The Ark of the Sun God (1984)

SunGodOriginal Title: I sopravvissuti della città morta
Country: Italy | Turkey
Director: Antonio Margheriti (as Anthony M. Dawson)
Starring: David Warbeck | John Steiner | Susie Sudlow | Ricardo Palacios | Luciano Piggozzi | Achille Brugnini | Aytekin Akkaya
Writers: Giovanni Paolucci | Giovanni Simonelli (AIP DVD lists Tito Capri | Gianfranco Couyoumdjian)
Music: Aldo Tamborelli (AIP DVD lists Carlo Savina)

Made by the same team that made Hunters of the Golden Cobra (original title: I cacciatori del cobra d’oro) in 1982, The Ark of the Sun God, as you may have guessed from the title, is another Raiders of the Lost Ark knockoff – but it is not without its own unique B-grade charm. Directed by the legendary Antonio Margheriti – you can find my review of Margheriti’s Eurospy classic, Lightning Bolt hereSun God is a fast-paced treasure hunting romp.

The film begins with our suitably square jawed hero, Rick Spear (David Warbeck) arriving in Istanbul with his girlfriend, Carol (Susie Ludlow). As they check into the hotel, Spear is told the suite has been paid for. He doesn’t question this, instead he goes about his job – he happens to be a master thief. While Carol sleeps, Spear heads out to a lavish villa. He fires a zip line over the wall, and glides down into the yard. Next he’s up the wall, in through the window and cracking open the safe. As he pries open the door and retrieves an unusual stone tablet from within, the light flicker on, and he finds himself in the company of five men. They applaud his efforts. The break in was a test of Spear’s skills – one he has passed.

His soon to be ‘new’ employer, is Lord Dean (John Steiner), an old acquaintance, who is willing to put up $25,000 for Spear’s next job. Dean explains the tablet in the safe is the key to the Temple of the Sun God – which is the sacred resting place of Gilgamesh – an ancient ruler who was supposed to be half man and half demon. The temple also houses Gilgamesh’s septre – a relic of in-estimable worth – and of course, great power! If it should fall into the wrong hands, the consequences would change the face of the modern world.

As an adjunct here, I will quote a section from the back of the DVD cover.

He has been tricked by an old friend who is need of Rick’s skills in his quest for the legendary lost treasure of Semiramis, Queen of Babylonia, and the most coveted artifact of all – the Ark of the Sun God.

I post this snippet of the synopsis because, as a foreign film, there may be other versions out there. However, my sneaking suspicion is, whoever wrote the DVD spiel, did not bother to watch the movie and made up the details. But of course, I could be wrong.

But either way, Rick is on a quest to find … something. And other nefarious parties are willing to do anything to get their hands on it. Much adventure and mayhem ensues. As I mentioned at the top, the film has a modicum of charm, and features all the genre tropes – snake pits, big furry spiders, lava pools and booby-traps. Also, the miniatures and modelwork are of a reasonable standard – and aren’t too distracting. All-in-all, The Ark of the Sun God is a harmless old-fashioned pulp adventure that will entertain undemanding viewers.

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