The Saint of Gamblers (1995)

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 01/28/2007
Summary: Not GOG2, but ...

Not up to the high standard of God Of Gamblers Return, but still a damn good entertaining and fast-paced Gambling Competition action film. And any actress who can take my attention away from ChingMy Yau must be really something, but GiGi Leung manages just that......

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 12/31/2006
Summary: provincial humor.

Funny is funny, no? The Saint of Gamblers is a comedy film written, produced, and directed by Wong Jing. This film is made for Hong Kong audiences, at a time when its biggest stars were seeking international fame and fortune in Hollywood. The humor of the film is quite provincial as Wong has a grand time sending up the genre conventions he spent a decade developing.

The Saint of Gamblers marks the last collaboration of Andrew Lau Wai-Keung as a cinematographer and Wong Jing as a director. This was a time just before Lau made a name for himself as a director. Both men are at the top of their games. The movie looks real good and gets high technical marks all around.

This is not a film I would recommend to you if you are new to Hong Kong cinema. This one is for a more seasoned viewer. Of course, The Saint of Gamblers marks the film debut of the lovely Diana Pang Dan, which is worth the price of admission. Fans of Ng Man-Tat will be pleased with his comedy styling, and you can see Donnie Yen Ji-Dan is a supporting role. Look for one of the director/producers of the original All for the Winner, Corey Yuen Kwai in a small cameo role playing mahjong.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 11/02/2005
Summary: 3/10 - not worth the effort

Wong Jing tries to squeeze one more drop out of the gambling comedy cash-cow with a spin-off from the ALL FOR THE WINNER branch of the tree (hmmm, cows on trees... that's a strangely apt image for this film).

Having lost his major stars - Chow Yun Fat, Andy Lau and Stephen Chow - Wong scrapes the bottom of the barrel and gives us Eric Kot as the new Saint Of Gamblers (whom Ng Man Tat finds in the same village that Stephen Chow came from). Eric plays an idiot named "God Bless You" for unamusing reasons, who has supernatural powers but no gambling skills. Ah Tat enters him in the International Gambling Championship anyway, because... well, it's a Wong Jing script.

The film is very lazily plotted, regurgitating elements from previous films in the genre with only a threadbare narrative to hang them together. The film doesn't spend much time on the story, preferring to focus on painfully contrived "comedy" situations that would struggle to raise a laugh even if they weren't so sloppily directed. The whole script feels like an insult to the audience's intelligence. At one point a journalist asks Eric Kot what films he likes and he replies "Wong Jing", which earns him a slap and a reprimand from Uncle Tat:

"Why do you say Wong Jing? His movies are so cheap - say Wong Kar-Wai"

It's a mildly amusing moment until you realise that coming in this particular film it's just too true, and you feel that slap yourself.

Even the gambling scenes in the film are dull... the gamblers invariably start off with near perfect hands and it's really only the use of supernatural powers that decide the winner in many cases... no real skill or cunning, and no tension since the winner is never in doubt.

Although the majority of the film is utterly contemptible, it has a few virtues. One of these is Shi Shao Long, a kung fu kid who has just as much skill as Tze Miu from MY FATHER IS A HERO but isn't quite as cute. The other is Diana Pang Dan, whose uncannily large breasts are naturally exploited to the max by Wong Jing, and whose character is by far the most interesting in the film. Chingmy Yau is completely upstaged by her, which must have hurt. Donnie Yen also puts in a brief appearance and allows us to bask in his radiant ego for some absurdly undercranked fight scenes which are moderately entertaining (but Shi Shao Long impresses more, which must have hurt too!)

Although it's not aggressively unpleasant, there's really too little of virtue to recommend watching the film unless you're Diana Pang Dan's #1 fan. To top it all off, the DVD has one of the worst sound mixes I've heard!

