In a desert where countless prosperous dynasties have flourished and fallen, there is rumor of a treasure of unbelievable riches buried among it. A group of mysterious guardians have been guarding the map to the location of the treasure until a fierce rivalry erupted. A notorious international crime group, The Company hunted down the map keeper and before they managed to secure the map, the keeper passed the map to a young man. The man’s name was Ciao Fei and he was forced to give up the map to save the live of his mentor’s daughter Lan Ting. He now embarks on a dangerous journey to recover the map and fight to protect the ancient treasure. The Treasure Hunter looks fairly nice, has interesting locations, but just didn’t really do it for me.
The story is intentionally unclear as you go and a lot of the character’s backstories are told through flashbacks as the movie goes. Which, by the way, I hate when movies do this. There was zero love chemistry between Jay and Lin Chi Ling. There was no romance and it seemed like the actors were lost on set. Perhaps it’s the truckload of mushy and uninteresting dialog that kills the chemistry between them. Additionally, despite what you may think, the amount of tomb raiding is minimal in the film, as most of the action takes place out in the desert. I was execting a good cave dwelling movie but I suppose I got sucker punched.
2009 was a quiet year for Chinese productions. But, the end of December was pretty busy, judging from the action the Chinese box office saw. This film reclaimed the #1 spot and it left me scratching my head. The film possesses no plot other than a mad scrambling to grab the treasure map. Chou is his usual self as a one-expression hero looking good with the aid of an over the top wire-fu show. I, for one, have big expectation for 2010 and I hope this art of filmmaking gets left behind. If you haven’t heard of the main actor in this film, you soon will, as Treasure Hunter stars Jay Chou who is also playing Kato opposite Seth Rogen in the upcoming re-imagining of The Green Hornet. Although this film sucked, he is still an actor to keep your eye on.
The hybrid production set combines worlds that are both ancient and modern, so the movie can be very unsettling at times. Although the film is called The Treasure Hunter, the film’s actual treasure hunt only lasts for 30 minutes. Instead, most of the film is packed with redundant episodes and dialogues. The obviously derivative elements in Treasure Hunter won’t find too much support among more discerning adventure movie fans. But the responsibility for every misstep in this film should fall upon Chu, because he allows these atrocities to happen. This is the last film to open in China in 2009 and I am ready to close the book on that year and start looking towards a future of better and smarter made films. See this if you must, but it is a complete mess of a film in my opinion.