treasure Island in Space. Ark of the Sun God is a kind of sequel to the Hunters of the Golden Cobra, although this is more of a family film than its predecessor. Apparently Antonio Margheriti was Warbeck’s favourite Italian film director.

Assembling the Ark (22 mins) – An interview with Alberto Moriani and Edoardo Margheriti. Moriani talks about the editing process and how Margheriti was a good editor himself, but would tear the film up with his bare hands!

Sketches and credits (17.50 mins) – An interview with Massimo Antonello Geleng, who worked on Contamination and did drawings for the movie Monster Dog.

Reversible sleeve featuring the original Italian film poster

Ark of the Sun God
Justin Richards reviews 88 Films release of Antonio Margheriti's 'Ark of the Sun God'.
3.5Overall Score
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About The Author

After a lengthy stint as a print journalist, Justin now works as a TV and film producer for Bazooka Bunny. He's always been interested in genre films and TV and has continued to work in that area in his new day-job. His written work has appeared in the darker recesses of the internet and in various niche publications, including ITNOW, The Darkside, Is it Uncut?, Impact and Deranged. When he’s not running around on set, or sat hunched over a sticky, crumb-laden keyboard, he’s paying good money to have people in pyjamas try and kick him repeatedly in the face.

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