Hong Kong ad man Ching (John Shum) is recruited by an old friend to boost the rating of a tv game show in Taiwan. After discovering a child with psychic abilities, he sets up a televised ...
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Hong Kong ad man Ching (John Shum) is recruited by an old friend to boost the rating of a tv game show in Taiwan. After discovering a child with psychic abilities, he sets up a televised chess tournament between the boy and a power hungry champion. However, as the competition heats up, many ethical and moral issues begin to surface within this market and media driven environment. At the same time, Ching reminisces about his faithful encounter with a tragic chess master (Tony Leung Ka Fai) during the turbulent days of the Cultural Revolution in 1960s China.
Tsui Hark finished the film after the original director (Yim Ho) left the project. Yim Ho and Tsui Hark had some serious on-the-set issues with each other and has disowned the film ever since. See more »
Uses Symbolism to Tell It's Story
To some people "King of Chess" may seem like another melodramatic Tony Leung outing, but below the surface it's a deep film that is in a way a political satire that uses symbolism to tell it's story. This film is actually two stories in one; one being the main story of a child prodigy who can predict the future and utilizes this to play perfect chess, the second being the flashbacks of Ching (John Sham) who is reminded of his tumultuous past during the Cultural Revolution of the late 60's where he knew of another wise King of Chess and the mass movement and malnourishment of people led to the eating of snakes, cats and violence amongst friends. When the story of the young prodigy unravels as some learn to exploit his powers, the story of time spent in the Cultural Revolution pulls you in to make you constantly want to learn what happened next.
Even though, the film doesn't have the largest amount of excitement you constantly have concern for the people in Ching's past and the sheer emotion in the characters turmoil as the loss of home and family drives some people to sacrifice as the lowly chess master must win the title of King of Chess to regain himself and his past fortune. This is one relatively unknown film that is enjoyable to watch not only because of the story, but because of the sheer fact that you feel as if you become part of these people's story! The climatic finale to this film is not to be taken literally but is a symbolic representation of the characters true interests.
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