Issue #227a          HOME          E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com        BACK ISSUES           August 30th, 2004

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God of Gamblers II
(1990; Win's Movie Production)

Cantonese: Do hap
Mandarin: Du xia
English: Knight of Gamblers

 

RATING: 7/10

REVIEW:

Following the surprise success of ALL FOR THE WINNER, Stephen Chiau Sing-chi and Ng Man-tat were quickly recruited to appear in this similar outing with GOD OF GAMBLERS stars, Andy Lau Tak-wah and Charles Heung Wah-keung, who reprise their characters from that film. Michael Chan (Lau), the God of Gamblers' associate, has mastered almost all of his mentor's skills, earning himself the title, "Knight of Gamblers." Amateur conmen Sing (Chiau) and Tat (Ng) seek a meeting with the God of Gamblers, in order to show him the former's ability to change cards, see through solid objects, and alter people's perceptions. Michael wants nothing to do with them but, when some hitmen attack, the three end up fleeing together. Out to avenge his foster father, Chan Kam-sing (Pau Hon-lam, returning as the so-called "Beast of Gamblers," who got fleeced in the first GOD OF GAMBLERS), criminal Hussein (!, played by Pal Sin Lap-man) begins impersonating the Knight of Gamblers, in order to bilk unsuspecting millionaires who believe they are gambling for charity. Stacking the deck in his favor, Hussein has his casino wired with sophisticated electronic equipment, making cheating all but impossible, and has even recruited his own supernaturally gifted player (John Ching Tung), just in case.

Stephen Chiau Andy Lau Pal Sin

The mix of the two different films' elements works very well for the most part, though the climactic match lacks the suspense of its counterpart in GOD OF GAMBLERS and the clever twist resolution from ALL FOR THE WINNER. This was the first of several collaborations between Chiau and writer/director Wong Jing (who also appears briefly) and, unlike most of their later films, the storyline is not put on the back burner for long stretches at a time. In addition to Chiau's schtick and some energetically rendered gunplay, there are great send-ups of SWORDSMAN and A TERRACOTTA WARRIOR, plus another of the comedian's dead-on Bruce Lee impersonations. The sizeable supporting cast includes Sharla Cheung Man, Monica Chan Fat-yung (as the tough but sexy sister of Heung’s matchless bodyguard), Shing Fui-on, Blackie Ko Shou-liang, Ronald Wong Pan, Che-Kirk Wong Chi-keung, and Ng Hong-ning. GOD OF GAMBLERS III: BACK TO SHANGHAI (a direct sequel to this one) followed next.


PRESENTATION:

Mei Ah’s initial GOD OF GAMBLERS II DVD was just a port of their old laserdisc master; this High Definition re-release offers significant improvement. A few scenes look somewhat washed out but this is almost certainly the original cinematography. The image is not as slick as a more recent production but it is consistently spotless, sufficiently colorful, and very good overall. The original mono mix is included in both Cantonese and Mandarin, along with a decent 5.1/DTS re-vamp that adds some stereo separations and widens the soundstage somewhat. Unfortunately, the English subtitles (which feature numerous errors and leave out references to local celebrities) have not been upgraded. Trailers for this and GOD OF GAMBLERS III: BACK TO SHANGHAI (the latter apparently a video promo spot) are on hand, along with Mei Ah’s ever pointless Data Bank feature.

Charles Heung Stephen Chiau (left), Ng Man-tat Sharla Cheung


This DVD is available at:

Images in this review courtesy of Mei Ah. To read captions, hover mouse over image.


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Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2004. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com

DVD Specifications

  • Hong Kong Release
  • NTSC Region 0
  • Mei Ah Entertainment #DVD-637
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 & 2.0/DTS
  • Post-synced Cantonese and Mandarin Language
  • Subtitles (Optional): English, Traditional & Simplified Chinese
  • 9 Chapters
  • 16:9 Enhanced (1.78:1)
  • 104 Minutes

Ratings & Consumer Information

  • Australia: M15+
  • Great Britain: 15 (cut)
  • Hong Kong: II
  • Ontario: AA
  • Quebec: G
  • Singapore: PG
  • Contains moderate violence, coarse language, and some crude content

FILM REVIEW RATINGS KEY:

  • 10 A Masterpiece
  • 9 Excellent
  • 8 Highly Recommended
  • 7 Very Good
  • 6 Recommended
  • 5 Marginal Recommendation
  • 4 Not Recommended
  • 3 Poor
  • 2 Definitely Not Recommended
  • 1 Dreadful