Saint of Gamblers
1995, NR Directed by Wong Jing. Starring Chan Sil-Chun, Ng Man-Tat, Chingmay Yau, Sik Sui-Loong, Lam Kwok-Bun, Donnie Yen Chi-Tat.
REVIEWED By Joey O'Bryan, Wed., March 13, 1996
This is the latest piece of indefensible garbage from that most prolific of Hong Kong filmmaking hacks, Wong Jing. Yet somehow, despite the fact that it's incompetently directed and makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, the movie manages to be a perversely fascinating exercise in unparalleled stupidity. Although this purports to be a spin-off of the wildly popular God of Gamblers films, none of the stars previously involved with that series makes an appearance here (save Ng Man-tat, who had small roles in parts II and III). Instead, we're left with newcomer Chan Sil-chun, who has none of the charisma of part one's Chow Yun-fat, the good looks of part two's Andy Lau Tak-wah, or the great comic timing of part three's Stephen Chaiu Sing-chi. With that much already working against him, Chan compensates the only way he knows how, namely by making an ass out of himself for the entire duration of the picture. The rest of the cast is all too eager to follow his lead, especially Ng Man-tat, who appears here as a scummy opportunist who finds himself unable to control his sexual urges whenever he's referred to as “Uncle.” The only cast member to keep his cool here is underappreciated action star Donnie Yen Chi-tat (Iron Monkey), who pops up near the end of the film for a whole 10 minutes as “Lone Seven,” a tough, high-kicking lawman who saves our silly heroes from certain death so that they can run off and win the climactic gambling championship that inevitably ends all pictures in this particular genre. With its unbelievable barrage of Michael Jackson child-molestation jokes and surreal, cartoon-style slapstick, Saint of Gamblers may very well be the most inane mess Wong Jing has produced to date, which, to those who know the man's previous work, is really saying something. Obviously, mainstream moviegoers had best stay far, far away from Saint of Gamblers, but, for Hong Kong film buffs who get a demented kick out of seeing just how low Wong can sink before he's never allowed to make movies again, maybe this ridiculous picture will be good for a laugh or two. Maybe.