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花旗少林 (1994)
Treasure Hunt

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 06/03/2008
Summary: Uneven.

Before he made two real good comedy movies with Stephen Chow Sing-Chi, director Jeff Lau Chun-Wai went off the track with this badly realized Lunar New Year film. Treasure Hunt [1994] features Chow Yun-Fat in uneven scenario that can't decide what kind of movie it wants to be. Nice cinematography from future Academy Award winner Peter Pau Tak-Hai makes this worth a look-see. Action Director Phillip Kwok Chun-Fung manages to design some interesting sequences that save you from completely wasting 105 minutes.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/27/2005

Chow plays a CIA agent sent to a monastery in China to get out a special package. The "package" turns out to be a girl (Wu) who has psychic powers. When he learns that the government wants to use the girl for experiments, he decides to help. Of course, this also sets off a romance between the two.

Treasure Hunt is a bit of a mixed bag. There's elements of action, romance, drama and comedy, but nothing seems to really gel together. The movie starts out as the typical high-powered Chow action pic, but once he gets to China, the pace really slows down and the script's weaknesses become readily apparent. While Chow and Wu have good chemistry together, their romantic scenes come off as a bit melodramatic and (at times) downright silly, such as one where the two are flying through the air like something out of A Chinese Ghost Story. There's also a lot of stupid cliched parts, such as when Chow tries to teach the monks baseball that just look ridiculous... and there's also a really annoying little kid running around too. There is a pretty good gunfight near the end, but it can't really save the movie. After about a hour of fairly light-hearted entertainment, you can't expect the audience to get into a gunfight. It just seems gratuitous and placed in to please fans of Chow and John Woo's collaborations.

While it does have a unique plot, good acting and decent gunfights, Treasure Hunt is probably for big Chow Yun-Fat fans only. The movie's erratic pacing and weak script will most likely put off the casual viewer.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 02/14/2002
Summary: Not too bad

The other reviewers seem to all say the same thing, that it is pretty bad in places, but other times it's so enjoyable that you forget the floors.

Well, in my opinion I would pretty much say the same. I have only seen this once, when it first came out, but from all the problems about it I can remember, I wouldn't watch it again. Still, it's one of those movies you should watch anyway....I think you will have difficulty saying you 100% like it or hate it, because there are so many problems with it, though some of the scenes seem so realistic you just have to love them.

Rating [2.5/5]

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 02/14/2002
Summary: Great fun

Granted, the plot sucked in this movie; it's just completely incoherent. But there's enough humor, action and good acting that makes the movie work. Wu Chien Lien looks gorgeous, and Chow Yun Fat's performance makes you forget that he's gained 30 lbs since The Bund. It might take you 2 or 3 views to get the entire story. What really made me like the story is the comedy, some of which require the efficiency in Cantonese or Mandarin to feel. Then there's this little fat disciple of Shaolin (who are rare and extremely popular in China/HK/Taiwan) who almost steals the entire show--if it weren't for the presence of Wu Chien Lien (WHO WAS IN 10 MOVIES IN 1994, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??), Kuo Choi, Gordon Liu, Chin Han, etc.

Speaking of Chin Han, this man is so popular in the Mandarin-speaking world. I don't think he's ever played a villain before, but he is excellent here. Also, there's a well-organized (but weird feeling) fight scene between 2 of the best kung fu actors of all time - Gordon Liu (who has also gained some weight since Master Killer) and Kuo Choi. It feels magnificent to see these 2 kung fu veterans duel on-screen again. The first time I saw this movie was about 5 years ago, at which time I had no idea who were Liu and Choi, so this is actually the first movie I saw them in. Actually, believe it or not, I'd never seen any of the cast in a movie prior to seeing this one--not even Chow yun fat or Chin Han.

The ending sucked... but then again the whole plot sucked. But don't let that put you off; you'll laugh plenty and enjoy everything during minutes 20-70 of the movie. The beginning and end have nothing to do with the middle part.


Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 02/03/2002
Summary: Worth watching for the good bits

I didn't realise when I was watching this that it was directed by Jeff Lau - if I had, I might have been less befuddled by the experience. It's another one of his "guess where the movie's going next" tales. We are introduced to Chow Yun Fat and Michael Wong at the start, who are undercover CIA agents in the US. 10 minutes later, Chow is told that he is required to go to China to help steal a "national treasure". He agrees and next thing we know he's being taken to the Shaolin Temple, where he is to hide out. Jeff then apparently completely forgets the whole CIA thing, and for the next hour it isn't even mentioned. It becomes Chow Yun Fat hanging out in Shaolin Temple, where Gordon Liu is still the abbot apparently, and showing the monks how inferior their Chinese culture is to Western culture. Like, really... the apex of this is when we see the monks all dressed in baseball outfits, drinking coca cola and seemingly being as happy and fulfilled as a human could possibly be.

At Shaolin, Chow Yun Fat also comes across Wu Chien Lien - an unusually female presence for the temple, but she is apparently confined there because she has "supernatural powers" so they don't want her hurting herself or something. Chow & Wu (who has never looked finer, I must say) fall for each other, and most of this part of the film plays out as a romantic comedy. I should mention the comedy... some truly absurd and dumb humour here, but there at moments that work and are v. funny!

Eventually, Jeff Lau apparently remembers the CIA bit, and re-introduces that part of the plot. Apparently there's been a lot happening since we last met up with it (not surprising since we must have been at Shaolin for months without anybody keeping us informed), and Chow rapidly gets caught up in intrigue and danger and a bunch of action sequences. Surprisingly, Lau does manage to bring the movie together here, and in the end you could be forgiven for thinking it was actually coherent. It all gets a lot more serious here - no goofy anymore.

It's another massively uneven Jeff Lau movie, but one with ample charms to be found too... Gordon Liu's abbot and Philip Kwok's cab driver, Wu Chien Lien in general and a lot of luscious cinematography. And the fact that Michael Wong is only on screen for about 2 minutes total :) I could have done without a lot of the comedy, **really** done without the "look how great western culture is, Coca Cola will solve all your woes" parts, but I'm glad I saw the rest of it.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 01/03/2002

Star vehicle for Wu Chien Lien and Chow Yun Fat. The movie is a mixed bag, as it oscillates between being a fish out of water comedy, a tragic romance and an action movie. Chow plays an American agent who goes to the Shaolin temple on some mysterious assignment. Other than bringing some elements of Western culture like baseball, Pepsi and Gameboys to the tradition Shaolin environment, he spends most of his time falling for a mysterious woman with supernatural powers played by Wu Chien Lien. And then there are the requisite bad guys, ensuring that Chow gets to blow and shoot things up. Overall, the movie is enjoyable if you like the stars, and don't mind the heavy dose of sappy melodrama.

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 05/08/2001
Summary: Pretty good

A movie which looks action, but isn't!! In fact the action scenes sort of ruin the mood and atmosphere of the movie!!
The story is more a love story than anything else and with the EXTREME violence in this movie, it takes you out of the hynotic love between the 2 main characters!! A good movie to watch and maybe even cry too!!


Reviewed by: TequilaYuen
Date: 06/11/2000
Summary: It's not as bad as everyone says! at all

I picked up this VHs awhile ago on a CYF whim. The film had been critically
hated, and bashed on most of the review sites I had seen. However the cover with chow yun fat in the long coat twirling in a leonesque standoff on the front cover, I had to have it. It couldn't be that bad...and it wasn't.

The problem with this film is it tries to hard to show all sides of Chow Yun Fat's persona as a HK superstar, The film goes from Heroic Bloodshed, to slapstick comedy, to Meladramatic touching love story all in the span of two hours. I am a HUGE Chow Yun Fat fan, and can consider myself somewhat of an authority, and even I in no way hated this film!

