The Asylum tried a new genre, that of action/adventure, and tried to capitalize on the phenomenon around The Da Vinci Code with their blatant rip off, that is actually more in the vein of National Treasure.
So, C. Thomas Howell again? Yup, playing “forensic anthropologist” Michael Archer, who’s life pursuit has been uncovering a treasure supposedly hidden by Leonardo Da Vinci, or he at least left clues to it’s whereabouts in his various works.
Who’s Lance Henriksen playing then? He’s the villain, archaeologist Dr. John Coven, who is somehow always one step ahead of Archer, despite them both being incredibly incompetent for supposed history experts.
How incompetent are they? Well, Archer is constantly caught by Coven and his goons and forced to turn over whatever clue or artifact he’s just acquired but Coven apparently has no idea how to decipher anything, so he has to leave Archer alive so he can figure out the next clue. Each guy also has female partner who they surely hired for their technical skills and not for other reasons.
How much does it rip off Da Vinci Code? It kind of does as one of the key clues comes from The Last Supper and another based on a pair of drunk glasses that Da Vinci invented that allows you to see a nausea inducing series of clues in the Shroud of Turin. Oh, it also deals with Da Vinci codex pages, so completely different from Da Vinci Code, there’s an extra letter! It also is constantly doing what the Da Vinci Code did by highlighting clues throughout the movie. That’s part of the absolutely absurd visual and audio style of the movie, where every edit is punctuated by a whooshing noise and strobe effect and there’s abrupt cuts in the middle of scenes. There’s also constant information pop ups occuring, that explain places, objects and characters.
The Shroud of Turin, what the hell does that have to with Da Vinci? Nothing, but the movie posits that Da Vinci may have used photography techniques to put the image on the shroud and put the above disorienting clues on it. It’s also hilarious how little regard all the characters have for one of the most important artifacts in religious history. Archer shoves it into backpack like a piece of laundry and then it’s tossed around for the rest of the movie, but also somehow saves Archer and his partner Julia from a massive explosion at the end of the movie because, magic?
Is the end as ridiculous as other Asylum movies? Not really. After some very light Indiana Jonesing through a tomb in Afghanistan (because when you think Da Vinci, obviously you think of Afghanistan) Archer and Julia find the treasure but Coven and his partner, Sam, somehow found them and there’s a standoff with Sam about the take out Julia and Archer but Archer throws a golden plate at a booby trap trigger that causes some ceiling collapse that knows out Sam. The best part is that Lance Henriksen covers his ears to protect them from the gun shot but that apparently also takes out all his other senses as he doesn’t seem to feel or see the tomb shaking. The shaking also causes some oil that permeates the tomb to explode, as previously mentioned.
Is it worth watching? Nah, it’s way too boring to be even entertainingly bad and there’s much better C level Indiana Jones rip offs you can check out. The action/adventure genre also doesn’t really give the Asylum the chance for over the top gore and the “action” sequences that are in Da Vinci Treasure are incredibly awful and lame, like a car chase and a fight on top of a double decker bus in London.
Next Time: A demonic child causes havoc in a movie that is definitely legally different from both versions of The Omen.