Action director Chin Kar-Lok sits in the directors chair for this comedy film that played in local cinemas during the 1997 Handover festivities. Many Hong Kong comedy movies are extremely provincial, with jokes based on wordplay and local custom. 97 Aces Go Places is such a movie. Inspired loosely by the 1982 hit, this film borrows the infectious theme song and pays homage to some of the action sequences that made the original a huge international hit. Frankly, I thought some of the comedy was quite funny, but this movie has several squirm in your seat moments. The movie lives off of one lame joke about Alan Tam Wing-Lun being too old to play a character so young.
Reviewer Score: 8
Working from the 10 point rating system, the movie loses 3 points for Chins direction. Take away 1 point for Alan Tam and 1 point for Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, who is hardly paying attention in most of his scenes. Christy Chung Lai-Tai is, of course, lovely to watch and appears to be quite competent in her action scenes. Give the movie 2 points for her performance. Francis Ng Chun-Yu is an actor I always find compelling, though not in this movie. Take away one point for his peculiar performance. The funniest joke in the whole film is that Ngs bad guy character is named Lui Yu-Yeung, who has a buffoonish henchman named Chun-Yu, played by the ubiquitous Simon Loui Yu-Yeung. Give the picture 2 points for his funny antics.
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