Devil's Treasure

Director: Jeng Cheung-who (a.k.a. Jeong Chang Hwa and a few others)
Year: 1973

Part adventure film, part thriller, this Golden Harvest production slowly evolves into a much better film than initially anticipated as it ratchets up the tension and leaves the “so cool” factor behind. Directed by Korean born Jeng Cheung-woo who was responsible for such terrific action films as Broken Oath, The Skyhawk and King Boxer, there is a fair amount of action here with a few future stars, but purists might be annoyed to see dramatic actor O Chun Hung knock around Sammo Hung and Ing-Sik Whang (also Korean) – not only individually but even when they team up against him. Still, it’s always good to see Sammo early on in his career and not only does he have a fairly large role with a couple fights but was co-action choreographer as well. On the other hand, fans of Nora Miao may be disappointed to see her strictly in a non-action faithful wife and good mother role.

Wang Chun (O Chun Hung) establishes his tough guy credentials early on in the film when a gang of punks tries to coerce money out of him. He quickly knocks them about and sends them scuttling away on all fours – and then swims across the harbor to Hong Kong! Why? Just because he can. He is a professional diver and needs to pay off his dead father’s debts – so when two slimy characters in sunglasses and smirks show up and offer him what could well be a shady job he only hesitates for a minute before accepting it. They have him dive down to a Japanese ship sunk in WWII to find a box of gold bars and when they open it up all I could think was $1,000 an ounce! It made me feel greedy. Of course, now that the gang has the gold they want to get rid of Wang but he fully expects this and turns the tables on them – but just as he does a gang of four Japanese hoodlums show up to claim the gold and kill off everyone – Sammo and Whang being two of them - though behind his droopy moustache Sammo looks more like a used car salesman than a thug.
The resourceful Wang turns the tables on them as well and before he knows it he has all the gold and sets off for home and his waiting sweetheart, Yen Yen (Nora). Jump ahead six years and Wang has wisely left the country for some unnamed land – perhaps Canada or Australia – and married Yen Yen and procreated Shan Shan. Here he owns a vast farm and is a model citizen, but not so wisely he didn’t change his name and sure enough the Japanese gang shows up one day on his doorstep demanding the gold unless he wants to see his wife and daughter killed. This touches off a tense cross country chase as Wang and his family try to escape by car, on foot and by rail in a land that is totally barren of any other people. It makes for a decently entertaining brew of action and nerves though it at times is a bit frustrating when Wang constantly leaves various members of the gang alive when he has a chance to kill them. But then the movie would have been a lot shorter.

The VCD is widescreen. The interior and night scenes are almost impossible to see and there are a number of them. Probably 25% of the time the sub-titles are indecipherable.

My rating for this film: 6.5