Lost Treasure of the Maya (2008)

Rating: C

Dir: David Murphy
Star: Protasio, Heather Storm, Richard Tyson, Michael Madsen
a.k.a. No Bad Days

Despite Madsen’s name first on the DVD cover, he is an extremely minor character, playing Lester, the collector whose demand for an Mayan mask triggers the kidnapping of Lauren, a young American archaelogist whose team is believed to know the whereabouts of the treasure. This brings her sister, Alexis (Storm) down to the Yucatan peninsula to investigate the disappearance, but she has no luck, with the local police stonewalling her point-blank. Realizing she lacks the local knowledge to get anywhere, she reluctantly teams up with Nicolas (Protasio), an alcoholic beach-bum and occasional private investigator, who has the necessary connections. Together, they discover that Lauren and her team are being held hostage by Lester and his questionably-competent goons, who have now narrowed the search for the mask to a cave complex near an ancient set of ruins.

Fortunately, it turns out that Nicolas is actually an ex-SEAL, having left the armed forces after being hung out to dry by the government on an operation. So, who better to swim into the caves, rescue Lauren and ensure the mask doesn’t fall into the wrong hands? An entirely inoffensive confection, yet almost equally-forgettable, this romp works best as a promotional video for the pleasures of sunny Cancun, with its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear oceans and charming selection of bars. That noted, there just isn’t enough to hang an entire film on, since the script lets the viewer know what’s happening far too early and without any effort: Nicolas literally points out Lester to Alexis across the street, as the man behind her sister’s kidnapping, so there’s no sense of revelation.

Our two leads play decently off each other, and there are some cute moments, such as Alexis’s spectacular freak-out when she encounters the native wildlife, or a local’s explanation of how Lester forced information from him, played out as voice-over, above footage of what actually happened. However, the bulk of this is pedestrian action-adventure of a strictly humdrum nature: you’d be better off watching Romancing the Stone. Heck, even The Jewel of the Nile. Keith David turns up in an even less significant role than Madsen, appearing in a powerboat for one scene, then no doubt departing to demand his promised hotel voucher. I’m sure the pair had a fine time swapping Executive Target stories in the bar afterwards.