What if Indiana Jones was a Contemporary Action Hero?

By  · Published on January 13th, 2017

The famed franchise gets reframed as modern-day action a la the Bourne films.

I was a kid in the 80s, and as I see it, there are two major distinctions between the action films of my youth and those made today: one, they were more quest-based rather than political – go find this, go save this person, go defeat this bad guy— and two, they were more playful and laced with humor in the form of catchphrases, sight gags, and character composition. Even the James Bond flicks of the era, which transition between Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton, were gadget-heavy and bordering on camp. But I think the best way to sum up this last point is with two other names: Indiana Jones and Jason Bourne.

Just the mention of these men conjures two very conflicting sorts of action movies, the former with an adventurous, humorous but still thrilling tone, the other with a tone that’s more frenetic, hyperkinetic, severe, and relentless. Both are four-film franchises (I’m excluding The Bourne Legacy because there’s no Bourne in it) and both have become emblematic of their era’s action films. But they couldn’t be more different, and in pretty much every regard: character, situation, motivation, et cetera.

What then would it look like, you might be wondering, if Raiders of the Lost Ark wasn’t the 80s classic we all love and worship, but a brand new film with the same story but released in our contemporary culture of action films? How would the dour and dire atmosphere of today’s examples of the genre alter the overall feel and impact of a film we know as buoyant, lively, and upbeat?

Wonder no more, because the fine folks at CineFix have realized this conundrum in the following trailer that reimagines the Indiana Jones franchise as something like the Jason Bourne franchise, and the difference in feel is staggering. But besides recasting a beloved personality, the video also in its way illustrates the evolution of the action genre over the last 30 years, which in its attempts to tie itself more tightly to reality has lost some of the adventurousness and frivolity that made action films of the 80s so iconic.

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist