You’ll find no arguments against Indian Jones in this article. It’s truly one of the great film franchises ever. But what I will highlight is the most ridiculous action sequence of the entire franchise, which was filmed right here in Northern California.
The second film in the epic movie franchise was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, where Indy flies to India to locate a sacred stone, eventually stumbling upon a secret cult committing enslavement and human sacrifices in the catacombs. From there, obviously, all hell breaks loose.
There are a ton of NorCal filming locations credited in this movies including Yosemite National Park, Tuolumne, Mammoth Mountain and Novato. But the location we’re concentrating on today is the South Fork of the American River. There is a scene where Indy, Willie Scott (played by Kate Capshaw) and comedic-sidekick Short Round (Played by Ke Huy Quan) ride a raft down the American River (there are also rafting scenes shot on the Tuloumne River), which is a perfectly normal 30-second white water action scene. It’s the minute leading up to the rafting that is completely ridiculous.
I’ll let you watch for yourself:
So let’s recap: they jump from an airplane from thousands of feet in the air using only a raft as a parachute for three people. THEN they comfortably land on a snowy slope and glide down the mountain at outrageous speeds. THEN they again fall down what looks to be a thousand foot drop off an insane cliff to land comfortably on the river (American River) below. All before riding the white water rapids to safety.
Now that, my friends, is one hell of a ridiculous action sequence. The premise is so crazy, that the Science Channel’s Mythbusters took it to task:
This action sequence is so far-fetched, it may be even crazier than the time Indy survived an atomic bomb blast:
Again, you won’t find me disregarding Indiana Jones as one of the great film franchises of all time, but even Steven Spielberg strikes out on an action sequence every once in a while. In any case, it’s still cool to see Northern California in an iconic movie.