Treasure Hunt | aka American Shaolin (1994) Review

"Treasure Hunt" Chinese DVD Cover

"Treasure Hunt" Chinese DVD Cover

Director: Jeff Lau
Writer: Edward Tang, Fiba Ma, Lee Wai Yee
Producer: Linda Kuk Mei Lai
Cast: Chow Yun Fat, Wu Chien Lien, Gordon Liu, Philip Kwok, Chin Han, Choi Yue, Roy Chiao, Michael Wong Man Tak, Giorgio Pasotti, Jun Kunimura, Jeff Lau, George Saunders
Running Time: 105 min.

By Numskull

“Lag.” Verb. To fall behind; to straggle; to fail to keep pace. In other words, to proceed at an inadequate rate.

Treasure Hunt lags.

Boy, does it EVER lag.

It lags so much, it sets a new standard in lagging.

Lag, lag, lag.

It lags by day, it lags by night. It lags so much, it’s out of sight. It lags left and it lags right. It takes lagging to a whole new height.

Yes sir, this movie sure does lag.

So, anyway…

Chow Yun-Fat plays a cop or a secret agent or whatever living in the United States, and he gets sent to China, and he’s supposed to find some treasure, and he stays at the Shaolin Temple, and there’s a nosy fat kid, and he gives the nosy fat kid his Game Boy, and the Game Boy actually has a cartridge in it unlike the Sega Game Gear in Rumble in the Bronx, and there’s a girl with supernatural powers, and she takes Chow Yun-Fat flying through the snow in a scene that lags and lags and lags and lags and lags and lags and lags and lags and lags and lags, and by the time the plot has actually taken a step forward the movie is half over. There’s one funny scene where a cab driver thinks Chow wants to fuck a donkey, and there’s the obligatory “show the kid’s ass” scene, and there’s a shootout where Chow pulls a shotgun out of nowhere, and there’s some hand to hand fighting, and then there’s more shooting, and there’s way too much romance. The details aren’t worth getting into.

Normally, I have a long attention span, but this friggin’ film knew just the right buttons to push to make me want to stop watching it and pretend that I finished it for review purposes. (Despite appearances to the contrary, I DID, in fact, watch the whole thing…except for the last 20 seconds or so, because the DVD began to skip and then totally stopped. Big loss.) A tear-jerker ending is set up reasonably well, and then almost immediately gets knocked down by a lame, commercialized conclusion. In a better movie, this would have annoyed me. In this movie, I was just happy the damn thing was over.

Numskull’s Rating: 4/10

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