Taiwanese director Kevin Chu threw every trope he could think of at this production, managing to cannibalise several better movies in the process. Chief among them are The Good The Bad The Weird and Jackie Chan‘s The Myth. From an odd assortment of characters belting off into the desert in pursuit of a map and a treasure, to a tomb packed with treasures, Chu cheerfully mines cinematic gold and manages to avoid turning it into treasure.
All these desert chase scenes look alike
Jay Chou stars and it is not his finest hour. He was much better as Cato in The Green Hornet and I hated that movie. He was superb in The Curse of the Golden Flower even up against Chou Yun Fat and Gong Li. But here he just looks like he wandered in from another movie with a dodgy hair do. He’s the ‘Good’, I think, though he gets the motorbike and Eric Tsang, usually a much better actor, gets to pull faces and act weird.
Chou’s the star, so he gets the girl and the bike
There’s a bit of Wuxia, with bad guys leaping up out of the sand and a mummy type who fights with his bandages, and actually this stuff is great, but it doesn’t last long enough and makes no sense really. There’s romance with a girl (Lin Chi-Ling from Red Cliff) who does a nice turn in getting possessed by demons and wrapping her incredibly long legs around Chou’s neck. She’s a novelist so you could say it borrows a bit from Romancing the Stone though the last scenes are straight out of The Myth and The Good The Bad The Weird. And that’ pretty much sums up this movie – good in parts, bad in parts, but mostly just weird.