Case Number 17937: Small Claims Court


MTI // 2008 // 95 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 18th, 2009

The Charge

The 2012 mentions are, thankfully, kept to a minimum.

The Case

So there's this treasure and it's lost and it's Mayan. What does that mean? Why Michael Madsen is going to show up and start yelling, of course! And that's what he does; reporting for duty as the villain du jour and screaming into a cell phone until his face turns the shade of V8 tomato juice. Then, a few minutes later, he walks off the set to cash his paycheck, I assume.

The object of his villainy? A magic Mayan artifact that resides somewhere in an underground pond and may or may not contain supernatural properties, but is almost certainly worth big-ass money. Seeking the same thing is a group of young archaeologists who have gone missing, prompting the sister of one the researchers to come searching for their whereabouts. She teams up with a studly beach bum and together they go on an adventure that features lots of jumping into pools of water and not a whole lot else.

Truthfully, I was expecting much worse. Lost Treasure of the Maya is far from an Oscar-contender, but it mostly succeeds in what it sets out to do; putting forth a breezy, tropical adventure that blends a light-hearted touch with some low-impact jungle shenanigans.

The characters are all fine enough -- yes, even Madsen's bellowing bad guy -- and the plot is a standard-issue Indiana Jones knock-off, but where the film stumbles is in the action department. This thing is billed as an adventure, though the only craziness that blows up on screen is a tepid car chase, a sprint through the jungle, and a small shootout at the end. The majority of the runtime is devoted to building the mythology of the artifact and developing the romantic tension between the two leads. The former is a wasted effort, but the latter sports enough sparks and playfulness to keep things interesting.

Is this worth a look? Overall, it's certainly much better than the usual Scifi made-for-TV pap that populates the rental shelves, the scenery is colorful and the tone is fun and laid-back. Keep your standards low enough and your desire to see balls-to-the-wall action in check and I can see entertainment in your future.

Nothing much happening in the DVD: a vibrant 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 2.0 stereo mix and no extras.

The Verdict

Not Guilty, but mainly because I'm full of Christmas spirit.

Review content copyright © 2009 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 70

Perp Profile
Studio: MTI
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* None

Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* None

* IMDb