All for the Winner
This 1990 film was Stephen Chow’s first comedic
hit and was to begin his journey into becoming HK's resident comic genius.
Previously, Chow had been in a few dramas and a few decent comedies, but
in this one he successfully brings together certain comedic elements that
he was to often use and build on during his career – a naïve almost
blank persona, film parodies, toilet humor and verbal banter among others.
The film is quite humorous – though in a low-key manner - but it also has
a few top-notch action scenes as well as a few moments that feel very heartfelt.
It is a jewel of a film and it is no wonder that it was a box-office hit.
It was also his first true pairing up with
his sidekick Ng Man-Tat. The two of them have since appeared together in
many more of Chow’s films and have developed a real bounce off one another
type of chemistry.
After the huge popularity of Chow Yun Fat’s 1989
God of Gamblers, there was an outpouring of films with gambling themes.
Chow, though going for the humorous angle, was clearly influenced by that
film and at one point he actually watches God of Gamblers in order to learn
how to look cool. Of course when he makes a grand entrance in slow-mo ala
God of Gamblers – everyone thinks he is crazy.
Chow comes from the Mainland to stay with his
uncle – Ng Man-Tat – who soon learns that Chow has psychic powers and the
ability to look through things. Chow is such an innocent that he has never
used his powers for any personal gain, but under the wise (and greedy)
tutelage of his uncle, Chow is directed into the world of gambling. Clearly
the ability to see the cards and read the minds of horses is a big plus
and soon Ng Man-Tat and Chow are making lots of money and coming to the
attention of others. On one occasion a gang of thugs come after them and
Chow displays some stunning martial arts abilities.
Eventually he comes across the beautifully divine
angular looks of Cheung Man who is a killer for a big shot gambler – Paul
Chun Pui and falls madly in love with her. Cheung Man was to become Chow’s
favorite female co-star for many years until a falling out. She looks great
here – has some very nice action scenes – and nearly steals every scene
she is in.
Finally the World Championship of Gamblers takes
place and Chow has to face Paul Chun only to discover that his powers have
disappeared – and only the power of love can bring them back.
This film really doesn’t have a weak moment –
but it also doesn’t have too many laugh out loud routines. One that was
though was absurd and was a wonderful hint of things to come in future
films. In this routine Chow becomes attached to Sandra Ng’s under arm mole
because it reminds him of Cheung Man and she has to keep her arm up to
keep his powers intact. Chow takes it to some very funny extremes.
There is also a nice turn done from Corey Yuen
who plays one of the people that Ng Man-Tat lives with and he is the conscious
of the movie.
My rating for this film: 8.0