MSRP: $22.49
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
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The Pitch
Romancing the Stone meets 90’s syndicated genre television.

The Humans
Michael Madsen, Protasio, Heather Storm, Richard Tyson, Declan Joyce
Director: David Murphy
Writers: David Murphy, Protasio

The Nutshell
A pretty blond American, Alexis (the questionably named Heather Storm), goes down to the Yucatan Peninsula to find her pretty blond sister, an archeologist who has been kidnapped by wacky but dangerous criminals (Madsen and some Mexicans) seeking an ancient Mayan artifact. Alexis is aided in her journey by Nicolas (the even more questionably named Protasio), a studly, wise-cracking alcoholic… with nothin’ to lose! *air guitar*

The Lowdown
Lost Treasure of the Maya is an excellent example of how an interesting locale can really elevate a small budget film. This is expressly illustrated in the film’s opening sequence – a chase scene in which we see how the titular macguffin (a Mayan mask) becomes “lost treasure.” The chase begins in a generic looking jungle that could’ve been shot anywhere, but just when I found my eyes glazing over in boredom, the film surprised me by shifting into a fairly eye-popping underwater cave chase. This sort of surprise extends to nearly every aspect of the film, which fluctuates between boring hackwork and moments of surprising decency.

Is it just me of have Val Kilmer and Richard Tyson become the same person?

The film’s biggest strength is also one of its biggest weaknesses – the dialogue. Murphy and Prospero have a good sense of banter, which really elevates many of the film’s hackier scenes, but, alas, the banter is also incessant, giving the overall film an almost Apatowian level of constant jokey yammering. Murphy’s direction is apt, and like the rest of the film, the acting both bores and surprises in equal turns. Pistachio nicely suits the role he created for himself, but Heather Storm wavers between being hole-in-the-screen unmemorable and flat out bad (I hate to be the pig to say it, but seriously, I expect some nudity with a performance of this caliber. Again, very sorry. Had to be said). Michael Madsen gives his standard paycheck performance for this sort of fair, and Keith David shows up for a weird and totally pointless single scene (though always nice to see him). There are also some cute minor performances here and there from the Mexican scumbags working for Madsen.

“‘ello. I am Protasio. I have written thees movie that you act een.
Now you and I shall make love. I weell not attend your needs sexually. Why? For I am… Protasio.”

I can’t say I recommend watching Lost Treasure of the Maya, but if you found yourself watching it for whatever reason (trapped on the couch with a hangover and no remote, maybe) I don’t think you’d necessarily regret it. It is above all else: watchable.
The Package
Jack shit for features. Though I wasn’t left wanting to learn anything about the film or production, so I shouldn’t really fault it for that. It might have just been my disc or player, but I should note that about five minutes from the end I reached some kind of Donkey Kong-style kill screen, which tweaked out my player and sent me back to the menu.

4.5 out of 10