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d (1991)
The Great Pretenders


Reviewed by: sharkeysbar
Date: 07/25/2010
Summary: The pretenders deliver

This film has all the elements of a good Hong Kong comedy from the early 90s and it hits the mark. The story line is over the top and silly (con artists and big gamblers etc) and there are plenty of gags, slapstick and word plays to make you chuckle (at least). I found it a fun film and it is well acted in an over-the-top kind of way. It made me laugh quite a few times but it is very much a Chinese comedy of its period and as previously noted by other reviewers, it may not translate as particularly funny for a Western audience and it certainly isn't politically correct, with midget throwing, a child being thrown off a balcony etc. I thought the actors played off each other quite well and Tony Leung was excellent as was Raymond Wong, OK most of the cast! I was surprised how well Amy Yip acted, early on it threatened to be like a lot of her other films (if you know what I mean) but then she improved and played her role well and showed that comedy was not beyond her.
All in all I enjoyed this film and would recommend it but with the proviso that it is a Chinese/Hong Kong comedy. If that is your thing then you will enjoy it as I did. There are also a few absolute howlers in the subtitles as well, I enjoyed them too and considered them as a bonus. I will watch it again, so that puts it in front of a lot of other comedies.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 10/15/2009

Hong Kong comedies are normally a dicey proposition for western audiences. The heavy use of Cantonese wordplay, liberal dosings of cultural and historical references, and showcasing of acting that could be poliety called "over the top" usually add up to releases that aren't digestable for those from across the pond. These elements certainly show up in The Great Pretenders, but it still manages to be an entertaining picture, mostly due to its' star power.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: AkiraRus
Date: 07/23/2004
Summary: An OK con-movie

Good actors are terribly underused but Amy Yip is gorgeous and Leung Tin is great. Jokes are mostly flat but good pace and some nicely planned cons make this little movie interesting enough to watch it at boring evening. 6.5/10


Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 01/04/2000
Summary: Only if you're bored

A take on The Sting and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Chinese style, but not all that great. Includes a bewildering lesson on how to cheat at mahjong, and if you can follow it, you're doing well ! There's a lot of fast talk and faster hands here, but it's pretty slow-witted and stupid. Some of the jokes are pretty offensive and unfunny, particularly Simon Yam's mincing queen act. However, if you become either bored or confused (which are quite likely), there's usually La Amy's cleavage to gawk at, primed for boob jokes aplenty. An example, and one of the few highlights of this pic, is when Amy swans around wearing a too-brief swimsuit in a beauty contest, greeted with the appropriate response : "super wet-nurse". The pace does pick up at the end, and it becomes quite funny and well-paced farce, but too little and too late. Moments it has, but not enough to lift above the mediocre.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: jfierro
Date: 12/21/1999

A team of con-artists gang up to pull a big one over on a mean gangboss, all in the name charity. The film definitely has its moments. Especially worth it just to see Tony Leung Chiu-Wai with a shaven head.