Issue #248          HOME          E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com        BACK ISSUES            January 24th, 2005

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The Casino
(1972; Shaw Brothers)

Cantonese: Gat cheung do fong
Mandarin: Ji xiang du fang
English: Auspicious Casino

 

RATING: 5/10

REVIEW:

A handsome stranger (Yueh Hua) strolls into a casino one evening and all but cleans out the house, beating 160-1 odds at dice by getting three of a kind. He informs beautiful proprietress Miss Cui (Lily Ho Li-li) that he actually came there for her and reveals himself as her betrothed, Luo Tianguang. The couple wed, but their bliss is interrupted when Luo agrees to help old friend Lun Liu (Chin Feng) defeat crooked gambler Hao Lishan (Shih Kien), who uses rigged dice. Anxious to avenge his humiliation, Hao tries various means to get revenge and enlists the aid of Captain Fan (Fan Mui-sang), who gets kickbacks from the various gambling outlets in the area. However, Luo’s incredible skill with dice and superior martial arts abilities allow him to dodge these threats. On top of this, Luo decides to permanently close his and Miss Cui’s casino and "use gambling to stop gambling," a pledge that makes him even more of a threat to Hao and the corrupt officials who benefit from the status quo.

Yueh Hua Lily Ho Shih Kien

Yueh Hua is quite good as the tragically flawed hero, who lets his moral crusade consume him to the point of forgetting what is most important in life. Unfortunately, writer Ngai Hong and director Chang Tseng-chai (who only helmed a handful of films for Shaw Brothers) soon cast aside dramatic underpinnings and transform THE CASINO into an over-the-top exploitation gorefest that is almost entirely lacking in substance. The martial arts sequences are largely run-of-the-mill and the exaggerated violence and bloodshed (presumably inspired by the popularity of THE CHINESE BOXER) are so sloppily staged and downright silly, the movie’s credibility is badly compromised. Lee Man-tai and Wu Ma (as a compulsive gambler who wagers five fingers for $500) also appear, and Lam Ching-ying can be seen as one of the fighters in the casino during the final battle.

Yueh Hua Fan Mui-sang Lily Ho


PRESENTATION:

While not as glossy as some SB productions from this period (likely by design), the transfer is sharp and clean with no detriments. The audio has been left in the original mono for a change and how nice it is to have the film unfold without overstated and ineptly implemented "atmosphere" constantly calling attention to itself! The regular Celestial extras (promo spots, a photo gallery, biographies, abbreviated filmographies) are on hand.

This DVD is available at:

Images in this review courtesy of Intercontinental Video Ltd. To read captions, hover mouse over image.


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Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2005. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com

DVD Specifications

  • Hong Kong Release
  • NTSC Region 3 Only
  • Intercontinental Video Ltd. #103643
  • Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Post-synced Mandarin Language
  • Subtitles (Optional): English, Traditional Chinese
  • 12 Chapters
  • 16:9 Enhanced (2.35:1)
  • 77 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)

Ratings & Consumer Information

  • Ontario: R
  • Sweden: BANNED
  • Contains brutal violence and brief nudity

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