Battle For The Treasure (1988)

Directed by: Burt Petersen
Written by: Derek Law
Producer: Tomas Tang
Starring: Joey Ryan, Randy Donner, Bert Brooks, Stephanie Mitchell & Norman Linn

Filmark's gwailos merges with Thai war mayhem where for once, the original possesses more qualities, at least technically. As Filmark's contribution tells us via their sparse scenes, there is indeed a battle for a treasure, sought after by its people and the Viet Cong. Getting an advantage in the hunt by kidnapping the princess of the people the treasure belongs to, in comes the "I do it my way, especially using my rocket pack"-hero Roger Kane and the mayhem is on...

Lacking Western players AAAALMOST all the way through, on his own is one of Tomas Tang's enlisted actors looking down upon nothing but in reality "interacting" with the plot of this entertaining cut & paste product from Filmark. Yet they essentially are presenting a complete version of the (1*) 1985 Thai movie ทับทิมโท.

Without clocking it, Filmark's scenes can't amount to more than 5 minutes of initial exposition dump, placing themselves in an office scene "talking" to our Thai hero and ocassionally looking down onto the action mayhem from 1985. It therefore gives our source movie a chance to seemingly play on its own terms as it surely is near complete. And its technical chops amuses and surprises as this is quite a high budget display of James Bond-ish means of battling enemies, varied scenery but rather repetitive war-scenes. Having David Chiang all of a sudden turn up along with Norman Tsui raises eyebrows and the scene where an elephant tries to prevent a helicopter from taking off is borderlining on wonderful. The stronger sense of camera work and adventure aids it, as well as tight pace for the first half (again thanks to the variety on display, including glider planes engaging in aerial battles).

For once the action hysterics on the Filmark poster matches the content but it has trouble keeping pace and variety going strong the longer it runs. Still lensed suffuciently well throughout its running time and offering up plenty of gunplay, after a while it becomes the usual shooting back and forth we encounter in low budget Thai actioners, only shot on a somewhat grander scale. That the best action takes place mid movie as David Chiang and Norman Tsui engage in some competent martial arts is a problem too as this feels like the fever pitch of the movie but the makers can not top this. Plus a plethora of characters and not enough of the coolness brought by Roger Kane makes the affair hard to connect to but enough fun and likeable traits are present. That the plethora of Thai cinema IFD and Film acquired actually had some technical merit is assuring to see. Would've felt that way even without Tomas Tang's own scenes inserted into the original here.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson


(1) Thanks to Jesús Manuel Pérez Molina who helped out identifying the title of the original movie.