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/17/2005

This is a loose sequel to All for the Winner that takes place after the "Saint of Gamblers" (played by Stephen Chow in that movie) wins a big tournament and leaves Hong Kong to study with the "God of Gamblers." Uncle Tat (Ng) heads back to the Saint's hometown to find a new protégé and eventually stumbles upon Eric Kot, playing a character named God Bless You (yes, that's his name), who seems like the village idiot. Actually, he is -- the guy would probably crap out on the $100 question of Who Wants to be a Millionaire -- but he has enormous psychic powers, and Tat decides to take him to Hong Kong to play in a gambling tournament.

Never let it be said that Wong Jing isn't a clever guy. Even though the star of All for the Winner, Stephen Chow, had moved on to Wong's God of Gamblers series, Wong decided to keep All for the Winner going as well and made this sequel. However, even though Wong is quite clever, he isn't always smart. Case in point here: the casting of Eric Kot as the lead. He tries really hard to be Stephen Chow -- actually he tries way too hard -- and as such comes off as an unfunny buffoon who drags the whole movie down with him. There are some inspired bits in this movie, such as Chingmy Yau (who plays a similar role to what she would later play in God of Gamblers Return, complete with kung-fu brat brother Sik Siu-Lung) kicking ass on a group of baddies and Diana Pang Dan's cleavage. I also liked Donnie Yen providing some nice action in an extended cameo. But with Kot at the driver's seat, this movie ultimately goes nowhere. This is an okay movie, but Wong Jing has done better films in the genre which deserve your attention first.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewed by: honloo
Date: 12/24/2002
Summary: Excellent Performance by Diana Pang Dan

The story of the movie is just another comical gambling movie, but it gives the opportunity for Diana Pang Dan to perform so well every scene that she became so popular today.

Diana acted as Thailand Gambling Champion (Ho Kei) killed his own loyal body guards for no reason.

She won all her matches during the competition purely by using her seductive skills. In poker game, if she has good cards, she will tell the opponent to showhand so that they can have her body. If she has bad cards, she will tell the opponent to surrender because they don't want to see her lose.

See, no gambling tricks, no effects, just pure beauty. Unfortunately, this guy at the end did some trick to himself which cause him to see things completely opposite. The sexy and gorgeous Diana turned out to me an ugly man.

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 05/08/2002
Summary: Heap of crap

It's utter rubbish in my opinion. Yet another part in the over used God Of Gamblers series (once again as Saint of Gamblers, but without Andy Lau or Stephen Chow).

Rating: 1/5

Reviewer Score: 2

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 05/29/2001
Summary: Ok-ish

Eric Kot, doesn't this guy try too hard or is it ALL his characters!! Problem with hong kong movies is that most sequels have nothing to do with each other!! Chingmy Yau is in this but not the character she was in God of Gamblers returns. This is not as good as the other "God of Gambler" movies and not as funny. Action seems limited, but Donnie Yen does a good cameo, and too bad it was ONLY a cameo!!

The movie isn't as funny as it should be and Eric Kot annoys a lot of people, yet i can watch him to a certain extent!!


Reviewed by: hellboy
Date: 08/30/2000

If only the rest of the movie was as good as the 1st ten minutes! After watching Saint of Gamblers it became clear to me why Ng Man Tat and Stephen Chow work so well together. Because they complement each other, as opposed to Ng man Tat and Eric Kot who seem to bring out the most annoying qualities of each other (not that Eric Kot needed much help to bring his annoying side out). Kot seems to think loud and grating = funny, but nothing could be more removed from the truth. 5/10

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: pablo
Date: 12/09/1999

Tat recruits Got from a village of psychics to compete in thelatest gambling competition. Meanwhile, contestant Ray Thai is looking for someone to divert unwanted attention away from himself. What heinous plot does he have in mind? As with most Wong Jing films, this movie is mostly a series of gags loosely tied together by a weak plot. High production values makes most of the scenes watchable, but as a whole the movie doesn't live up to the originals.