The role of Allan Quatermain is reprised by Richard Chamberlain as is that of Jesse Huston by Sharon Stone, who was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress for this role, for which she lost to Madonna for Who's That Girl. The movie also starred James Earl Jones as Umslopogaas, Henry Silva as Agon, Aileen Marson as Queen Nyleptha, Cassandra Peterson as Queen Sorais and Chamberlain's then real-life partner Martin Rabbett as Robeson Quatermain.
After surviving their expedition to King Solomon's Mines, Allan Quatermain and Jesse have settled down in colonial Africa. They are engaged to be married and Jesse plans that they will travel to America for the wedding. But Allan is restless.
A man chased by two strange masked men emerges from the jungle, and is recognised as one of Quatermain's friends. He is delirious and is cared for by Jesse and Allan, but at night, his pursuers return and kill him.
Before he dies, he tells Allan that his brother, supposedly lost, is alive, and that they have found the legendary 'Lost City of Gold'. Quatermain immediately starts preparing for an expedition to find his lost brother. Jesse is furious and stalks off, but then realises how important this is to Allan.
Allan and Jesse are assisted by Umslopogaas, a fearless warrior and old friend of Allan's, to put together an expedition. Swarma, a spiritual guru, and five Askari warriors, accompany them. The group crosses the Sahara desert; two Askari are lost when Swarma trips a trap that opens a pit under the road to the city. Another member of the party is lost when savage Esbowe warriors attack the group. Many spears get thrown at Quatermain and his friends, but Umslopogaas deflects most of them by with his giant axe.
Quatermain and his friends indeed discover the city. The inhabitants, both black and white, are friendly, and Allan meets his brother Robeson, seemingly in good health and at peace in the society. The city boasts two queens—the noble and beloved, Nyleptha and her power-hungry sister, Sorais. But the real leader is the evil High Priest, Agon, feared by all.
Allan raises the population against Agon and Sorais, who musters an army to recover the city by force. Allan realizes that they can make all the weapons they need out of gold, which is mined by the population. The final battle ends when, atop the temple, during a lightning storm, Allan uses Umslopogaas' axe to channel the lightning and melt the gold (into liquid form) causing it to flow off the side of the structure and pour over the attacking horde, turning Agon and his army into gold statues.Richard Chamberlain as Allan Quatermain
Sharon Stone as Jesse Huston
James Earl Jones as Umslopogaas
Henry Silva as Agon
Robert Donner as Swarma
Doghmi Larbi as Nasta
Aileen Marson as Queen Nyleptha
Cassandra Peterson as Queen Sorais
Martin Rabbett as Robeson Quatermain
Emily Eby as Orblah
Rory Kilalea as Dumont
Andy Edwards as Stand-in for Richard Chamberlain
The film features just over half an hour of original music written by Michael Linn; for financial reasons, the producers reused material composed by Jerry Goldsmith for the first film (although Linn's score does use Goldsmith's main theme), supplemented with music composed for other productions from Cannon Films.
The score was initially released by Silva Screen in 1988 on a CD with cues from Manifesto (scored by Nicola Piovani), Making the Grade (Basil Poledouris), Doin' Time on Planet Earth (Dana Kaproff) and The Seven Magnificent Gladiators (Dov Seltzer); in 2009 it was issued on its own album by La-La Land Records. Cues in italics contain material composed by Jerry Goldsmith.
- Train Delivery/Don’t Fool With Quatermain (1:48)
- Quatermain Shows Off (1:53)
- Quatermain Meets Swarmi/Dumont Dies (3:20)
- The Ruse (2:53)
- Jessie Fingered (2:07)
- Umslopogaas (3:27)
- Earthquake (2:57)
- Quatermain Leaves Akawi (1:40)
- Worms (1:12)
- Love Scene (3:02)
- Agon Wants Revenge (5:04)
- Dumont’s Gold City/Coda (3:11)
The film debuted at number seven at the box office during its first week, earning $2 million.
It was a box office disappointment, one of several that led to Cannon Films reporting a loss in early 1987. The other box office disappointments for the company included Assassination, The Hanoi Hilton, Over the Top and Street Smart.
"I know it went through town pretty fast," said Richard Chamberlain. "I know my family didn't like it much. My father was too ill to see it, but my mother said, 'Richard, the advertising was all wrong. They should have told people it was funny.' But I don't think it hurt my chances for other movies. I know a lot of people who do a lot of movies, and some of them are good and some of them aren't. Michael Caine's one example. He's wonderful in some movies and forgettable in others. I think as long as you're doing generally good work that you enjoy, things will be okay."
According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film has received two positive and one negative review.
The Boston Globe film critic wrote " there's nothing new under the broiling afternoon sun. It's the same: washed-out scenery, stale dialogue and lackluster performances... Except for the presence of James Earl Jones doing a depressing turn as a native chieftain, "Allan Quatermain" is just for folks who don't mind mining for fool's gold." The New York Times said the film was "of minor academic interest. Those who take the Spielberg special effects for granted are sure to learn a lot by watching these same tricks done badly... Fortunately, Richard Chamberlain is professional and then some, since the film would otherwise be virtually unwatchable." The Los Angeles Times said the "movie seems largely aimed at fans who can't wait for the next installment of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Unfortunately, most of the battle scenes were... ineptly staged... Chamberlain has none of the breezy, irreverence that made Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones such a delightful hero. In his Banana Republic khaki duds and a bullet-proof undershirt, he exudes the dashing spirit of a game-show host. The rest of the cast is good largely for unintentional laughs."
Based on a 19th-century novel that, though progressive for its time, reflected some racist attitudes, the film itself has been criticized for conveying some of these same racist themes. The book Africans and the Politics of Popular Culture provides a harsh critique saying it reached "levels of racism unachieved since the 1930s." Though the film has been portrayed as a comedy and a satire not all critics have been satisfied that the racist themes are excused under this pretense.
MGM released the film on DVD on February 10, 2004. A Blu-ray edition followed in March 2015.
The Cannon Group originally planned a trilogy of films, the third film to be an adaptation of She and Allan but this was ultimately abandoned after the extreme negative reception of Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold, coupled with the financial difficulties of the company at that time.
In 2011, a new sequel was proposed by Menahem Golan called Allan Quatermain and the Jewel of the East. The script was written by Menahem Golan and Richard Albiston and was to be directed by Golan himself. The plot concerned Quatermain attempting to rescue his daughter from Chinese treasure hunters in the Congo. According to the 2015 documentary Golan: A Farewell to Mr Cinema, Richard Chamberlain had agreed to return as the title character but Golan died before the film began shooting.