Chow Yun Fat plays Ah Ching, an American CIA agent in HK who is hired by the USA government to return a stolen national treasure from a Shaolin Temple. The treasure turns out to be a sweet young woman gifted with supernatural powers (why she is a national treasure is never really explained). That being said, Chow Yun Fat falls in love with her, and protects her from other Vengeful CIA agents who want to sell her to the highest bidder.

What I didn't like about this film was some of the comedy, some. I enjoyed most of it, which is very unusual for me becuase I am not a fan of most Hk comedy. But it is just too funny. From Chow's interaction with the Shaolin Monks, to theFoul Mouthed Cabbie who used to be a Shaolin Master, to the fat little monk named "priestling grasshopper", no matter how many times i watch it, it is still funny.

The film is also a very touching love story, Yun Fat and Lien have a real
chemistry. The ending always has me in tears no matter how cheesy it is and predictable. I have shown this film to many of my friends, and i watch as they laugh at the funny parts and hide their tears at the ending.

All in all if you are looking for a hardcore John Woo, Ringo Lam bulletfest, you may wanna give this one a skip. But if you are interested in a cute romantic drama with action thrown into the mix, then you have to see this movie. I would try to rent it first though- it depends on your taste.

Also- beware of the tacked on happy ending. HK audiences started to hate unhappy endings after the 1990's, so one was tacked on at the end of this film. When the train leaves in the distance, that is the directors original ending.

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 12/26/1999
Summary: A romance ? Well, sort of, but ......

A romance ? Well, sort of, but it's tangled up with several competing subplots.

Writer/Director Jeff Lau has Chow playing bits of all of his great roles, creating a kind-of pastiche. The Killer, Hardboiled, The On Fire series, Better Tomorrow, and even Ah Long and some of his lighter roles. One minute he's shooting up bad guys in the US, then he's engaging an Abbot at the Shaolin monastery (Gordon Liu, who is hilarious) in a swearing match, then he has flowers growing out of his hair, then he's taking a romantic flight (without a plane) with Ng Sin Lin, then he's arguing with a chiselling taxi driver who is also a former Shaoliner, then he's shooting more bad guys ....... hell, he must have been confused.

Warning : trying to make sense of the utterly nonsensical plot could damage your mental health ! And for those who, like me, couldn't spot Michael Wong, he's Chow's associate near the beginning who reappears about 2/3 of the way through in mysterious circumstances.

Although I can't imagine any guy NOT falling for the incredibly sweet Sin Lin, I found it hard to accept the initial attraction between Chow and her, and the large amount of screen time they spend apart is disappointing. But, as the film progresses (or, rather, lurches), their few scene together are touching. I agree that the final scene looks like a tacked-on afterthought, but there's so little sense in the rest that it's just one more bit of "say what ?".

All in all, this film goes from guns-blazing action to quiet meditation to screwball comedy to light romance to loyalty testing to murderous action to ........ In fact, an entertaining and sometimes touching complete mess.

Put your brain into neutral and enjoy.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Romantic drama, lighter on the action than the poster suggests.Chow Yun Fat plays Ah Ching, a CIA agent sent to steal a "national treasure" from mainland China. Worth watching if you're a fan of either of the stars, maybe not otherwise. Apparently a stupid ending was tacked on to the end. You might want to leave as soon as you see the train disappear in the sunset.

[Reviewed by Anonymous]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

In this bubble-headed romance, Chang Ching (Chow Yun-Fat) is a Chinese CIA operative/hit-man assigned to watch over the transport of a Chinese National Treasure at a mainland Shaolin monastery. There, he meets and falls in love with Miss Mei (Wu Xian Lian, in one of her most winning role), who turns out to have extraordinary psychic abilities. In other words, she's the treasure. A corrupt police officer plots to hijack Mei, and Chang tries to intercepts her, leading to an explosive finish.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 7