God of Gamblers II

Reviewed by YTSL

Andy Lau in full-blown charm mode (as the charitable “Knight of Gamblers”).  Stephen Chow aiming for laughs as well as to impress (as a self-anointed “Saint of Gamblers”).  The woman who happened to be the female lead of both the smash hit “God of Gamblers” (I) and its even more successful -- with local box office takings amounting to a massive HK $41,326,156.00 -- parody, “All for the Winner” (Cheung Man).  One thoroughly amusing Bruce Lee impersonation and a couple of immensely jokey references to “Swordsman”.  Some gun battles and comic routines along with gambling contests.  Demonstrations of magical powers, an inspirational message courtesy of a Kuwaiti man prior to his going off to help fight against Iraq plus a main villain named Hussein together with a verbal reference to -- plus separate cameo appearance by -- director Wong Jing.

Surely only in Hong Kong could all these disparate elements come together, especially in the fairly comfortable -- though admittedly not especially inspired -- way that they do, in this multi-genre work which rather effectively manages to be a sequel of a popular late 1989 film starring Chow Yun-Fat and the mid 1990 star-making vehicle for Stephen Chow that (good naturedly) lampooned quite a few portions of it?  This all the more so when one takes into account how quickly put together GOD OF GAMBLERS II -- which, by the way, ought NOT be confused with that which sometimes bears the title of “God of Gamblers 2” but is better known as “God of Gamblers Returns” -- was (For the record:  We’re talking here about a movie that was released barely 3 months after the first Stephen Chow gambling comedy ended its run in the then British colony’s cinemas!).
In GOD OF GAMBLERS II, Andy Lau reprises his “God of Gamblers” role as Little Knife.  Unlike in the previous movie though, he -- who now is sans girlfriend (Joey Wong, alas, is thus missing from this picture) -- is now the master disciple of Ko Chun (The character who Chow Yun-Fat expertly essayed in two films looms over proceedings but does not actually have a truly visible and significant role here).  Back in Hong Kong shortly after winning US$10 million -- 95% of which he is required by his mentor to give to charity -- in a single card game staged in Las Vegas, he -- who now would like to be called Michael Chan rather than Little Knife (but can’t get many people to do so!) -- finds himself being pestered by a gambling idiot savant of sorts named Sing Chi (The Mr. Chow whose Chinese name IS Sing Chi once more plays the character he first portrayed in “All for the Winner”) and his Uncle Tat (who comes in the form of Ng Man TAT) who insistently believe that Sing Chi ought to become Ko Chun’s and his (junior) associate.
In the middle of Little Knife’s fending of Sing Chi and Uncle Tat’s quirky entreaties, a serious attempt on his life is made by a group of armed men hired by an old enemy of him (and Ko Chun) along with that elder nemesis’ son-in-law (a Chinese looking fellow – Sin Lap-man -  who nevertheless has Hussein as his moniker).  Little Knife manages to elude his foes but they succeed in wounding and capturing his bodyguard, Loong Ng (Like Cheung Man, Charles Heung plays a different -- though similar in type -- character from the one which he essayed in “God of Gamblers”).  Finding Sing Chi and Uncle Tat -- who happen to be in the vicinity when the attack occurred -- to have been willing to go to his defence, Little Knife enlists their aid to rescue Loong Ng and also help him amass enough money to enter a big gambling competition that Hussein -- who successfully passed himself off to the media and public as the one with the title of “Knight of Gamblers” -- has organized on board a large boat.
Quite a few things happen before the right time, opportunity and occasion arrives for Little Knife -- and Sing Chi -- to go to the (card) table and play for big stakes against Hussein.  Without giving too much away, here’s stating that among these are:  The appearing onto the scene of the new character portrayed by Cheung Man (Dream Lo is neither Sing Chi’s “All for the Winner” lady love or Ko Chun’s “God of Gamblers” wife); a visit to the gambling den whose owner is played by Shing Fui On; and the re-entering into the frame of Loong Ng’s equally expert shooter sister, Loong Kan (Monica Chan in yet another small but impact-making role), after a short introductory appearance earlier in the film.
While all these prefiguring occurrences are not entirely without interest, in truth, GOD OF GAMBLERS II does not really soar to the exalted heights this (re)viewer had hoped that all of the work would have until everyone of some significance in this movie gets on Hussein’s gambling boat.  This having been said, I still do reckon that the offering is worth checking out.  Just don’t bet on it being as wonderfully surprising as “God of Gamblers” and consistently entertaining as “All for the Winner”.  With some luck as well as lower(ed) expectations, you then might end up having a more generally satisfying viewing experience than I did with regards to it.

My rating for this film:  6.5

DVD Information:

Distributed by Mei Ah

The transfer is basic - very basic - but viewable.

NOT Letterboxed

Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks

The subtitles are burnt on Chinese and English.

There is no menu - and thus no extras