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Bimini Code:

Peril in the Isle of the Dead

a/k/a Raiders of the Lost Code

          "And if the voodoo don't get you, the giant leeches will!"

-- Dusty, once more, getting the audiences hopes up.    

 

     

Reviews:

Gonzoid Cinema

 

 

Buzzkillers!

"Hey! Look over there! I think maybe I finally found the end of the movie!"

Unfortunately, for the viewer, it just keeps going and going and going...

 

Watch it!

AMAZON

DVD

 
Sights &
Sounds:
Bimini
Code
(1983)
 American
 National
 Enterprises

Newspaper Ads

Totally
Water
Logged:
Bottom of the
Chum-Bucket
Cinema.

Tintorera

Shark's Treasure

Cyclone

Bimini Code

 

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First off, a word of warning ... We are about to encounter a film about scuba-diving. A lot of scuba-diving. 99.99999% diving of the scuba variety. Yaaarrggh! Batten the hatches, mateys, there be slow and plodding seas ahead!

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As we open with a psychedelic sequence of rasterized and over-saturated color shots of some scuba divers swimming to and fro, the ultra-fast credits roll by. (Hey! Isnít that Mickey Dolenz and a Mermaid swimming around in the background there? No? Drat...) Next, we head ashore and meet our main characters, Stacey and Cheryl (Vickie Benson and Kristal Richardson), proprietors of a down-on-its-luck scuba gear rental service. And as we immediately jump into the plot with both feet, Stacey convinces Cheryl there's some reward money to be made if they can solve the mysterious disappearance of a local boy. Apparently, the only clues are a lone witness -- another kid who was with him at the time -- and several peanut tins that the same boys found washed up on the beach; that, and the other boy swears a man came out of the sea, snatched the victim, and then disappeared back under the waves.

Somehow, Stacey has one of the labels from the discarded tins (-- I know, just roll with it), and on it is the address for the Scorpio Peanut Company. (Whoa, yeah, sounds kinda evil to me, too.) So, while Cheryl jumps on her motorbike and tracks the address down, Stacey grabs her diving gear and hires Rick and Fuji (-- not listed in the credits, sorry fellas --) and their boat to take her to the spot where the boy disappeared. Meantime, when Cheryl finds the Scorpio warehouse, she ignores the no trespassing sign and sneaks in. (Well, if you call walking right in the front door and heading upstairs "sneaking.") Once inside, she wanders around, finds a radio room, and then listens in as an operator radios out to "Deep Base" and gibbers in code about "the stuff."

Meanwhile, Rick and Stacey reach the designated spot and go over the side -- a spot that is nowhere near the beach, I might add. Once submerged, they check their underwater radios. (Aauuugh. Underwater scenes with annoying voiceovers. Mayday! Mayday!) Hers works. His doesnít; but she doesnít realize this, and so, they soon lose contact with each other as Stacey swims into a bed of kelp and disappears out of sight. Now, buried deep in that kelp, she finds the underwater base. Unfortunately, Scorpio security is a little tighter underwater than on land as several cameras spot the intruders. Reporting this development back to the warehouse (-- I assume the base of operations --), the order is given to capture and terminate these meddlers. When Cheryl overhears this, knowing she has to warn her friends, she sneaks back out -- but someone spotted her this time, and follows her (-- all - the - way --) back to the dive shop, where she reaches for the CB but is grabbed from behind and drug off, kicking and screaming, before warning the others.

Back below the water, Rick, who is kind of an idiot, is still lingering outside that kelp bed looking for Stacey, who's been captured by Scorpio's aquatic goon-squad. But before they drag her inside the base, she manages to release her emergency marker that bobs to the surface. Rick, being an idiot, continues to swim around in circles until he runs out of air. When Fuji picks him up, they spot Staceyís marker. And does he switch tanks and dive back after her? Nope. He heads back to port and charters a plane so he can take infrared photographs of the ocean to try and find her. Like I said: idiot.

And fair warning, this quantum leap in plot logic is nothing compared to what lies ahead for you, gentle viewer. Now plug your nose, hold your breath, and lets jump back into it...

