Unstable Territory: Our Review of ‘The Lost City’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - March 30, 2022
Unstable Territory: Our Review of ‘The Lost City’

That jewel of romance is sometimes harder than getting blood from a stone you just pulled from the nile…

In theatres now, The Lost City tries its best to gin up some romance and action but only does a half-hearted job as no one is really invested in anything other than the 8 weeks they spent shooting in some tropical local.

Brilliant, but reclusive author Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) has spent her career writing about exotic places in her popular romance-adventure novels featuring handsome cover model Alan (Channing Tatum), who has dedicated his life to embodying the hero character, “Dash.” While on tour promoting her new book with Alan, Loretta is kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) who hopes that she can lead him to the ancient lost city’s treasure from her latest story. Wanting to prove that he can be a hero in real life and not just on the pages of her books, Alan sets off to rescue her. Thrust into an epic jungle adventure, the unlikely pair will need to work together to survive the elements and find the ancient treasure before it’s lost forever.

With four screenwriter credits, one story credit and two director credits, there are just too many cooks in the kitchen on The Lost City.  As it borrows from a myriad of films that have come before it, the action really doesn’t feel like it has any stakes, the writing and the chemistry between the leads isn’t great and it felt like Bullock (who also serves as a producer here) was just trying to engineer herself a working tropical vacation on the studios dime (see Vince Vaughn in Couples Retreat).

To be fair, you can at least tell that everyone on this shoot is actually ‘trying’ to make an entertaining film as it all looks pretty good and has a genuine flow about it.  The directing team of Aaron and Adam Nee don’t feel out of their depths trying to tell this story which does have some fun moments but never really evokes any kind of genuine emotion.

As you’re watching this film, you’ll smile, or think to yourself something was cute or funny but you’ll never really generate a genuine reaction as you watch it.  It all feels very cookie cutter and safe, which I’ll admit it’s designed to be, but other than the one big name cameo that has already been spoiled this film felt very rounded off at the edges as it tried not to veer too much one way or the other.

The casting of it all was fine as Sandra Bullock is undoubtedly the queen of the rom-com but there’s nothing in the material that ever really commits to….let’s be honest…anything.  She’s a likeable curmudgeon and as she warms up to Channing’s hunky goof vibe, we get it but we just don’t care as she walks around the jungle in a glittery jump suit and removes leaches from Tatum’s bare ass which gets an obvious reaction from the crowd.

Even Daniel Radcliffe as our over the top billionaire bad guy explorer is chewing the scenery at a PG level at best and the rest of the ensemble barely gets to register any kind of fun moments.

Ultimately, The Lost City isn’t necessarily a bad movie; the problem is it isn’t a very good one either.  It’s the kind of thing you fire up on Paramount Plus (which will undoubtedly come pretty soon) while you are dusting around the house…it’s not something you need to run to the theatres for.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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