Directors: Wong Jing, Jimmy Heung
Stars: Andy Lau, Alan Tam, Rosamund Kwan, Charles Heung
Wong Jing's movies may be a lot of things -- at times they can be stupid, incoherent, infantile, or a number of other negative adjectives -- but they're usually not boring. This movie is. It's widely recognized as the beginnings of the modern gambling movie genre, which is still going to this day (at last count, Wong himself had had a part in about 30-40 of these types of movies). There are a couple of good gambling scenes (Wong's favorite to direct) but there's little else of interest in this film.
Andy Lau and Alan Tam play a gambling/con artist duo, supposedly the best in Asia (and, thinking about it, this would probably be true, since they seem to have the ultimate "poker faces," never changing expression throughout the movie). They get invited to a Las Vegas casino to help shut down a ring of Japanese Yakuza who are cheating and breaking the bank. It takes them about ten minutes to figure out the scam (something silly involving reflective watch faces) and everything seems cool. The pair then concentrate on getting laid. Eventually, Tam hooks up with a Japanese heiress who wants him to go straight. Though Lau wants to keep the pair active, Tam agrees and heads back to HK. Without Tam by his side, Lau eventually gets caught by the Japanese and has his hand crippled. In a plot device obviously lifted from A Better Tomorrow, Tam must decide whether to stay on the straight and narrow or help his friend get revenge.
On paper, this seems like a pretty good plot. However, much of the middle portion of the movie has nothing to do at all with gambling and really grinds the movie down. There aren't even the usual Wong Jing toilet jokes to keep things lively. The eventual gambling showdown at the finale is pretty good, but it's the old case of "too little, too late." This one's probably only for hardcore Andy Lau fans only, and even they might be disappointed since he doesn't run around shirtless or sing a bunch of ballads like most of his other movies.
A review of the VCD for this movie can be found by clicking here
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