Inside the secret base, the three goons leave Stacey with the kidnapped boy by the airlock, where one notes that heís tied up but they donít bother restrain her. Which is kinda odd since they leave them alone, with the scuba gear, by the airlock, as they head to the radio room to call the warehouse, where Cheryl is tied up in a storeroom but is still able to hear the bad guys scheming in the next room. And then the story completely uncoils all over itself as the leather-clad and eye-patched adorned Countess Magda Von Cress (Rosanna Simanaitis), affectionately known as Madame X, reveals the plot. (Get a pencil and paper, folks; it gets a little confusing, here, and try and keep up.) Seems all stages of her master plan are operating at peak efficiency: seems her organization is using the underwater station to smuggle drugs into the country in peanut cans. (But wait, it gets better.) She then sells the drugs to finance her operations to find the mythical Mayan Power Stone. Whatís a Mayan Power Stone, you ask? Well, according to her deceased uncle -- a famed Nazi scientist -- the Mayans discovered the secret of nuclear fusion. (Sure, why not.) Apparently, Herr Von Cress found the stone, and was taking it back to the Fatherland when his ship went down in a freak storm. (Oh, great. Thereís a curse involved.) Since then, Madame X has dedicated her life and fortune to find the Power Stone and has several crews trawling the oceans where her uncleís boat, The Intrepid, went down.

Alas, things donít look too good for our two heroines as Madame X has made her last drug deal. Now having the millions she needs to complete her plans of world domination, she orders that all the loose ends be destroyed so no evidence is left for Interpol. With that, the order is given to blow up the underwater base and to burn the warehouse down -- with Stacey and Cheryl and the boy still inside them! Turns out Cheryl must also face Madame X's pet tarantula, but manages to shimmy out of her handcuffs and uses a [very handy] pair of bolt-cutters to get her feet loose. Escaping out a window, she roars off on her motorcycle. (And how that got back to the warehouse is beyond me, too.) Her escape doesn't go unnoticed, however, and several bad guys race after her. She manages to shake these pursuers, who wipe out in the dunes, but a pudgy guy in a gyro-copter takes up the pursuit; and as he blasts away with an Uzi (-- that he never reloads), just missing her (-- with the same bullet squib footage used over and over), the pilot herds her toward a cliff, overlooking the sea. Cheryl realizes this fact too late, loses control, and runs her bike over the edge. Managing to bail off, she gets a handhold on the cliff face but the copter keeps circling back and firing at her until she slips and falls into the water below (-- that looks amazingly deeper than a minute ago. And where did all those jagged rocks go?). When nothing surfaces, the pilot reports that the subject has been terminated.

Meanwhile, back underwater, Stacey finds the drug stash ( -- and here I though they sold all the drugs), engineers an escape, leaving the kid behind, only to get recaptured and is finally tied up. And after rigging the entire base with explosive mines, the goons also shut down the life support system, allowing them to gloat that their captives will probably asphyxiate before they blow up (-- well thatís comforting) ... Rick, on the other hand, has chartered a plane, taken the infrared pictures (-- IN BROAD DAYLIGHT!), has gotten those pictures developed, discovered the base in the photographs (-- is that what that big red blotch is? I thought it was a whale), chartered another plane, and just parachuted with full scuba gear onto the target. (Wow. That guy is good.) Finding the underwater base, and the explosives, he also spies the bad guyís escape boat. Grabbing one of the mines, he places it on their boat but is spotted while swimming away and gets a spear through his leg. Then Fuji shows up, out of nowhere, and pulls him to safety. Down below, Stacey has managed to untie herself and the kid, and, using the buddy system with just one air hose, they escape the base and surface just as Rick was about to jump back in after them. Once they're all safely aboard, when the underwater base detonates, Stacey gets mad because the bad guys are going to get away. But Rick smiles as the mine he placed on the bad guyís boat explodes, too, and then calls the Coast Guard to come and pick up the three goons, who managed to get off before it exploded.

Back on land, Cheryl drags herself out of the surf, none the worse of it, and hitches a ride back into town, where our gals reunite and relate their crazy day to each other.

The End? Nope. Not even close. All of that action in just 23 minutes of screen time. E'yup. That was just the opening act, and we gots a long ways too go yet, folks.

