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The Golden Buddha

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 04/28/2007
Summary: The name's Cheung...Paul Cheung

A mix-up of briefcases on a flight to Singapore via Bangkok means Paul Cheung has to stay over in Thailand hunting his luggage. Instead, he finds a trail of death and violence and a small statue of the Buddha. Cheung learns that there are more of these statuettes, and that not everyone in Thailand can be trusted, especially when rumours of a large treasure start to emerge.

THE GOLDEN BUDDHA is a furiously paced thriller from the mid-sixties that tries to give Hong Kong its own Bond. In actual fact, it’s surprising how much of this ISN’T ripped-off from the 007 formula. For a start, our hero is a simple businessman, not a secret agent (albeit one with some knowledge of Judo and Karate) and Cheung certainly isn’t the suave womaniser Bond is (he meets one of his female co-stars when he accidentally knocks her off her feet at a railway station).

What gives the game away is the bizarre “Skeleton Gang”. Their hideout is an obvious attempt at emulating Ken Adam’s setwork from the Bond films of the time. Apart from looking slightly cheap, they don’t do a bad job. But the evil villain is hilarious – he strides around in what looks like a gold lamé space suit complete with black flowing cape. If you were a henchman, you would live in fear of one day just bursting into hysterics at the sight of him, and then experiencing his execution device – some kind of metal ball that does something unpleasant but you can’t really tell what.

The production values try to be high and glitzy, but let the side down occasionally. For example, you’ll find yourself looking out of the train windows at the same palm trees that endlessly repeat throughout the journey (even when the train stops at the station). The action scenes are also very primitive – this was several years before films such as VENGEANCE! and THE CHINESE BOXER revolutionised unarmed combat on the large screen.

But THE GOLDEN BUDDHA is still a fun film, and it’s worth watching just to see the diabolical villain and his lair. It’s a pity this didn’t start up a franchise the way DR NO did, as it would have been interesting seeing how the two developed over the years. As it is, I believe this is the only entry for this particular hero.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: sharkeysbar
Date: 03/04/2005
Summary: Hidden treasure, bad guys, beautiful girls, etc etc

A great little movie from the mid 1960s, lots of fun, cliched but it moves along at a good pace. Jeanette Lin Tsui and Paul Cheung Chang star in this detective thriller. Set in Thailand, its a chase to find the hidden treasure from the secret,. cryptic messages. The bad guys are superb! Trendy (for the 1960s) uniforms and an over the top bad guy boss, complete with a golden suit and a cape, he had me in stitches.
If it is judged by today's standards, it may look plain, considering the period, it is one great, exciting movie which moves at a cracking pace and before you know it, 100 minutes is up! Always a good sign for a movie in my book.
There are a few puzzles however, 1. how does Paul run around the Thai countryside in the middle of the day and never sweat?
2. why do bad guys just stand in line to die?
3. what part of Thailand do the masses speak fluent Mandarin? Haha.

Little things aside, watch this movie, it is great, a real 1960s blast!