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Film: Sheena
Sheena is a 1984 Columbia Pictures film starring Tanya Roberts as Janet Ames: as a child, she came to Africa with her geologist parents, who were killed in a cave-in. She was raised by the shaman of the local Zambuli tribe and named Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. She grows up and has to protect the Zambuli lands from an evil prince who wants to strip mine the tribal lands. She is assisted by an American reporter, Vic Casey, who of course falls madly in love with her.

The film is generally considered to be somewhat of a bomb, with an overlong running time unjustified by the bare-bones plot and the awkward acting, especially from lead Tanya Roberts.

Based on the comic book Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.


This film contains examples of:

  • The Alleged Car: Vic and Fletch's rented Range Rover tends to stall out, although this is strange given the car's fairly solid reputation as a hardy offroader.
  • And This Is for...: When Chief Haromba has Jorgensen at spearpoint near the end.
    Jorgensen: I was only following orders.
    Haromba: [unswayed] For Z'Kuru! [kills Jorgensen]
  • Bald of Evil: One of the soldiers, Blau, has a shaved head.
  • Battle Couple: Sheena and Vic become this near the end.
  • Book Ends: The movie begins and ends with a healing earth ceremony to cure someone, and both are identical visually: the tribe's wise-woman is overlooking from a nearby hilltop with a leopard pal in both instances, and both times there are newcomers present, whose wind up in the middle of commotion along with their car and are basically ignored by the tribe and allowed to remain as spectators.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Zanda, who proudly declares herself "the most wicked woman in Tigora."
  • Brick Joke: Boto's House Rules that he beats Fletch at cards with. At the end, Fletch can be seen teaching them to Juka on the plane.
  • Character Title
  • Disney Villain Death: Zanda.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Sheena goes barefoot for the entire movie.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Sheena. She flat out says "Guns are bad!" and extorts the virtues of spears and arrows.
  • The Dragon: Colonel Jorgensen.
  • Eagle Land: The Americans, particularly Vic. He certainly means well, but tends to come across as condescending.
  • Eye Scream: Happens to the soldiers' helicopter pilot.
  • The Evil Prince: Prince Otwani.
  • Faux Action Girl: While Sheena certainly knows how to use a bow and arrow, the film's insistence upon having Vic come to her rescue at the end is a little disconcerting. Likewise, less emphasis is placed on Sheena's fighting prowess and more on her psychic abilities.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Sheena. Every animal is her friend, without exception, even normally-vilified snakes.
  • Great Escape: When Sheena rescues the Shaman from prison, she goes all out, even to the point of having Chango the elephant push a water tower over onto the prison itself to completely destroy it (after she's safely gotten the Shaman out of course).
  • He Knows Too Much: Otwani abides by this trope to the letter. He poisons Grizzard because of this, and it's also why he wants to kill Vic.
  • Hellish Copter: The soldiers' helicopter is brought down by a flock of killer flamingoes who peck out the pilot's eyes.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: Vic is being escorted in a Land Rover by two Mooks. He throws them both out, then climbs into the driver's seat in while the vehicle is still driving.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Stacey Sutton is Sheena. Little John appears in a supporting role as the soldiers' tracker. Also Sheena's dad was the president's adviser in Superman II.
  • House Rules: Boto has some pretty strange and confusing rules for the card games he runs.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Grizzard, likely due to the fact he chain smokes. Otwani helps him on his way by poisoning his meds.
  • Jungle Princess: Sheena
  • Just Following Orders: Jorgensen tries to use this to justify his role in the massacre of Z'Kuru, a native village. It doesn't work.
  • Kick the Dog: The helicopter pilot gets angry that Sheena has evaded him, so he vents his frustration by strafing a nearby herd of antelope. Fortunately it appears he fails to hit anything.
  • Mighty Whitey: The tribe's prophecy specifically states a "golden god child" will save them. Janet Ames (later Sheena) is a white, blonde American.
  • My Car Hates Me: When Fletch is trying to escape from the soldiers in the Range Rover, it stalls and the engine refuses to turn over.
  • Nubile Savage: Sheena, full stop.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Boto. He pretends to be just a weird middle-aged drunken guy who cheats at cards. In reality he's a Scarily Competent Tracker.
  • The Obi-Wan: The Shaman.
  • Private Military Contractors: Jorgensen's men appear to be this.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Invoked by Sheena, and criticized by Vic. When Vic asks if the tribe has firearms, Sheena angrily responds, "Never! Guns are bad!" She says her people will use bows and arrows and other such things. "Against machine guns? Against armored cars?" cries Vic, horrified at what he envisions as a slaughter. "You make me wanna cry!" When the battle against the soldiers actually happens, though, this trope is played straight - the natives pretty easily trounce the villains and their advanced weaponry.
    • Also played literally straight at a few points, at least the rock part - big boulders get rolled down onto the soldiers.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Wadman, who at one point is able to deduce from very deep zebra hoofprints that it's carrying two people, and from this figure out it's Sheena and Vic on horseback.
    • However, he's only as good at his job as the plot requires. At one point, Sheena and Vic have climbed a tree. Wadman is able to find their footprints and even deduce that Vic tripped and fell at one point, but fails to comprehend that the reason the tracks end is because they're up in the tree right above him. Heck, he can't even answer the question of whether or not they kept going past that point. He basically seems to act as if he believes his prey just vanished into thin air.
    • Then there's Boto, the seemingly goofy card player who helps Fletch out.
    • Utterly averted with poor Vic, who mistakes lion pawprints for a zebra's hoofprints.
      Vic: Footprints. Running, I think. Hey, how many toes has a zebra got, if any?
      Fletch: [to himself] He thinks he's the last of the Mohicans!
  • Running Gag: Fletch's weird "water diet."
  • Scenery Porn: Besides the score, the film's main saving grace is the stunningly beautiful cinematography showing off the African countryside in all its splendor.
  • Schmuck Bait: How Vic overcomes Blau in the back of the Land Rover. He turns the volume up on his portable radio really loud to annoy him, then when an angry Blau moves to turn it off, Vic jumps him and throws him out.
    Vic: Nice melody, huh?
  • Standard Hollywood Strafing Procedure: Done by the helicopter against a herd of deer.
  • Tempting Fate: Sheena's parents, as they're entering the cave.
    Betsy: The wobblies. Remember what Chief Haromba said.
    Phillip: Yeah, these caves can have strange echo effects. But you know as well as I do, Bets; echoes don't kill people.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Sheena's mother, Betsy Ames, screams out her daughter's name in the middle of an unstable cave, resulting in a massive cave-in that kills her and her husband.
    • Making it worse is is the fact Chief Haromba warned them about the cave's instability beforehand.
  • Waterfall Shower: Tanya Roberts took two.
  • Your Cheating Heart: King Jabalani's fiancee, Zanda, is sleeping with his brother Otwani and also involved in the plot to assassinate him.

Sex MissionFilms of the 1980sSixteen Candles

alternative title(s): Sheena
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