Kung fu mixes with Indiana Jones, and Jay Chou (周杰倫) and Lin Chi-ling (林志玲) are in the lead roles. The Treasure Hunter sounds like a film that can’t go wrong. That is until old-time slapstick comedy whiz Chu Yen-ping (朱延平) manages to spoil the Chinese version of this ancient civilization adventure with an utterly nonsensical story plagued with stale humor and dull, silly dialogue.
In a role tailor-made for the Mando-pop king to show off his aloof charm, Chou plays Ciao Fei, a treasure hunter and kung fu master. The hero is in search of a map that will lead him to a lost city brimming with riches. His companions on the journey include city gal-cum love interest Lan Ting (played by Lin), Chinese thespian Chen Daoming’s (陳道明) deadpan archaeologist, and comic sidekick Pork Rib played by Eric Tsang (曾志偉).
Chou’s real-life pal Will Liu () plays the mummy-man villain. There is also the group of thugs termed the Sandstorm Legion who never make it back to the screen after pulling down a dingy bar at the beginning of the movie.
Even more puzzling is the laughable Eagle of the Desert, who is supposed to be a mysterious guardian of all things in the arid region, who suddenly and inexplicably exits the movie with the girl he loves.
The film possesses no plot other than a mad scrambling to grab the treasure map. The romance between Chou and Lin doesn’t work either. The onscreen love is killed prematurely by a plethora of coy, mushy dialogue and feeble flirting. The good news is that despite the poorly written script, baby-voiced Lin manages to play her babe-to-ogle-at role with dignity. Chou is his usual self as a one-expression hero looking good with the aid of an over-the-top wire-fu show.
THE TREASURE HUNTER
CHU YEN-PING (朱延平)
JAY CHOU (周杰倫) AS CIAO FEI, LIN CHI-LING
(林志玲) AS LAN TING, ERIC TSANG (曾志偉) AS PORK RIB, CHEN DAOMING (陳道明) AS MASTER HUA
IN MANDARIN AND CANTONESE WITH CHINESE AND ENGLISH SUBTITLES
The final verdict: It is best to avoid The Treasure Hunter unless you want to have a good laugh at the movie.