Wow I remember seeing this at the cinema, being released and trailers etc..it feels like eons ago!. At the time I quite liked the film but didn't think it was awesome or anything, on a rewatch I'm still quite liking the film for its good old fashioned boys own jungle adventure theme and nice character work.
I think the casting is a winner here mainly with Ernie Hudson as the smooth well spoken guide, in the old classic Hollywood silver screen sense, bordering on caddish. Alongside him is Tim Curry hamming it up quite horrendously as a Romanian philanthropist, with both characters you are never quite sure if they will turn out to be bad guys or not. Rest of the cast is a little wet but there are a few nice cameos thrown in.
Problem with this film is the dodgy looking puppet/animatronic mask work on the friendly gorillas which just doesn't quite look right. The nasty vicious grey gorillas look pretty good, spooky and scary with decent mask/makeup work, but movement for all apes concerned is obviously men in suits and just doesn't work. Looks very very cheesy, almost B-movie standards at some points, that and the obvious sets, at times the film looks awful.
Locations vary from being nice to clearly not Africa but does the job just about. The whole film is along those lines really, it does the job by the skin of its teeth. You get the thrills of an 'Indy' type adventure mixed with 'King Solomon's Mines' with everything you might expect along the way such as creepy jungles, natives, lava flows, eerie ancient ruins and statues, skulls n bones etc...a real throw back to good old fashioned daring escapades in the unknown.
It could of really sunk but just about holds its own and comes across as a fun B-movie without becoming an actual bad B-movie.