至尊無上II永霸天下
Casino Raiders II (1991)


Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 12/16/2006

Casino Raiders was, in my opinion, one of the most boring gambling movies ever produced. So, thankfully, Casino Raiders II is a sequel in name only. Even though there's not enough gambling and too much Andy Lau chessiness, it's still satisfying enough to warrant a recommendation.

Casino Raiders II stars Andy Lau as the unfortunately-named Chicken Feet, a gambler training under the great Uncle Fan (Lau Siu-Ming). The two, along with the feisty Lin (Wu Chien-Lin), run a small casino and things seem to be going well until a duo of villains (Kelvin Wong and Anthony Wong) show up to try and steal a piece of jade from Uncle Fan that supposedly holds the power of the God of Gamblers. After Chicken Feet's brother, Kit (Dave Wong) is released from prison, the group bands together to take out Kelvin's fortune during the world gambling championship.

For a movie with "casino" in the title, there's surprisingly little in the way of gambling here. The majority of the movie is dominated by drama, with a few short action scenes (helmed by the great Ching Siu-Tung) thrown in for good measure. But the film works for the most part. Director Johnnie To wisely keeps Andy Lau's lines to a minimum, and Anthony Wong (complete with a porn star mustache) is fabulous as Kelvin Wong's evil sidekick. The climatic gambling scene is also handled well, and uses a Crippled Avengers-esque gimmick to nice effect.

However, To doesn't seem to be able to keep a clear focus in this production. At times, it's a Wong Jing expolitation flick, such as one scene where Dave Wong lops off his hand. The scene fits the story, but it's done in such an over-the-top manner that it becomes almost laughable. At other points, To seems intent on creating a John Woo actioner, complete with slow-motion shots of birds. Perhaps not coincidentally, Casino Raiders II uses Horace Wong (who shot many of Woo's Hong Kong productions) as the cinematographer. Also, To seems a bit complacent, using the same style of slow-motion combined with an Andy Lau ballad for several scenes, which got to be a bit annoying after the second or third time it's used.

Overall, though, the problems don't derail the proceedings, and Casino Raiders II ends up being a solid gambling/action picture. Even though it's not as close to the level as some of the classics in the genre like God of Gamblers, it should still fit the bill for fans of Andy Lau and/or gambling films.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 05/09/2006
Summary: dark and depressing

A dark and depressing film directed by Johnnie To Kei-Fung from his early pre-Heroic Trio days. This was a time when everyone was emulating the style of John Woo's The Killer. Casino Raiders II even goes so far as to use cinematographer Horace Wong Wing-Hang to get that "look"; plenty of slow motion shots with leaves and old newspaper blowing around on the ground.

Sequel in name only to the original, this film stars Andy Lau Tak-Wah as a 2nd rate gambler called upon to redeem his uncle and gambling master, played by Lau Siu-Ming. Pop star Andy is cast along with the beautiful Ng Sin-Lin as lovers in an effort to capture the screen magic they had in A Moment of Romance [1990]. It never quite happens.

The story revolves around a couple of magical jade pieces that never really play a part in the outcome of the plot. This movie has some crazy stunt work featuring a speed boat explosion, a car going of a cliff, and a brutal hanging. Casino Raiders II marks the film debut of Dave Wong Kit in a small, twisted role. Look for Anthony Wong Chau-Sang playing a creepy henchman for Kelvin Wong Siu's nasty villain.

happyfortune.org

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 11/23/2005
Summary: Such a downer

This is THE movie which nearly ended my fascination with HK film.

It was the first HK gambling film I ever saw. I watched it in Thailand, dubbed into Thai with no subtitles, and therefore was unable to follow the finer points of the story. But much of the message got through anyway.

For a start, and despite much browbeating by the director, none of these characters induce much sympathy (with perhaps the exception of the cute little daughter). There's not one moment of humour or lightness anywhere in the proceedings. It's all done in total seriousness and is very depressing. That sort of treatment is fine for Hamlet, but not for this stuff.

And there is shocking cruelty. One character cuts off a hand in one quick chop in order to show sincerity and engender respect. Another is bashed on the head while treading water and sinks to the bottom of the sea - and this slow motion death scene is accompanied by a lovely song which makes the scene all the harder to watch.

I have no objection to violence and cruelty as such, even in gambling pictures, where it is all too common. But it needs to be either lightened occasionally (though not with the really stupid humour which is also all too common) or performed in a context of quality. And CRII manages neither.

One the plus side, the cinematography is a treat, the music is pretty damn good, and any film featuring Ng Sin Lin is at least partly watchable, unsympathetic though she is here.

And the DVD has some scintillating subs, such as "... since we stared with the same teacher".

Having seen hundreds of films in the meantime, including nearly every gambling film ever made in HK that I could find, I liked this film a whole lot better the on the second viewing.

Which leaves me rather confused. I loathe this movie for what it nearly did to my HK film fandom, but appreciated it somewhat the second time. The rating I've given is thus a compromise between these two positions.


