Treasure Hunt 1994 Review: Nice scenery, good looking actors

A C.I.A. agent is assigned to go to Beijing to look for a hidden “treasure,” which turns out to be a woman who has supernatural powers, and is the National Treasure of China.

Although it is not unusual for kung-fu movies to have a romance in the story line with Treasure Hunt (Dong Tien Xuong Mau). This one does spend an unusual amount of time in romantic interludes where not a lot happens except flowers, stars, snow, and two hearts beating as one. The fights which do occur are brisk and well choreographed but not gory. Even the gory, ruthless action is mostly bloodless. And the mandatory kung-fu philosophical dialogues are mixed up with some quite unexpected western arguments.

That this odd patchwork flows along successfully is something of an achievement for the director and actors. It will never be a great action film (phim hanh dong xa hoi den). But if you just want to kick back and enjoy a short film with some nice scenery, good looking actors. And are not in the mood for something heavy, this might be it.

The actors have done better work elsewhere if you want more serious fare. See Chien-Lien Wu in Eat Drink Man Woman. See Yun-Fat Chow (Chau Nhuan Phat) in Hard Boiled or A Better Tomorrow.

The DVD is clear and sound is unremarkable. The music is repetitive and simple, but only invades the romantic interludes. I chose the Mandarin sound track which sometimes was odd since parts of the dialog are supposed to be in English or Cantonese (which is what the actors were using) and the translation couldn’t make up its mind which to use at times. The English subtitles were occasionally mistimed or ungrammatical but generally clear.

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