Director: Wong Jing
Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Joey Wong Cho-Yin, Sharla Cheung Man, Ng Man-Tat
The God of Gamblers, Ko Chun (Chow Yun-Fat) goes missing after gambling at a private game and ends up losing his memory. Feeling guilty for setting the trap that he blundered into, Knife (Andy Lau) and his friends decide to look after him and find out that he is a gambling genius, coming to call him “King of Gamblers” and hitting up all the shady places they can find.
Trouble brews when Knife mistreats Ko and is also a terrible gambler himself, leading to him owing a big debt to a loanshark (Ng Man-Tat) and also the bad guys who the God of Gamblers is meant to have a big card game coming up with their boss are looking for him to get rid of him.
Miraculously, Ko’s bodyguard appears to save the day and they only just get out alive. While running away from the police in shock from all the killings, Ko falls and hits his head again. Later in the hospital with his old memories, he doesn’t know Knife and his former friend who set him up is sucking up to him.
Unknown to Ko in his absence, his former friend has colluded with the gang boss he is meant to gamble with and wants him to lose. This sets the scene for a tense scene on a ship that is meant to be sailing into international waters. Who will win?
For some reason I had seen the sequel to this movie and not the original. I do not recall seeing Stephen Chow’s parody of the movie that was so good it landed him a place in one of the sequels.
In terms of iconic characters Chow Yun Fat’s portrayal is up there with Mark Gor in a Better Tomorrow and I can’t even fathom how Wong Jing can make something like this in the 1980s and then go on to make such rubbish.
While the gambling scenes are the heart of the movie there are quite good gunplay scenes and some light relief on offer when things get too dark from Chow Yun Fat playing up the head injury aspect.
Andy Lau is a mere slip of a boy here and is quite mean to Chow Yun Fat’s character, but comes through in the end.
If you have never seen this movie I would recommend it and just ignore Wong Jing’s later work unless you are a huge fan with an ability to tolerate bad trash. It’s not even funny trash, it’s just bad and has nasty stuff in it for so reason. Better stop here or I will go on and on.