Having heard of the legendary Mayan Codex, a/k/a the Power Stone, and itís deadly curse, Stacey thinks theyíve stumbled onto something big. And with a quick check of the Underwater Almanac, they realize that Madame X is [wait for it...] digging in the wrong place, and The Intrepid is really somewhere off the coast of Aruba. After convincing the reluctant Cheryl that fortune and glory await them, the duo sets off for Aruba to find their old friend, Dusty. But little do they know, evil eyes have them under constant surveillance ... When the girls find Dusty (Frank Alexander), and more importantly, his boat, they convince him to help out with the mission to thwart Madame X. But their new partner warns it wonít be that easy because The Intrepid went down near Zombie Reef -- and Zombie Reef is rumored to be *gasp* haunted. Undaunted, the trio loads up their equipment and set sail as a moronic, Carole King like theme song about our two girls kicks in, and we pad out the film with some obligatory cheesecake shots of them lounging around Dusty's boat. But as they get closer to Zombie Reef, a nervous Stacey feels theyíre being watched. And they are. For what they think is a native fishing boat is really Madame Xís crew tailing them, as the villainess believes the girls will lead them straight to the coveted artifact.

So, itís a really big ocean, right? Right. Well, after searching for about two minutes, the girls find the hulk of The Intrepid. Listening in on their radio frequency, Madame X orders her divers into the water to find the Stone first. But the girls find a metal container, which is, and I quote, "Just like a container a professor would put a Power Stone in." (Itís the first one they spot -- so it has to contain the Power Stone, right? Oh, brother.) After Dusty leaves a decoy container for the bad guys to find, they all retreat to his boat and escape. Once they reach safer waters, they open the container, but instead of finding a Power Stone, they find a diary. And inside the remarkably dry pages they find out that the Mayans translated the secret of nuclear fusion onto a stone tablet, sealed it in a jar, and hid it in an underwater cave off the Yucatan Peninsula. It also warns to beware the curse of Chok-Mol, the Mayan god of death! And then, before you can say Show me some stock-footage of a Mayan Pyramid, we're in Central America, back underwater, and searching the hundreds and hundreds of underwater caves off the coast. Our heroes still havenít given the X organization the slip, either, and soon the waters are flooded with divers searching for a cave with a jar in it. Amazingly, the bad guys find it first. But this transgression pisses Chok-Mol off, and as an underground volcanic eruption engulfs the bad guys, the jar rolls free -- right into the arms of the good guys, who escape the volcano unscathed. 

Breaking open the jar, our soggy adventurers only find a broken Spanish doubloon. But if you put the pieces together, it leaves another clue that leads them right back to Aruba (-- Arrrgghhh!), where they do a little research and discover that a Spanish Galleon (-- I think the coin had the name of the boat on it --) loaded with Mayan treasure went down in a freak storm. (A freak storm -- or did Chok-Mol do the zombie-stomp on them?) With that, they swipe the map from the public library for directions, and guess what, the ship went down near the dreaded Shark Rock. (Where itís rumored that sharks hang out.) And so, with the X-Organization still right behind them, Stacey, Cheryl and Dusty set sail again. And luckily for them, there are only stock-footage sharks lurking around Shark Rock but that's enough to scare the bad guys away. This time, it takes them three minutes to find the shipwreck. After which, Dusty breaks out his heavy equipment and starts sweeping the ocean floor. As the girls check the filter, all they find are more coins and several crosses. Skunked again, they're about to give up when Stacey notices that the crosses they found match the ones on the map they stole. And all those crosses point to a certain island: The Isle of Death

Zombie Reef? Shark Rock? Isle of Death? ... Seriously. Whoís writing this crap?

So, it's off to the Isle of Death, where Dusty points out that thereís an old fort in the middle of the island where the Spaniards used to hide their gold. And with Makumbo as their guide, they make their way through the treacherous jungle, where Dusty also points out if the voodoo donít get you, the giant leeches will. Alas there are no giant leeches and they make the ruins of the fort without incident. And after coming all that way, after a quick, cursory glance around, the expedition quickly decides the Power Stone isnít there. (Youíve come all the way there, look around a little for cripessake!) With that, theyíre about to give up again (-- Please -o- please -o- please give up!), but Makumbo opens his big mouth and reveals that pirates raided and looted the fort back in 1702 and [say it with me] their ship went down in a freak storm (-- man, that Chok-Mol is one vindictive SOB), somewhere off of Seal Island. (Well, at least it sounds nicer than Shark Rock.)

