Study Guide

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Violence

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INDY: I suggest you give me what you owe me, or anything goes.

From watching Raiders of the Lost Ark, we know Indy is no stranger to gunfights, swordfights, and whipfights. But it is startling to see him ready to skewer an innocent nightclub singer if he doesn't get what he wants. From the look in his eyes, it doesn't seem like he's bluffing either. Or is he just a really good actor?

[Indy throws a flaming skewer through a man's chest.]

We were startled when Indy poked Willie with a fork. We're really shocked when Indy throws a flaming BBQ skewer through one of Lao's men. It's a brutal way to go, and the movie is only going to get more violent from here on out.

[Indy punches a cigarette girl.]

Indy doesn't seem to care about collateral damage. He has no regard for any innocent bystanders when a gunfight erupts in the nightclub. And he punches a cigarette girl in the face. Maybe he mistakes her for one of Lao's men. Or maybe he needs to work out some aggression issues.

[A man is strangled by Indy's whip.]

Pro-tip: Don't try to do anything to Indiana Jones unless you want the tables turned tenfold. A man attempts to choke Indy in his room, and ends up getting Indy's whip around his neck. The whip gets tangled in the ceiling fan, which has the strongest motor ever installed in a fan, and it strangles him. Ouch.

[A man's heart is pulled out and he is lowered into lava and burned alive.]

Reminder: this movie is rated PG. PG! The violence walks a line between being cartoonish—the man's gaping chest hole closes bloodlessly—and graphic—we see the man struggling and screaming as he is literally burned alive. This scene is one of the reasons the PG-13 rating was invented.

[Short Round is whipped.]

Temple of Doom has no qualms—not one—showing violence against children, either. Not only are children shown chained together as slaves, but Short Round is captured and put to work, too. When he tries to save Indy, he's whipped as punishment.

[Indy backhands Short Round.]

The heart-pulling scene is shocking, but seeing Indy, our hero, hit Short Round in the face is even more shocking. It rolls together violence against children with the startling betrayal of Indy going to the dark side, even if just temporarily.

[Guard is crushed by a steamroller.]

It's difficult to tell if Indy tries to rescue the guard who is being pulled into the rock crusher, or if he is just trying to get away and not get pulled in with him. Both this guard and the guard strangled in the ceiling fan are accidental deaths. Indy doesn't kill them purposefully in such a gruesome manner. Perhaps Spielberg doesn't want us to see Indy as a ruthless killer, but it's hard to forget the flaming-kebab-through-the-chest scene at the beginning of the film.

[Mola Ram is torn apart by crocodiles.]

Although the villains of Raiders of the Lost Ark die a gruesome death—getting their skin melted off by the Ark of the Covenant—it's almost instantaneous. Not Mola Ram. Not only does he falls down the side of a cliff, bouncing off it in a way that defies physics, but he also crashes into a river and is torn apart by crocodiles. No mercy for Mola Ram.

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