Previously published review:
Loathsome and detestable. I saw this film without ANY subtitles and dubbed into a foreign language in which I'm far from fluent, so I may have missed the odd subtlety or plot detail. Notwithstanding, this is a ludicrously over-gory film about criminals, full of characters impossible to warm to or admire or even respect. It contains the stock elements of crime/gambling films, but this is the one (and so far the only) film in a sub-genre I adore which I truly hate. It's grim grim grim, none of the actors appear to be having any fun at all. What I hate most is one particular scene. Love interest Ng Sin Lin (first time I ever saw this lovely actress) is thrown into the harbour and terrorized by thugs. They want information from her, which she steadfastly refuses to provide. They beat and throw things at her, and finally smash her head with a rifle butt, after which she sinks to the bottom, gorily dead. The song which accompanies this is a deservedly popular HK beautiful romantic love song, and would have become one of my favourite cantopops, if not for the unpleasant association with this scene.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 05/26/2002
Summary: Average

To settle the confusion between the Casino Raiders films, it's like this. First there was Casino Raiders (Wong Jing), then there was No Risk No Gain (which IS the official sequel, by Jimmy Heung & Taylor Wong), and THEN comes this films, Casino Raiders II (Jimmy Heung again). Each film doesn't share much to the other, and can be confusing I guess.

Anyway, to me, this film was the worst of the 3, the second of the 2 (No Risk No Gain) is the best in my opinion. By 1991 several God Of Gamblers films had been released, so you see several scenes 'borrowed' from those films as well as the previous CAsino Raiders. So unless you are a gambling fanatic, I would give this one a miss and check out the other 2 films.

[2.5/5]


Reviewed by: danton
Date: 04/15/2002

Directed stylishly by Johnny To, this film is not really a sequel to the original Casino Raiders. In fact, it has more in common with To's big hit from the same year, A Moment of Romance - Andy Lau and Wu Chien Lien are paired off once again as the romantic leads, and they spend a lot of time riding a motorcycle.

Unlike the original Casino Raiders, which very much felt like an 80s HK movie, complete with cheap synth soundtrack and all, this effort is very slick, with great lighting and cinematography and an interesting music soundtrack that effectively helps create atmosphere and distract the viewer from the fact that the story itself is actually rather weak.

Andy plays a gambler who is running a small illegal gambling operation on a boat in HK harbor together with his wheelchair-bound uncle and his girlfriend, played by Wu Chien Lien in an uncharacteristically feisty manner (the performance is dubbed). Soon bad guy Kelvin Wong arrives on the scene. He's after one of two jade stones that can summon the power of the God of Gamblers. It's never quite explained where these stones come from or what they can actually do. In fact, this whole subplot never really amounts to much, other than providing the motivation for the eventual murder of Andy's uncle (who has hidden the stone just in time). Anyway, the uncle's other student arrives (Wang Chieh) for the funeral, and him and Andy start thinking about avenging their sifu. Up to here the movie was kind of drifting along, nice to look at but otherwise not very engaging. But in the second half, the pace tightens considerably, and we now have some well-staged action sequences, as well as some rather bloody encounters that leave both our heroes crippled. And then there's the fate of Wu Chien Lien - fans of the actress may find what she has to go through here rather disturbing, but it does set up an emotionally charged final showdown between the good guys (or what's left of them) and bad guy Kelvin Wong at another highstakes card game.

The end comes with more violent deaths, making this truly one of the darker gambling movies. Overall, a pretty silly, highly melodramatic story, but well worth watching nonetheless. Recommended.


Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 12/08/2001
Summary: No relation to Casino Raiders

CASINO RAIDERS II (1991) - Just when you thought the world of the gambling movie couldn't get any more confusing, along comes CASINO RAIDERS II, the sequel to... no, not CASINO RAIDERS, as you might think. Has absolutely nothing to do with CR at all. It does reference the GOD OF GAMBLER'S piece of jade as a significant plot point, which puts... GOD OF GAMBLERS II? TOP BET? in its genealogy, but it also makes a number of references to characters and events that I have no recollection of seeing in any movie so far. There's one called "NO RISK, NO GAIN" which is apparently sometimes referred to as a CASINO RAIDERS sequel, so maybe there's a connection there... but it doesn't sound like it

Anyway, down to the movie. We've got Johnnie To directing, Ching Siu Tung actioning, Andy Lau leading and Wu Chien Lien supporting. Not a bad setup, and one might expect great things. I think it's quite likely that one would be disappointed in this case though. Perhaps it's just because I spent too much time trying to work out which characters connected to which other movies and how (and reaching few conclusions), but it felt rather like I was being voyeuristic watching the movie... spying on events that I had no particular right to see, or perhaps it was no particular interest. I didn't really understand any of the back story that led to one thing or another happening, so it was hard to care too much. Well, that and the fact that the movie really adds nothing new to the genre. Wu Chien Lien gives a good atypical performance though, and there's a child actress who isn't in much but is great. Some action & some gambling but nothing very memorable. Not really recommend unless you're an Andy / Wu Chien Lien fan in need of a fix.

DVD is passable - better transfer than CR1, but with subtitles that are still a little below average.

Reviewer Score: 4