AKA: Riddles of the Sphinx
Country: UK | Canada
Director: George Mendeluk
Starring: Dina Meyer | Lochlyn Munro | Mackenzie Gray | Donnelly Rhodes | Emily Tennant | Dario Delacio
Writers: Brook Durham | Kevin Leeson
Music: Michael Richard Plowman
The front cover for The Curse of the Sphinx DVD features the Sphinx coming angrily to life, a skeletal mummy dragging itself out of the earth, and a bi-plane fleeing from an explosion. The back cover has a lightning bolt – possibly the power of God – striking the top of a pyramid. Unfortunately none of these cliches are in the movie. However, another set of adventure movie cliches are present in their stead.
The movie begins with Thomas (Donnelly Rhodes), an aged archaeologist, discovering two parts of a key that will open a legendary secret chamber beneath the Sphinx, which houses the lost library of Alexandria. Accompanying him to the site is Jessica (Dina Meyer), who is armed and outfitted very much like Lara Croft from Tomb Raider. Thomas inserts the key and opens the chamber, however, a Sphinx – that is a head of a demon, body of a lion, and wings – bounds out of the temple and mauls everyone in its path. Jessica unloads her weapons at the beast but to no effect. In the end, Thomas sacrifices himself giving her time to escape.
She heads to America to notify Thomas’s son, Robert (Lochlyn Munro) of his father’s death. Robert wants to live a simple life. He is a history teacher at a high school, and has a teenage daughter, Karen (Emily Tennant), who he is bringing up on his own. He doesn’t want any part of his father’s globe trotting archaeological adventures. He soon finds out he has little choice when the Sphinx arrives at his home – having followed Jessica. Legend says the Sphinx must be killed in three days or a great plague will sweep the world. With the Sphinx trying to kill them, Robert, Jessica and Karen flee and reluctantly embark on a quest to solve a series of riddles – leading to the sites of several of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Their they will learn how to kill the Sphinx – and save the world from the plague. Before long, Robert is dressed in a leather jacket, wearing a battered fedora – looking every inch a cut-rate Indiana Jones.
The biggest problem with this film – ignoring the crappy CGI – is that doesn’t know if it’s a kid’s film (appropriate for 8-10 year olds) or a horror film. It probably works better as a kid’s film, as the horror moments (which are gory, rather than scary) appeared to be shoe-horned into the story.
At the end of the day, The Curse of the Sphinx is a harmless diversion, buoyed by the presence of Dina Meyer pretending she is Lara Croft – firing two pistols at the same time – which isn’t a bad thing.