God of Gamblers Return (1994)
Reviewed by: STSH on 2006-04-04
Summary: One of the very best
Don't listen to these guys! In a sub-genre I love (HK Gambling Competition flicks), this one is at the very top.

Wong Jing's specialty is giving his audience what they want and, in this one, he gives them nearly all of it and by the bucketload. Chow Yun Fat, in a tailor-made role he was born to play, has never been better as the cool and sneering champion gambler who gave it all up, only to be goaded back (by one of the most detestable villains you're ever likely to see) when an upstart wants to prove he's the best by knocking off Chow.

Remainder of the large and stellar cast is uniformly excellent. The tragic Ng Sin Lin (who loves only the GOG, despite never having seen his face). The knockout (in every sense) performance of that great quickener of male pulses, ChingMy Yau - the scene where she fights her way into the villain's casino was worth the price of admission alone, and left me gasping.

The kung fu kid, for whom Chow becomes a substitute father, and is an excellent martial artist in his own right. Tsui Kam Kong, as the bald and serious police chief turned GOG hanger-on, is simply hilarious. And of course Tony Leung, as the shyster who poses as GOG, so that Chow does not break the promise given to his dead wife (murdered in an astonishingly gory manner, even for a HK film !).

True, the story is all over the place. France, HK, Taiwan, back to HK. But it all flows smoothly together, and Jing whips it along with such flair and dazzling pace that one is neither bored nor lost.

Warning : be prepared for a truly horrifying opening scene.

A few quibbles : The opening scene in Paris shows Chow and brother shooting clay pigeons, hearing trouble at the house, drop their guns and charge off. Then they get new guns to kill off the bad guys. A few other bits of the plot don't quite mesh.

But these are trifles indeed. A fantastic and engaging two-hour rollercoaster. Definitely not to be missed.
Reviewer Score: 10