God of Gamblers (1989)
Reviewed by: Arshadnm6 on 2005-04-13
Summary: The first of it's kind, ultra gambling movie with an impecable storyline.......
A Wong Jing spectacle produced in the dawn of the eighties that started its own genre of movies. Chow Yun Fat, in one of best roles ever, as the legendary Gambler Ko Chun, who’s given the title of ‘God of Gamblers’ due to his amazing ability to beat any odds in gambling. He uses all types of methods such as counting cards, hearing the sound of dice when they’re being tossed about and even has psychological control over his foes which keeps him a level above the rest. When Ko Chun is on the table, there is no winning against him. His supernatural talent as an internationally renowned cardsharp, win the respect and admiration of his peers. Chun plays with a full deck and an ace up his sleeve, and his kung fu on the tables is heavenly.

Although despite his wealthy lifestyle as a triad kingpin, he unfortunately has a tragic accident leaving him with a case of short-term amnesia, no-thanks to a childish prank set-up by ‘Andy Lau’. Reduced to a childish-like state, obsessed with chocolate which acts like a pacifier, Ko Chun’s only hope of regaining his memories falls into the same person whom put him in this condition in the first place, the poor accuse for a hustler ‘Knife’ (played by Andy Lau). This is the point things go from bad to worse, Knife inadvertently discovers Ko Chun’s card-handling-ability and unwittingly involves him in his overambitious hustling schemes. This only seems to get them into more trouble, since Ko Chun spends most of the time using his new found fortune, buying expensive chocolate or simply giving it away, much to the infuriation of Knife. Meanwhile, ‘Dragon’, the former bodyguard of Ko Chun, is looking everywhere for him, eventually finding him at a cheap hotel in the middle of a Triad shoot-out, which results in Ko Chun getting knocked down by a car. Later he regains his memory just in queue for his final showdown with old and new enemies, in a high stakes game against another one of Ko Chun’s Arch Nemesis.

This was the one movie that you could say spawned all the rest of them, including the renowned ‘Conman’ series (also directed by Wong Jing) and other outcasts like ‘Casino Tycoon I and II’, ‘The Tricky Master’, ‘My Name is Nobody’, ‘Fate Fighter’ and many more. Although other HK Directors helped seed a 1990’s subgenre culture of gambling theme with comedy, it wasn’t until 1994 when Chow Yun Fat made a reappearance to reclaim his title, in ‘God of Gamblers: Returns’. Chow’s performance is a combination of John Woo style hard man and at the same time a protégée of ‘Nick Cheung’ with a hint of comedy and suspense. This was the first film, and the best of its kind, that dealt out as much controlled humour as hard-edged violence. Joey Yung (as Knife’s Girlfriend) also stars in this picture, but doesn’t get too much of a role, and seems to vanish out of the storyline in last 25 minutes, before making a reappearance 2 minutes before the end.

Overall the storyline is strong, yet this is a typical Wong Jing Movie, with the uncomfortable scene where one of Chow Yun Fat’s bodyguards insanely rapes Chow Yun Fat’s Wife after she falls to her grisly death, over the balcony of a 2 storey high building. Wong Jing should really try to avoid these types of scenes, since they are unnecessary and usually give the movie a bad sort of feel. Chow Yun Fat does an impeccable performance alongside Andy Lau, and both get a turn to take a control over the movie, which is pleasing.

Overall Rating: 8.0/10
Reviewer Score: 8