Owing money to some mean mobsters, Alan (Terence Hill) learns of a fabulous treasure that his uncle claims can be found on an elusive south sea island. So he sneaks aboard a yacht belonging to brawny Charlie O'Brien (Bud Spencer) who, along with his comedy parrot, is attempting to sail around the world as sponsored by Puffin's high-energy marmalade (don't ask). Charlie is understandably angry to find a fast-talking stowaway on board and grows even angrier after Alan's antics leave them stranded on the island of Bongo Bongo where adventure awaits.
If there was one thing Italian action-comedy greats Terence Hill and Bud Spencer could do well it was mine a formula. At first they cranked out comedy westerns then segued into a slew of cop capers. Who Finds a Friend Finds a Treasure was their third jungle romp, following ...All the Way Boys (1972) and I Am for the Hippopotamus (1979), with a title seemingly drawn from a throwaway line in their international hit Crime Busters (1977). The film recycles all the motifs from past Hill/Spencer romps: fast-motion punch-ups, bizarre one-liners ("You couldn't beat your way out of a grapefruit", "Are you a parrot or a winged rhinoceros?"), a semi-satirical, slightly eccentric take on American pop culture, big slapstick set-pieces that hark back to silent movies, Bud as the surly giant with Herculean strength, Terence as the amiable, fast-talking rogue with a heart of gold.
These films may have been repetitive but there was something comforting about their familiarity that endeared them to a generation of children. Terence and Bud came across like a couple of overgrown kids who loved playing pranks and indulging in a good scrap, but often went out of their way to defend the downtrodden. After a sluggish first half hour things liven up once the boys reach Bongo Bongo where they discover a crazed Japanese soldier (John Fujioka) left over from the Second World War, along with a tribe of wacky natives led by the gregarious Queen Mama (Louise Bennett) and including veteran actor-stuntman Sal Borgese in brownface. In a strange plot twist, the island is invaded by a load of gay pirates dressed in leather bondage gear (yes, really) who then team up with Alan's mafioso enemies who arrive in search of the treasure. The knockabout humour proves less than politically correct but is more goofy than offensive.
Few would expect Sergio Corbucci to show much flair for comedy given he specialised in grim, borderline nihilistic spaghetti westerns like Django (1966) and The Great Silence (1968), and to be honest they would be right even though Corbucci continued to steer the duo through several major hits. Despite his heavy-handed direction the film still exudes an endearing lunatic energy with some well choreographed stunts staged like something out of a Looney Tunes cartoon. Disco-reggae flavoured soundtrack from Carmen and Michelangelo La Bionda.