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Chinese Title (sp)
Chinese Title (td)
Title in pinyin
: hua1 qi2 shao3 lin2 (1994)

Treasure Hunt (1994)

Review written by: Dragyn, 2001-02-22

It seems that Chow Yun-Fat has made a lot of these kind of films - "fairy stories", I suppose. "Treasure Hunt" has been universally hated by critics and fans alike, and it is true that there is little to like, apart from perhaps the always charismatic, superbly talented Chow Yun-Fat himself - but even he is not made the best of here. The story itself is almost too airy-fairy to be believable - it is about a secret agent (Chow Yun-Fat)who stumbles upon a monastery where they are keeping a national treasure: a girl who has magical powers. Predictably, he falls in love with her, and they all live happily every after. Because this central plot is weak, dubious sublpots are added, which include a slightly funny role played by Mad Dog from previous CYF flick "Hard Boiled" (I can't remember the actor's name). In this manner, the plot beomes rambling and exceedingly boring, and seems to try and cover as many different and incompatible genres as possible: romance, comedy, tragedy, drama, and even heroic bloodshed. It is all very nicely photographed, but that doesn't help very much. The director doesn't seem fully in control, and soem scenes appear to almost have been added on a whim; indeed, the happy ending was tacked on after it was decided that no one would watch a movie with an unhappy ending. The director originally wanted the film to end with the train pulling away from the station, which I personally think would have been preferable. Instead, a long and silly sequence is tacked needlessly on the end, reuniting the lovers in a ridiculously implausible fashion. The character Chow Yun-Fat plays seems to eb a hidueous conglomeration of all the roles he has ever played: there's the hard boiled cop ("Hard Boiled"), the stroppy cop ("City On Fire"), the romantic lead (almost anything pre-1986), and the dumb-guy-who-gets-lucky (once again, almost anything pre-1986), and the macho male hero (almost anything post-1986). In short, the director does not strecth him as an actor at all. So, in conclusion: only watch it if you're really bored, or a big fan of CYF - otherwise don't touch it with a barge-pole.







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