A sea-faring adventure lacking spark
The Pirates: 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-screen.
The Last Royal Treasure isn’t particularly deep and doesn’t really have any twists either, making for a somewhat mellow and underwhelming watch at times.
Despite that, Last Royal Treasure does have some good jokes here, along with a pretty compelling set of actors, who do the best with their scripts. For those who have watched the previous film before this, Last Royal Treasure essentially rehashes the same ideas that one had, adding a sprinkling of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End for good measure.
The story follows the exploits of Captain Hae-Rang and her crew as they head off in search of lucrative treasure. However, along the way they run into a group of fishermen where they cross paths with the charismatic Mu-Chi, who boasts that he’s the best sword fighter in Goryeo.
After some double-crossing, disagreements and disaster, the two sides join forces in order to obtain some royal gold which can set them up for life.
It’s a pretty simple fetch quest in truth, although along the way the group come 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 rather predictable too, which is a shame because this really doesn’t hold a candle to something like Pirates of the Caribbean. Given that film is nearly 20 years old, it’s superior to this one in almost every single way.
Instead of quirky twists or self-aware satire, Last Royal Treasure plays everything straight and it gives 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 really get invested in – and fails to add any surprises along the way.
The whole final act of the film feels like it’s been ripped right from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End too which doesn’t help, while the CGI and visual effects in this movie are a real mixed bag.
The CGI penguins look really poor, while the physics are all over the shop. To be fair though, the final point can be forgiven somewhat, partly because of the exaggerated tone this movie adopts.
Less forgiving though is the amount of deus ex machina and contrivances that crop up. Whenever our characters are in danger, there’s always something there -whether it be a whale, human or a freak weather event – to save our heroes from certain doom. These moments only lean into the aforementioned issues with the story.
Despite its flaws though, The Last Royal Treasure is a surprisingly fun movie. Even with all these issues, there’s enough here to enjoy and see through to the end. The acting is brilliant from all involved, some of the jokes are great while the swashbuckling action is a definite plus.
It’s not perfect, and it doesn’t hold a candle to some of the other seafaring adventures out there, but if you’re in the mood for some rip-roaring action and can overlook the story issues, you should find just enough to like, flaws and all.
Verdict - 6/10