So, now itís off to Seal Island, and to make a long story short, they locate the wreck but only find evidence that the Nazis got there first. But get this: Stacey skipped this dive and called her friend, Brad. You all remember Brad, right? Her friend who works for the CIA? Yeah, that Brad. (Yeah...) Well, apparently, the CIA has a file on the mystery scientist -- who is really Madame Xís uncle -- who translated the Stone -- that sunk on the Intrepid -- but was really in a jar 4000 miles away -- but the Spaniards got to it first 400 years earlier -- and took it to their fort -- but was in turn stolen by pirates -- that was found by the Nazis  200 years later -- and is now on a sunken German sub off the coast of Bimini Island.

Got all that?

Good.

And did I mention that the sub in question is about to be used as target practice by the US Air Force? No? Well, regardless, they only have 36-hours until the sub goes boom. And with no time to sail there, Stacey and Cheryl fly to Bimini and take a dinghy to the spot where the sub went down ... Madame X, meanwhile, must have had Dustyís boat bugged, too, because theyíre already there with a mini-sub looking for the wreck. The girls do find the U-Boat first but only manage to seal themselves inside it. With them out of the way, the bad guys find the metal container containing the Power Stone. Putting it in a sack attached to the mini-sub, they head for the surface. Feeling the need to gloat, Madame X breaks in on the girlís underwater frequency, thanks them profusely for leading her to the Power Stone, and then leaves them for the Air Force bombs. But the girls manage to escape the sub through a torpedo tube and swipe the sack back. When the girls surface, they happily find Dusty waiting for them (-- and how in the hell did he get there so fast?), who hits the throttle as the countdown winds down and an Air Force bomber comes into view -- that promptly mistakes Madame Xís boat for itís target and bombs it into oblivion! (Pyle! We're s'posed to be bombing a sub!)

After the good guys finish cheering, they turn their attention to the chest and break it open...

And if itís another clue saying they have to go to Bermuda and look for a wreck off Crawdad Cove, someoneís going to get hurt. A lot.

Inside, they find a chunk of something about the size of a playing card, which Stacey proclaims to be the Power Stone (-- so I guess the Mayans used a really really tiny typeface?). Since itís all rusty and they canít read it, Dusty gives them a jar of water to soak it in while he goes below to find some steel wool. (So the Power Stone is made of metal?) When Stacey drops the tiny brick into the jar, it reacts violently with the water. But suddenly, their attention is drawn away from the bubbling jar when Madame X appears, armed with a spear gun, and demands the Power Stone. (How'd she get on the boat? Do not question the plot or face the wrath of Chok-Mol!) Fortunately, Dusty manages to sneak up behind her, and even though she dispatches him with ease, this proves a big enough distraction for Cheryl to grab the spear gun while Stacey gives her a kick to the stomach, causing Madame X to fall over the side and into the drink. Then, when a Coast Guard helicopter approaches and warns them theyíre in a restricted area, Stacey and Cheryl wave them off and radio in to fish out Madame X and what's left of her organization. With that out of the way, they turn their attention back to the jar -- and are shocked to find that the Power Stone has completely dissolved. Laughing at their misfortune, they dump the water over the side...

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Hold on! You mean to tell me I sat  through this entire, stinking, movie, and this flippin' Power Stone, that youíve been running all over the friggin' Caribbean to find, dissolves like a @#%*in' Alka-Seltzer tablet -- and all you can do is laugh about it. Sweet monkey jeebuz. Someone IS gonna get hurt! A lot!!!

The End

Thereís a strange synchronicity that tangles its way among the bad movie sites that litter the World Wide Web. My bosses over at Stomp Tokyo are about to review Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (-- a film I did last week), and in their previous review of Black Christmas, they mention Bob Clarkís involvement with Bimini Code, a film that I pegged to be reviewed this week. (Weird, I tells ya. Weird.) All of this got my head to itching. I hadnít realized that the guy who gave us A Christmas Story and Children Shouldnít Play With Dead Things was partly responsible for this cinematic equivalent of a double dose of Nyquil and six or seven Valiums. As I popped in the tape to watch it again, the credits listed Barry Clark as the director. Maybe it was an alias? A quick check of the IMDB also showed, sure enough, Bob Clark as the director. Case closed.

Well, no. I donít buy it.

