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Category:    Home > Reviews > Fantasy > Action > Tower Of The Firstborn (2004/Lionsgate)

Tower of the First Born (2004/Lionsgate)


Picture: C     Sound: C-     Extras: D     Film: D



Archaeologist John Shannon (played by Peter Weller) has been looking for the lost Tower of the First Born for decades when he goes missing after confronting his estranged brother, Michael.  Michael (played by Ben Cross) has never forgiven John for "stealing" the woman he loved.  When word reaches John's daughter Diane, also an archaeologist, of his disappearance, she sets out to find him with the help of Dr. Neal Hogan.  Hogan works for/with the Vatican to find proof of God's existence using a radio receiver that picks up waves and sounds he believes to be "The Word of God".  Hogan goes with Diane because of the religious implications of the Tower, but also falls in love with her along the way.  Diane has no interest in the Tower other than it leads to finding her missing father, who everybody they run into along the way believes to be dead.


Meanwhile, Michael now leads a band of marauders who spreads fear and terror in the desert.  When he learns of his niece's search for her father, he is determined to stop her from finding his brother and the Tower.


Tower of the First Born is an action-adventure mini-series that wants to be in the same vein that Raiders of the Lost Ark was.  What it is, is an extremely long and boring trek through the Sahara Desert that never gets your heart pounding the same way Raiders did.  Clocking in at over three hours, the Italian production never picks up speed, even during the sword fights and gun battles.  Worse, when things aren't going slow enough, Director Alberto Negrin cuts to a slow motion sequence for emotion.  And the bad part about this is they seem to come every fifteen minutes.


Along the way, Diane (played by Ione Skye) gets kidnapped by the Turks, mixed-up with the Foreign Legion (who are after her Uncle) and saved by a mysterious Prince who is sworn to protect the secret of the tower.  The Prince is a walking contradiction because even though he is sworn to protect the Tower, he is also loyal to Diane's father who saved him years ago.


All of this of this just leads up to one big jumbled mess that also uses elements of The Mummy remake of 1999 (reviewed on HD-DVD elsewhere on this site), starring Brendan Fraser.  What you really get is one big, boring mess.  You want a good archaeologist action-adventure movie, go watch any of the "Indiana Jones" films.  Leave "Tower of the First Born" buried in the desert where it belongs.


The mini-series is presented in 1.33:1 full screen format. The picture quality is good, but looks like the TV production that it is.  (Even though it tries to pass itself off as a big budget extravaganza.)  The sound is standard for a television production and it plays off here.  The disc offers no extras other than trailers, but they do not really amount to anything.



-   Marc Greisinger


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