God of Gamblers Returns
AKA: God of Gamblers: The Return, God of Gamblers 2
Director: Wong Jing
Writer: Wong Jing
Stars: Chow Yun-Fat, Chingmy Yau, Tze Miu, Wu Chien-Lin, Tony Leung Ka-Fai
Ko Chun, known as the "God of Gamblers" (Chow) has retired, but an old rival of his, the "Devil of Gamblers" won't let the God go so easily. He travels to France to find the GoG, but finds his wife instead and decides to kill her. Did I mention he guts her and thus kills her unborn child. The GoG returns home and is understandably pissed, but his wife make him promise that he won't gamble or use the name of God of Gamblers for a year. Flash forward 11 months later, where the GoG is trying to forget his troubles by traveling around the Mainland, where he meets up with a kindly old Triad boss. Turns out the boss pissed off the Devil, so he gets whacked, leaving the GoG to take care of the boss' kid (Tze), who happens to be a genius martial arts expert. The GoG manages (with the help of bumbling con artists Leung and Wu) to bring the kid home okay to his sister (Yau), but the Devil is in hot pursuit. The God of Gamblers must decide whether to keep his promise to his wife or take revenge for her.
Unlike the first God of Gamblers, which was a fairly light-heartened romp in the vein of Rain Man, God of Gamblers Returns has the genre-mixing and ultra-violence one would expect from a Wong Jing movie. The violent bits are what really gets a lot of peoples goads up, but really, I didn't find them all that shocking, though I will admit they are a bit distasteful in parts (cat lovers will have a tough time with one part in particular). But I think the film works really well as a whole. Chow isn't quite as endearing as in the first movie, but he still gives a great performance. The rest of the cast isn't as good, but there are no stinkers -- even Chingmy Yau redeems herself from some of her horrible past performances. Once you see the sequence with her involving martial arts and gambling, you'll become a fan. A lot of critics like to label films as "roller coaster rides," but God of Gamblers Returns is one movie that truly deserves that moniker. It goes all over the place, but it's such a fun ride you won't notice.
Note: due to the several titles for the film, you may be confused. There were actually two other God of Gamblers films produced without Chow Yun-Fat, but some distributors have labeled this movie part 2 (even though it is the fourth GoG movie) since it is the second one featuring Chow Yun-Fat.
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