5.8/10
103
1 user 4 critic

Ho kong fung wan (1998)

It was the summer of 1991, Macau was in violent atmosphere.

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Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bing-Chuen Cheung
Siu Cheung ...
Gambler
Kenix Kwok
Wai-Kai Law
Wah-Kon Lee
Vincent Sze ...
Frenchie Boy
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Storyline

It was the summer of 1991, Macau was in violent atmosphere. The two major triad gangs, separately headed by Giant and Bing were fighting for the control of the local casinos, with heavy casualties on both sides. The citizens live in fear. However Bing did not regard Giant as a rival. To establish his own reputation, Giant challenged Bing to an open battle which allowed their fellow attacking each other for a period of seven days to see who will be defeated. With the support of an affiliated gang headed by Lee, Giant won the battle and made his mark in the triad world. Bing plotted a revenge against Giant that he bribed the police officer to put Giant on the wanted list. Although Giant was in a critical condition he planned a counter attack against Bing which caused a series of street fighting in Macau. Written by syf

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Crime

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6 May 1998 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Casino  »

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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Category III my ass!
23 August 2010 | by (Canpuna) – See all my reviews

First things first, the DVD of Casino clearly shows that glorious little Cat III triangle which, for a select few of us, means instant bonerville. That, combined with the fact that the legendary Billy Tang directed this, might have you assuming that it's got plenty of the usual good stuff - blood, boobs and hopefully some over-acting mega-sleazoid performing a bit of the raep on a nubile Asian hottie or two. Sorry but there's none of that here. A little bit of violence, but it's all relatively tame by HK standards. I'm guessing that, seeing as this may have been one of the very first Cat III rated flicks released after the '97 handover, the Chinese are excessively strict with their ratings. So anyway, with that out of the way, let's move on to the movie itself.

Casino follows the rise of gangster Giant (played by Simon Yam), as he engages in a turf war with a rival gang over ownership of the local casinos in Macau. Giant is loosely based on a real-life gang boss who funded and produced the film, so it's probably unwise to expect the film to follow the facts too closely. Much of the film involves Giant relating his story to a young female journalist, so there's a mixture of flashback and present day action, but honestly it's quite hard to tell the difference between the two. Present day in this case is 1991, so the movie is in fact a period piece, but never having spent any time in Macau in the early 90's (or ever, for that matter) I can't tell you how accurate it is. There is one moment which cleverly alludes to the time period when Yam sings a karaoke version of the theme tune from Once Upon a Time in China.

Overall, it's a fairly stylish affair with some nice camera-work, moody soundtrack, etc, with a combo of grit and class that comes across as perhaps a halfway point between Ringo Lam and Johnnie To, though sadly it's quite a bit sloppier than either of them. Simon Yam's his usual badass self and is always enjoyable. Hell, I'll watch anything that guy's in, even if he were dancing around in women's underwear. In fact, I've already seen that movie. He's got some good support, including Kent Cheng who continues his perfect streak of never being in a movie in which he isn't at least once referred to as Fatty.

The major letdown is the gang fights which are unchoreographed to the point of being incomprehensible - just a bunch of guys randomly swinging bats and knives at anything that moves. The main characters always seem to emerge from these melees almost completely unscathed.

So all up, a 6/10 from me, although I'm a happy camper with pretty much any kind of HK triad action. If you're a Cat III completist then maybe give it a shot. Just don't expect any circular saw dismemberments or surprise sex.


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