The Last Royal Treasure is a simple, sea-faring adventure movie that lacks ambition. With a barebones story, weak characterization, and hit-or-miss comedy, the film lives and dies by its action – and how much tolerance you have to wait for the next one to appear on the screen.
The Last Royal Treasure isn’t particularly deep and doesn’t have any twists either, making for a somewhat mellow and underwhelming watch at times.
It’s a pretty simple fetch quest in truth, although, along the way, the group comes across a rival band of pirates who have the same idea, leading to a chase of sorts as they both scramble to take off with the gold.
It’s simple and somewhat predictable too, which is a shame because this doesn’t hold a candle to something like Pirates of the Caribbean.
Instead of quirky twists or self-aware satire, Last Royal Treasure plays everything straight, giving the film a stagnated feel. Don’t get me wrong, there is fun to be had here, but it comes at the expense of a plot that’s hard to get invested in – and fails to add any surprises along the way.
At this moment, Hae Rang (Han Hyo Joo), as a pirate, tries to hire a band of bandits that he saved in the middle of the sea.
On the one hand, Moo Chi (Kang Ha Neul), as the leader of the bandits with his lazy nature, actually defies Hae Rang’s every order. However, one of the moments in this film brings them together to fight against Japanese pirates.
There were a lot of familiar faces among Hae Rang’s crew from Korean dramas and movies.
Han Hyo Joo and Kang Ha Neul had great chemistry and led the cast well. Kang Ha Neul, an accomplished dramatic actor, had great comedic timing and Han Hyo Joo had the challenging girl power role down pat. Their bickering and one-upmanship would pass on any excellent rom-com. Coupled with action, it was engaging.
As a fan of Lee Kwangsoo of Running Man, it kicked me to see him as a betrayer again, reminiscent of his character in the variety show. Kwangsoo is a natural at comedy, and I loved how each of his scenes caused me to belly laugh. I was a bit disappointed that the potential of EXO’s Sehun and Chae Soo Bin as the pirate archer and con woman was relegated too much to the background. I have half a mind to campaign for a repeat pairing in a Kdrama or web series.
Approach-wise, I liked that it was very light and comedic, much like a Korean version of Pirates of the Caribbean. It had its eccentricities and the characters bounced off on each other flawlessly. They were so much fun to watch. And Kwon Sang Woo, as a villain, revealed a wrong side to him after starring in countless romantic Korean dramas in the past. Even though he was not the main character in this movie, he made his mark as a fitting adversary. It also speaks a lot about Kang Ha Neul that he could match this veteran’s on-screen presence and acting chops with each encounter.