As the movie opens, the Hero watches his mother die. Overcome, he runs away from his extended family.
The Hero, an adult now, walks across the crest of a dune. On the horizon, a pyramid can be seen through the blowing sand. Sliding down a slope, he reaches a stone doorway with statues standing guard. He consults a map, enters, and finds a golden amulet in a room behind the stone wall at the end of an underground corridor. Nazi soldiers burst in and attempt to claim the amulet for someone they call Schmidt. The Hero flees down a tunnel that brings him out of the tomb near his airplane, and he escapes.
Arriving in Cairo, he meets with the Love Interest to find out about the amulet. She hates him but hates her former professor, Herr Schmidt, even more and offers to help. In the market, they meet a Wild Card and his sidekick (“My name Sahib”), two orphans who ride around in a motorcycle and sidecar causing trouble and stealing. He also hires a very serious man to organize all the actual work. He takes the job but says “I care only that Schmidt killed my wife and children as he plundered the upper Nile. He must be stopped.”
Business happens and the Hero and the others discover the amulet is valuable. Let’s say it’s a decoder. For a map leading to Hadrion’s canon, a fabled Roman weapon buried when the emporer’s army retreated across the Mediterranean after some battle. The five set out to find it but don’t work well together, and Schmidt’s men take the amulet from them. During the fight, the Hero chooses to save the Love Interest’s life rather than to chase the Nazis, and the five end up lost in the desert. They realize they will have to trust each other and they band together to stop Schmidt from finding the canon.
More business happens that sets up the Nazi’s defeat during a final confrontation in somes caves hidden in the rocky cliffs along the northern coast of Egypt. Each of the five characters plays an important role. Let’s imagine that:
- The Love Interest winks and raises her eyebrows at some guards then knocks them out. Insde the room they guarded, she finds her sister, a Nazi sympathizer who is packing up various maps and charts. The two fight, but the Love interest wins. She grabs a leather sack of maps and, before dashing off to catch up with the Hero shuts off the generators. All but the emergency lights go out in the cave. She then rushes off to save the Hero if she can.
- The Wild Card stays above the cliffs. Sneaking between the vehicles, he releases their parking brakes one by one. When he gets to the last vehicle, he pushes it down the slight incline, sending it rolling into the others, which sets them all moving. One by one they fall off the cliff.
- In the chaos, one of the large trucks risks hitting the Wild Card. The sidekick pushes him out of the way but is hit in the head by the truck’s mirror. The Wild Card shakes him to see if he’s alive, and the Sidekick mutters, “Our name Sahib.”
- The Very Serious Man runs ahead in the cave and confronts Schmidt as he reaches the doorway leading to the canon. He is nearly killed by the Nazi guards but ducks behind some crates, dragging two Egyptian women with him. He does not know they are the Egyptian police chief’s wife and daughter. From his hiding place he fires at the Nazis to give the Hero time.
- The Hero arrives late to the scene. He has been bound in a tent by his former university professor, the man who taught him everything he knows but who now wants the claim the canon for for himself. The Hero outwits/overpowers the man and rushes into the caves to confront Schmidt. As Schmidt is about open the stone door leading to the canon room, the roof above him caves in and a truck falls into the room. It is driven by the Wild Card.
Action ensues, but together the Hero and his team subdue Schmidt. They then open the door and enter the room where they discover that Hadrian’s “canon” is the emporer’s personal copies of great works from the fabled library at Alexandria. The Hero picks up a scroll and reads the label aloud: Aristotle’s Comedy. The police enter, the chief thanks the Very Serious Man for saving his family, and the Hero and Love Interest put their hand on the same dusty book as they look around the room and into each others’ eyes.
As the movie closes, the five sit side-by-side on cushions drinking mint tea. The Wild Card and Sidekick smoke a hooka with the Very Serious Man. The Love Interest pulls a map out of the sac she took from her sister and unfolds it on the table. Across the top is written “Excaliber.”
(Or if you prefer, replace the amulet with a spear, the desert with a jungle, the trucks with machetes and porters. If your jungle has orangutans or rubber trees, the German soldiers can be Japanese.)
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