I thought for a while that I'd found a hidden gem in The Treasure Hunter. Everything starts off so well. Fighters erupt from under the sand, proceed to batter each other and then plunge back into the dunes. Exciting stuff. Not long after that you are treated to what can only be described as 'Bandage Man'. A man with bandages (obviously) that he uses to attack our plucky hero, Qiao Fei (Jay Chou) in glorious slow motion. It may all seem a tad strange, and the CG effects aren't the best, but I cut it some slack because of the level of creativity on show.
Then the middle section saunters in. Oh dear. Everything grinds to a halt as romance descends. Okay, Lan Ting (Chilling Lin) is fairly gorgeous, but do we really need so many scenes of them wittering on about liking each other? I can't really remember what else happens. Suffice to say that random dullness abounds. The only respite you get are the antics of the gormless henchmen who manage to raise a few smiles on occasion.
Fortunately, things pick up again for the finale in the lost city which borrows heavily from the Tomb Raider games and Raiders of the Lost Ark. But The Treasure Hunter never quite reaches the giddy peak of 'Bandage Man' again. A shame.
It's hard to say anything about the story because everything is so random (that word seems to keep cropping up). Characters appear. Fight a bit. Do something strange. Then vanish. You're never quite sure why. 'Bandage Man' is quality, but he's only in it for five minutes and in that time you never get to know who he is, what his allegiances are, or why he's covered in attack bandages.
I really wanted to like this film after the initial burst of action. Sadly it was not to be. It only cost me a couple of quid though and it's definitely worth that. Just don't set your expectations too high. Except for 'Bandage Man'. He's great.
If you like this you could also try:
Armour of God, Operation Condor.