The info listed on the movie is very skimpy, and the real macguffin in the credit list is that Hulk Hogan is in the cast. Now, unless weíre talking about a completely different Bimini Code or Hulk Hogan is the pet name for the moray eel that kept showing up over and over again. Seems to me that the IMDB has gotten its wires crossed. Further digging only produced corroborating evidence from the Blockbuster site. But that also listed Hulk Hogan in the cast. Every other listing and source I found had Barry Clark listed as the director, and a quick search on him turned up production work on several IMAX projects, mostly involving underwater films. Ah, the plot thickens. Donít get me wrong. The IMDB is a wonderful resource but I warn everyone not to take it as gospel. (And for heaven's sake, don't take everything you read on this website as gospel.) I usually enjoy Bob Clarkís work, and frankly, Bimini Code is just too damned incompetent and so poorly done that I donít think he had anything to do with it. If anyone can prove me wrong, though, Iím all ears and will gladly admit that Iím wrong.

As for the movie itself? Oh, where to begin with the hammering...

Okay ... Picture a film where Nancy Drew teams up with Trixie Beldon after they hit puberty, donned some bikinis, and decided to go on a Caribbean adventure. Now, the main thing I remember about those old mysteries is that the leading ladies were always sticking their noses in places they didnít belong. And you also knew, no matter what happens, the girls were never in any real danger. (They do look awful cute in those bikinis though.) As an adult, when you look back through those stories, you also realize it doesnít take a rocket scientist to unravel the mystery and itís pretty obvious how it will unravel. You can see how they could easily have gone immediately from Point-A to Point-Z but the juvenile detectives meticulously take you through every lettered point in between. And that's exactly what this movie does, and it doesn't translate very well to film. If there is some excitement or danger involved, this can be forgiven but Bimini Code fails on all fronts miserably. Seriously, your brain synapses will start to misfire when you realize how the script is strung together; and you get the definite sense that after they filmed several sequences, realized the film wasnít long enough yet, and so, were forced to extend the search some more. Finish another leg. Still not long enough? Okay letís go over here. And I dare you to keep track of how many times the script contradicts itself. (Believe me, you donít have that many fingers and toes.) And then it dawns on you the amount of padding and clumsily inserted stock-footage shots the film has.

In example: They show stock shots of a Mayan Temple, then cut to a shot of heroes standing in front of a brick wall and, viola, we're in the jungle.

The script had some lofty ambitions and shows the influence of several films, most notably Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Deep and Thunderball. But the ambitions slowly drown in the juvenile approach, and if I didnít know any better, Iíd swear I was watching a failed TV pilot from the mid-80s. (You know, now that I think of it, this would be a perfect vehicle for those ghastly Olson Twins.) And I'm not even going to touch the Don "Bang your head on the Casio" Music inspired electronic score. So move on to the next paragraph. Nothing more to read, here.

Then, after you finally realize that about 85 of the 95 minute screen time is shots of people swimming underwater, you also realize that about 50% of that IS STOCK FOOTAGE OF OTHER DIVERS FROM ANOTHER MOVIE. So your stuck with 85 minutes of annoying underwater voiceovers telling each other to "Come over here, Iíve found something" or "Iím swimming over here now." In fact, the whole dang movie was ADRíd and post-synched in the studio and the sound doesnít quite match up.

If you still haven't gotten the feel of Bimini Code yet, imagine that Andy Sidaris directed it -- but left out all the sex, nudity and violence. (Thatís enough to make even this jaded critic shudder.) To its detriment, this film is too juvenile and sanitized for itís own good. Put it all together and then, and only then, will you realize how much this movie sucks. And just when you think it might be over, it just keeps going ... and going ... and going...

Bimini Code (1983) American National Enterprises / EP: Rip Coalson / P: George Gale / AP: Richard W. Long / D: Barry Clark / W: Barry Clark / C: Ralph White / E: Beth Conwell, Lawrence Ross / M: Marc Ellis / S: Vickie Benson, Kristal Richardson, Rosanna Simanaitis, Frank Alexander, Richard Sonoda, Darrin Horowitz

Originally Posted: 01/04/02 :: Rehashed: 11/15/09

Knuckled-out by Chad Plambeck: misspeller of words, butcher of all things grammatical, and king of the run on sentence. Copy and paste at your own legal risk. Questions? Comments? Shoot us an e-mail.
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