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  Treasure Hunt Remember kids, family is the greatest treasure
Year: 2011
Director: Wong Jing
Stars: Cecilia Cheung, Lucas Tse, Ekin Cheng, Ronald Cheng, Shao Bing, Liu Hua, Zhou Qi-Qi, Lin Miao-Ke, Wong Jing, Zhang Keyuan, Joe Cheng Cho, Li Dan-Li, Xing Yu, Peng Geng, Jacqueline Chong Si-Man
Genre: Comedy, Martial Arts, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Peggy (Cecilia Cheung) is a workaholic director of TV commercials struggling to spend quality time with her husband (Ekin Cheng, in a glorified cameo) and little son (Lucas Tse). Hoping to earn funding for her dream movie project, Peggy agrees to film a commercial with incompetent action star Mr. Big (Ronald Cheng) on the remote Xeiyeng Island. Although Peggy bonds with Big’s precocious daughter, Cissy (Lin Miao-Ke), the movie star’s drunken, womanizing antics alongside oafish agent Wayne (Wong Jing), who brings along his chubby, obnoxious son Goda (Zhang Keyuan), and bootylicious co-star Niu Jing Jing (Jacqueline Chong Si-Man) cause trouble wherever they go.

What the film crew don’t know is that crime boss Cobra (Liu Hua) and his gang of leather-clad kung fu thugs are also bound for Xeiying Island, hoping to unearth a hidden treasure from the Ming dynasty. After a bar brawl sees mysterious beauty Bei Bei (Zhou Qi-Qi) join the crew, our hapless heroes arrive on the island inhabited solely by vine-swinging environmentalist Star (Shao Bing) and his mischievous young son, Starlet (Peng Geng). Besides taking a fancy to the adorable Cissy, Starlet inadvertently swipes the treasure map away from Cobra. Aided by her friends, Peggy must elude ruthless criminals and uncover the hidden treasure so she can make it home to her beloved son.

After a six year absence from the screen following an overblown scandal, Hong Kong’s most popular contemporary actress Cecilia Cheung staged a major comeback in 2011 with several high profile films including this family-friendly romp written, produced, directed and co-starring Wong Jing, king of the low-brow, high-profit blockbuster. Treasure Hunt, one of several Hong Kong films to bear that title, marks a very canny and successful attempt to rehabilitate Cheung’s tarnished image in the public eye, pairing her opposite real-life son Lucas Tse and allowing audiences to empathise with her off-screen plight as a working mom.

Time has not dimmed Cheung’s glowing charisma nor taken the edge of her comedic flair, whilst she also wrings all the emotion from the film’s sporadic dramatic scenes. It is a slight yet sweet-natured yarn, overly cluttered with characters and sporting a simplistic message how family is “the best of all treasures”, yet lively, good-natured, occasionally affecting and often genuinely amusing, right from the opening scene with Cheung frantically rollerskating past obstacles along a busy street. Elsewhere, comedy star Ronald Cheng’s cowardly, inept martial arts actor seems like another of Wong Jing’s occasional digs at Jackie Chan, recycling ideas from his infamous High Risk (1995). However, the portly producer does not spare himself given he essays an equally clumsy and cowardly character. What is more, the film has a sweeter undertone as both Cissy, Goda and Starlet insist they love their fathers in spite of all their failings, which in Big’s case includes a tendency to cry over soap operas!

Lifting ideas from his own back catalogue as well as the Indiana Jones films, Spy Kids (2000), and most notably Nim’s Island (2008) and - yuck! - The Goonies (1985), Wong Jing crafts some surprisingly skilled and engaging set-pieces, climaxing with a suspenseful sequence that finds Cheung suspended over a lair of carnivorous plants while Cheng and the kids evade death-dealing booby-traps aboard a pirate ship. Charming young actors Peng Geng and Lin Miao-Ke show a great deal of promise.

Click here for the trailer

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


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