Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito return for this lackluster sequel to 1984’s terrific Romancing the Stone. The Jewel of the Nile picks up six months after the end of the first movie, with adventurous Jack (Douglas) and romance novelist Joan (Kathleen Turner) getting on each other’s nerves while sailing around the world. The two get embroiled in a tug-of-war between Arab factions and end up trying to help a religious leader reclaim a position of power from a nefarious usurper.
Despite Douglas and Turner’s past chemistry, the characters of Jack and Joan are sorely underwritten. They split up early in the movie and aren’t together again until somewhere in the middle. The whole reason to see a Romancing the Stone sequel is to hang with these two characters, which makes the first half of Jewel of the Nile an especially tedious slog. Things get slightly better when they’re reunited, but the magic is never recaptured. Director Lewis Teague (Cujo, Alligator) can’t match the visual stylings of Stone‘s Robert Zemeckis, either. Action scenes feel anemic and clunky in comparison, the romance feels forced and schmaltzy, and the pacing allows precious few grace notes. To make matters worse, Jack Nitzsche’s horrendous, synthesized score only cheapens the entire effort.
Danny DeVito gets in a couple of good laughs and the Moroccan backdrop is sometimes pretty to look at, but The Jewel of the Nile is otherwise an unnecessary sequel better left forgotten.