Issue #252          HOME          Contact Us        BACK ISSUES           February 21st, 2005

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All for the Winner
(1990; Golden Harvest/Seasonal Film Corporation)

Cantonese: Do sing
Mandarin: Du sheng
English: Saint of Gamblers


RATING: 7/10


Conceived merely as a low budget attempt to cash in on the success of the Chow Yun-fat hit, GOD OF GAMBLERS, Corey Yuen Kwai & Jeff Lau Chun-wai’s jubilant little sleeper went on to out-gross it at the box office and made Stephen Chiau Sing-chi a superstar in the process. Mainland hick Shing (Chiau) arrives in HK and drives his Uncle Blackie (Ng Man-tat) crazy until the latter learns that Shing has powers allowing him to see through solid objects. Ever the gambling man, Blackie realizes that his nephew's gifts could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. Word soon gets out about Shing and he finds himself caught between HK gambling master Hung Kwong (Paul Chun Pui) and his Taiwanese counterpart, Chan Chung (Jeff Lau), both of whom want him to represent them in a forthcoming competition. The latter manages to get Shing first, prompting Hung to try and knock him off. The attempt fails but Shing has fallen head-over-heels for his boss's beautiful bodyguard, Yee-mong (Sharla Cheung Man), and is unable to play when she is taken hostage by Hung's men.

Stephen Chiau Ng Man-tat L to R: Sharla Cheung, Vincent Wan, Stephen Chiau

The film just spins its wheels during the portion covering Shing's depression over the loss of his love but the remainder is engaging fun. As per genre regulations, the buffoonery is bracketed with plenty of shootouts and hand-to-hand combat, well choreographed by Corey Yuen (who also plays a supporting role). Chiau and Ng play off each other as well as any comic team around and the big card game finale offers up a terrific climactic twist. In addition to the expected preponderance of scatological gags, there's a great send-up of A BETTER TOMORROW and Chiau also does a couple of wicked Bruce Lee imitations! In spite of its name, GOD OF GAMBLERS II (issue #227a) is actually the follow-up to this film, while 1995's THE SAINT OF GAMBLERS is the "official" sequel (with Eric Kot Man-fai a poor replacement for Chiau). Sandra Ng Kwan-yu, Vincent Wan Yeung-ming and Sheila Chan Sak-lan are also in the cast and some of composer Lowell Lo Kwun-ting’s cues would also turn up in his soundtrack for the same year’s SHE SHOOTS STRAIGHT.

Paul Chun Jeff Lau (left), Stephen Chiau Sharla Cheung


Mei Ah released ALL FOR THE WINNER on DVD a while back, but the source material was missing some footage, so they have taken another shot at it. Although the case carries a 99 minute running time, the version on the disc clocks in at 101, the same length as the old Star Entertainment laserdisc. Contrasts are weak in dimly lit sequences, but the presentation looks clean and reasonably detailed, a definite improvement over initial video releases and about as good as a quickie production like this can look. The original Cantonese and Mandarin tracks are okay, but the re-mixes on the former language add fun stereo separations that enhance the humor of some sequences. The subtitles are pretty good, but still do not cover the dialogue heard under the end crawl. Trailers for this film and Wong Kar-wai’s 2046 (in the Best Buy) section are included, along with the inevitable Data Bank feature.

This DVD is available at:

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

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DVD Specifications

  • Hong Kong Release
  • NTSC – Region 0
  • Mei Ah Entertainment #DVD-703
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 & 2.0/DTS
  • Post-synced Cantonese and Mandarin Language
  • Subtitles (Optional): English, Traditional & Simplified Chinese
  • 10 Chapters
  • 16:9 Enhanced (1.79:1)
  • 101 Minutes

Ratings & Consumer Information

  • Australia: M 15+
  • Hong Kong: II
  • Ontario: AA
  • Quebec: G
  • Contains moderate violence and coarse language


  • 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