I didn't expect to like this Santo entry, but I was pleasantly surprised when I obtained a prereord of it.
Actually a sequel to OPERATION 67, the film again places Santo as a combination wrestler and agent for Interpol. In TREASURE, he continues his partnership with fellow agent Jorge Rubio (Jorge Rivero).
I'd always wanted to see a Santo film done with a reasonable budget and, of the 20-odd films I have in my collection, this comes closest to meeting that desire. With settings including Paris, Hong Kong, Mexico and San Francisco's famed Chinatown, the screenwriter at least tried to inject a global context. There is good use of local setting (in particular the pyramids in Mexico and some nice (if brief) night footage of a parade dragon in Chinatown.
The film possesses the expected mix of strong and weak points. On the negative side of the list, Santo looks bad in this one, spending the first portion of the film in a dishwater grey turtleneck which makes him look bloated. His mask also doesn't fit well, at times making it look as if he just tugged it on in time to dash in front of the cameras for his scene.
Equally disappointing is an otherwise well executed battle between a warship and Santo's swooping airplane. This sequence is spoiled as the aircraft -- riddled with shells, visibly hangs on wires for a few moments before exploding.
Then there's a nice trap in which thugs catch Jorge at a bullfight and plot to drop him into a pit containing several peevish bulls. After a short battle with Jorge and Santo, one of the criminals falls into the pit, but a _very_ obvious dummy is mauled for several minutes, as the heroes grimace above.
This, however, is comparatively minor when compared to the film's positive points. Santo and Jorge Rivero have a smooth, easygoing relationship. Santo unwinds enough to make a few amusing lines.
To be frank, Jorge seems to take this partnering a bit casually. In one scene, he stands and good naturedly watched two thugs beating and kicking the stuffings out of Santo. Still, there's a light and breezy friendship in there, between the contusions and bruises.
The storyline is also exciting, and includes some intriguing sequences, such as the museum robbery in which several guards are frozen in mid-step by gas -- allowing the protected thieves to abscond with a statue without interference.
Also adding to the action is a scene in which Santo is repeatedly struck by several cars which are chasing him through a car park. Another intriguing trick involves an ambush atop the Pyramid of the Sun. Santo goes there for a rendezvous, only to find the figure waiting for him is an explosive dummy.
The actual plotline brings back the Oriental crime gang from OPERATION 67, who are now searching for the lost treasure of Moctezuma. They know the secret of the trove's location is to be found on a statue in the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, but the snag is that a ring in Jorge's possession (he received it at the end of the prior film) contains the means of translating the map. The films goes from the gang's early attempt to recover the ring, into the duo's struggle to keep track of the gang and prevent their obtaining the treasure. In the end, the gang _do_ steal the treasure, but of course they go down in defeat.
Overall, a pleasing actioner with an "action theme" which pops up in several places and gets a bit grinding. However, the various dangers faced by the protagonists, the locals and a good sense of pacing make it an exciting watch.
8 out of 10.
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