HUNTERS OF THE GOLDEN COBRA was a success as nearly everyone from that film (Warbeck, Steiner, Collins, Margheriti) reteamed to make this modern day Indiana Jones-style adventure the following year. While not a sequel, it might as well be as leads Warbeck and Steiner are basically essaying the same roles. And, hear me out here, I seriously think Lucas and Spielberg ended up ripping this one off (more on that in a bit)!
Cat burglar Rick Spear (Warbeck) arrives in Turkey with his lovely lady Carol (Susie Sudlow). But this vacation is a combination of business and pleasure as Spear is there to steal an artifact from a Prince Abdullah (Aytekin Akkaya). Procuring his tools of the trade from Turkish contact Mohammed (Ricardo Palacios), Spear penetrates the building and safe with ease. What he doesn’t know is this was all just a test by wheelchair bound Lord Dean (Steiner) to see if Rick was the man for the job to retrieve the sacred scepter of Gilgamesh, which – go figure – is desired by a bunch of cultists. And what no one in the rooms knows is Abdullah is listening in on the conversation.
certain things REALLY set off my rip-off radar in this one and, for once, it seems the big budget flick has cribbed from the imitation. When I first saw this one on VHS 15 years ago, I noticed there are quite a few similarities between it and INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989). Despite being modern day, ARK features a boat chase with Turkish guys (obviously the CRUSADE one is better). ARK also has a bit where the leads escape a fire via sewer tunnels under the city and encounters dozens of rats (CRUSADE used hundreds). ARK’s temple entrance is carved into the side of a mountain, just like the one in CRUSADE. And, finally, the film ends the exact same way with the temple collapsing and the ground cracking right between the villain’s legs! This is wild because ARK came out in 1983. Do I believe that Lucas and Spielberg saw this film? Absolutely! Someone in their entourage was quick enough to spot GREAT WHITE (1981; aka THE LAST JAWS) and have it litigated onto the shelf so I have no doubt someone watched ARK (hell, that title probably set off their lawyers) and reported back. Crazy to think that a RAIDERS imitation could end up influencing the big boys they were copying.