Tower of the First Born (2004/Lionsgate)
C Sound: C- Extras: D Film: D
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.
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.
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.
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
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