I Hate Indiana Jones: Day 52

Day 52: Indiana Jones and the Useless Whip

Indiana Jones isn't a gimmick character, nor does he only have one note. That is to say, he's not a whip-themed character, and I would never suggest that the films go out of their way to find things for him to whip, because doing so would likely only lead to awkwardness.

That being said, I think it's fair to say that everyone who pays to see an Indiana Jones movie expects to see him using the whip a few times. It doesn't have to be throughout the film, and it doesn't have to be constant, but nonetheless, it's something we expect him to get around to doing at some point. Like James Bond and his Martinis, the audience wants to see Indy cleverly swinging or grabbing things with a whip at opportune moments.

And what did that audience get? He steals a gun, then uses it to swing during the chase in the warehouse. All within the first 15-20 minutes of the movie. It then disappears for the rest of the film's running time. Almost as if, like the character's first name, the filmmakers were somehow embarrassed by the whip, and wanted to get its obligatory appearance out of the way as quickly as possible before moving on to what they really cared about: poorly edited action without clear lines of movement!

This is all the more egregious because the film had plenty of opportunities for him to logically use the whip across the entire film. He falls in quicksand, engages in an open-topped jeep chase (the modern-day chariot - remember all the whipping in Ben-Hur?), and then has to make his way down a quickly-retracting staircase, with a large central column that a whip could have easily found purchase on.

He doesn't use it at any of these times, though. Probably because the filmmakers found it a little on the silly side. So, for the record - using a a whip, too ridiculous to appear in an Indiana Jones movie. Repeated blows to the crotch? Just fine.


Anonymous said...

Once again, you're wrong(You're making quite that habit of that). He uses the whip 3 times, the same amount he uses in Last Crusade, one less than he does in Temple of Doom, and 3 less than he does in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

1. whip the gun to his hand.
2. swing to the jeep
3. tries to save Mac with his whip

Vardulon said...

You're going to fault me for forgetting that he tried to save Mac? I've forgotten the entire character of Mac (if you'd like to know why, you'll have to read the entire series of articles - it's in there somewhere, and I neglected to keep an index)!

Anonymous said...

Well God forbid you research your own articles when you make these ill-fated things

Vardulon said...

Ah, but doing research would defeat the whole purpose - this entire series is written based on a single viewing of the movie, the tuesday after it came out. The only thing I check when writing a new article as that I haven't already written about it yet.

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog and am loving it. I noticed in the special features of the movie a practice run of what must have been a scrapped idea, in which instead of stealing the gun Indy yanks the aim so that the soldier holding it fires into another Russian. Much better and more in keeping with classic Indiana Jones. I'm convinced that in their old age Lucas and Spielberg just want a movie they can watch with their grandkids.