Tarzan and the Lost City [1998]

At least someone, somewhere, involved in this disposable Ape Man entry bothered to read the famous Edgar Rice Burroughs books on which the character is based. What was done with that information, unfortunately, amounts to nothing. Tarzan (vacantly handsome Casper Van Dien) and Jane (nondescript Jane March) head back to the jungle homeland and encounter pillaging baddies led by Steven Waddington (used better as a more complex nasty in The Last of the Mohicans). Director Carl Schenkel's film gives Tarzan back his long-absent status as an articulate gentleman, and it contains elements of Burroughs's feverish imagination, but it dully ticks off the "adventures" without any thrilling sense of fun. Schenkel is so inattentive to detail that he would have us believe no one raises an eyebrow at the sight of a man morphing into a humongous cobra (not that the Xena-level effects help). It's blandly amusing watching Van Dien plug away ineptly at both his heroics and English accent, though this is ultimately an empty diversion for completists only. --Steve Wiecking

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