God Of Gamblers' Return (HK 1994)

Rating: **
Review Date: 11/4/19
Director: Wong Jing
Cast: Chow Yun Fat, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Wu Chien Lien, Chingmy Yau, Tse Mui, Tsui Kam Long, Ken Lo, Cheung Man

Ko Chun, The God Of Gamblers (Chow Yun Fat), has retired and moved to France with his very pregnant wife (Cheung Man). Unfortunately, his idyllic life is shattered by a very nasty man named Chao Siu Chi who wishes to challenge him for the title of God Of Gamblers, and kills his wife to force his hand. He promises her not to gamble or take revenge for one year, which gives him time to formulate a plan. But then everything turns upside down again, which leaves him on the run as a fugitive suspected of murder. In the process, he teams up with an annoying kid (Tse Mui), an even more annoying con artist (Tony Leung), and Tony's temperamental sister (Wu Chien Lien). After more than an hour of tedious slapstick shenanigans, things get serious when Ko Chun and Chao Siu Chi finally face off in a high stakes game of cards. Naturally, both parties end up cheating, so one has to wonder why Ko is treated as a hero.

It's essentially a remake of the original "God Of Gamblers" (1989) and suffers from the same flaws - namely the comedic sub-plot that takes over the middle of the film. Like nearly all of Wong Jing's films, it's a slick looking production with top-notch talent and beautiful cinematography, but it's offensive, painfully stupid, and unbearable to watch. He's like the Asian equivalent of Michael Bay. The film features a couple of excessive gun fights that are marginally entertaining, but they seem a bit lackluster. It's also interesting to note how instantly recognizable and overused the Hollywood Edge sound effects are, which becomes increasingly distracting.

In all honesty, the only reason I bothered watching this was to see Chingmy Yau, since her publicity shots looked very enticing. Unfortunately, she only has about five minutes of screen time and only two scenes worth noting. She shows up for a few seconds at the beginning of the film, and then disappears from the story for an entire hour. However, if you're a Chow Yun Fat fan, then you're bound to be pleased. He looks fantastic and dominates the film with his endearing charm, except when an overly goofy Tony Leung attempts to upstage him with silly antics. Wu Chien Lien is very pretty, but seems underutilized and a bit out of her element. I don't think comedy is her strong suit. Much like the first film, the first ten minutes and the last twenty minutes are pretty fun to watch, but everything in between is excruciating.