Director: Wong Jing
Cast: Cecilia Cheung, Ronald Cheng, Wong Jing, Lin Miao Ke, Shao Bing, Liu Hua, Ekin Cheng, Lucas Tse, Philip Ng
RunTime: 1 hr 38 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG (Some Fighting Scenes)
Opening Day: 25 August 2011
Synopsis: Peggy (Cecilia Cheung), the renowned charming director in the advertising industry, was married with a 3 years old son Lucas (Lucas Tse). She was persuaded by her boss to shoot an advertisement on a deserted island with the so-called “The Strongest Man in the Galaxy” kung fu master Mr. Big (Ronald Cheng), a notorious womanizer and his daughter Cissy (Lin Miao Ke). Andy (Ekin Cheng), Peggy’s husband, failed to dissuade his wife to back out of the job, left home in a temper with Lucas. Peggy had no choice but to depart for the island.
At the pier where the filming crew took a boat to the island, Mr. Big had a row with Cobra (Liu Hua) and his 4 fellow ruffians over a new fishing boat. Cobra's gang got a treasure map and planned to search for a huge treasure hidden on the island. To avoid further publicity, Cobra backed off, but planned to get rid of the filming crew on the island.
On the deserted island, all mobile phones were dead, cutting off all contacts with the outside world. Cobra’s fishing boat was anchored on the other side of the island, where they kept an eye on the filming crew. However, they did not realize that there were two environmentalists, Star (Shao Bing) and his child Starlet (Peng Gen) residing on the island, leading an eco-friendly “primitive” life like Tarzan. The mischievous Starlet walked off with Cobra’s map. Cobra was furious & went after them. While filming the advertisement, Mr. Big, playing Tarzan, collided with Star and fell into a coma. Mr. Big, who had led an unhealthy life, was no longer the outstanding kung fu master he once was. Star, as an expert in Chinese herbal medicines, helped Mr. Big to cleanse all the toxin in his body.
When Mr. Big came to his senses, he felt as if he was a “New” man. When the shooting was finished, the whole crew had a celebration party on the island. Cobra came to retrieve the treasure map but was beaten back by Star’s booby traps. Meanwhile, his men kidnapped Mr. Big’s agent, Wayne (Wong Jing), Cissy and Starlet. With the treasure map stolen by Starlet, Mr. Big, Star and Peggy ventured into the jungle and found the huge stash of treasure at “Heaven beyond the Sky”, where many deadly traps were laid. At this time, Cobra and his men arrived, with the intent to plunder the national treasure...
Wong Jing must somehow be prescient to the fact that Hollywood’s celebrity husband-and-wife couple Nicholas Tse and Cecilia Cheung were going to split up, hence his decision to cast them in two separate films this summer- ‘Treasure Inn’ for the former; and ‘Treasure Hunt’ for the latter. While the similarity in their titles may suggest some sort of connection between the two, there is in fact none- although it seems Cecilia has gotten the short end of the stick, judging by their relative qualities.
Indeed, Wong Jing’s films have always been hit-or-miss affairs, but his latest is quite simply a miss. Boasting every one of his flaws as a scriptwriter and a director but none of his strengths, it is an unfunny excuse of a film masquerading as family entertainment, shocking in its audacity to proclaim itself as ‘the best family film this summer’ on its ads. It could very well be the exact opposite, so take that as fair warning for anyone who thinks that there could be some wholesome fun to be had.
The plot if you have to know revolves around some ancient treasure lost on a deserted island, which a group of baddies led by Cobra (Mainland star Liu Hua) are after. Unfortunately for them, their quest leads them to cross paths with Peggy (Cecilia Cheung), who is on the island with gongfu star Mr Big (Ronald Cheng), his manager Wayne (Wong Jing) and their kids to film a milk powder commercial (talk about blatant product placement!). Complications ensue- well, to be sure, the simplistic plot means that there aren’t really that many complications- and after countless times of wondering when it would end, it finally does happily-ever-after in 98 mins.
That’s more than one half hours of your time you’ll never get back- and for that, you can blame the infamously prolific writer/director Wong Jing. The multi-hyphenate Jing sadly fails in every aspect here, whether as actor, scriptwriter or director. As the director, he doesn’t provide the film with any polish, haphazardly going from scene to scene without paying attention to their intended rhythm or purpose. Of course, if you’re familiar with Jing’s films, then you shouldn’t know to expect better.
But what’s truly disappointing is how Jing even fails at his usual trademark screwball humour. Besides a moment right at the start when a character enters a cave and starts searching for lost treasure when in fact its location is clearly indicated with an arrow, the rest of the movie is totally devoid of the kind of humour we have come to expect from Jing. And without those ‘mo lei tau’ moments to enliven the movie, this just becomes a tired exercise in Jing’s customary unoriginality.
Jing’s sloppiness seems to have been quite infectious on set, going by the performances on display. This is Cecilia’s second big-screen appearance after her hiatus following her marriage five years ago, but if this and ‘All’s Well Ends Well 2011’ is all she can offer, then she might as well retire. Her co-star Ronald fares no better, his over-acting hammy and downright childish. Only Mainland star Shao Bing manages to preserve a measure of dignity in the film, playing the island’s sole dweller together with his son (Peng Gen).
We haven’t forgotten too how this movie is supposed to be Nicholas and Cecilia’s eldest son, the four-year-old Lucas Tse’s big screen debut- but let us tell you that if that’s what you’re here for, you’ll be sorely disappointed. After all, Lucas only appears at the start and the end of the movie- ditto for Ekin Cheng. Yes, even the supposed highlight turns out to be a downer, which leaves little, if anything, worth redeeming about this sorry effort.
Take our advice, Nicholas and Cecilia- you guys may have split up, but if there’s one thing you should stand in solidarity about, it’s to pick your projects more carefully, especially if they come with the name Wong Jing in them. Cos right now, despite the umpteen years of experience behind him, Wong Jing really doesn’t count for much in a film anymore.
(A movie that is as bad as a Wong Jing film can get- and that means lazy scriptwriting, sloppy direction and piss-poor performances)
Review by Gabriel Chong