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Do San (the God of gamblers) is a legendary gambler helped by his supernatural abilities. He undertakes to help a friend pay a debt by beating his friend's advisory at the card table. Despite being assigned a bodyguard Do San has a freak accident which leaves him with partial memory loss and at a mental stage of a child. The small time hustler Knife, his side-kick and his girl friend, being responsible for the accident takes care of the retarded Do San. After some time they discover that he has not lost all of his powers and takes him on a round at the local gambling halls. After being chased by both Knife's loan-shark and enemies closer to the home of Do San, a final showdown at the card tables may take place. Written by
Staale A. Olsen <email@example.com>
It is kind of odd that it is only now 23 years after the movie was released that I actually got around to watching it, especially since I am a huge fan of Hong Kong cinema, and "God of Gamblers" is one of the heavy-weighters of Hong Kong cinema. Why? Well when it was released it wasn't easy to get a hand on the VHS copy here in Denmark, and not even when I lived in Hong Kong did I acquire it.
So did the movie deliver and live up to my expectations? Well, yes and no. Yes, because it was a very interesting movie and a genre defining one for the time it was made. No, because there was a little bit too much juvenile attempts at incorporating comedy into the movie, which failed miserably.
The story in "God of Gamblers" is about gambling savant Ko Chun (played by Chow Yun-Fat) who is known as the God of Gamblers amongst the gambling circuit of Hong Kong. Chun is living the good life, lots of money, fame and everything he could ask for, but it is all taken away one fateful night as he has an accident which leaves him with amnesia. With all memories gone, except for his unprecedented knack for gambling, small time hustler Knife (played by Andy Lau) takes advantage of Chun in order to further his own ambition. With lots at stake, can Chun recover his past and win the all important upcoming gambling event?
Actually the story was quite interesting, good and entertaining, however the laughable and juvenile attempts at incorporating comedy into the movie somewhat brought down the overall impression of the movie as a whole. Had director Jing Wong opted to not make use of this inappropriate comedy, the movie would have worked on a whole other level.
As for the cast, well of course you know what you get with Chow Yun-Fat, however this movie was fairly early in his career and he hadn't honed his actual acting talent all that much, it is heavier on the action parts (though thankfully later in his career the acting picked up). And opposite him there is Andy Lau with also is one of the major names in Hong Kong cinema.
"God of Gamblers" proved to be good entertainment (if you look past the comedy parts) and is a definite must have to any DVD collection to fans of Hong Kong cinema everywhere. And having seen this first movie now, I am looking forward to actually getting around to watched the sequel (and perhaps even the spin-offs as well).
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