Tuesday, December 13, 2005

# Posted 9:09 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

GOD OF GAMBLERS, made back in 1989, is an unusual film from Hong Kong starring Chow Yun Fat. Only accustomed to Chow's persona as an action hero, I enjoyed watching him play against type. If I said anything more, I will have said too much.
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You should check out God of Gamblers 3. Even though it's not Chow Yun Fat... it's pretty amazing.
David: if you want a good background reader on this stuff, check out Bordwell's Planet Hong Kong. Terrific and interesting book on the political economy and cultural economy (for lack of a better term) of Hong Kong film production prior to the handover. It has a nice discussion of the God of Gambler's series - particularly how the series entered into rounds of "one-up-manship" against another series that satirized God of Gamblers.

The question I have for you is this: was the transfer any good. Back in the day, we had to buy a dubious DVD from ebay in which the subtitles were clipped on either side of the scrren.
Another great read on HK cinema is Thomas Weisser's ASIAN CULT CINEMA. GoG 1 gets 3 stars, GoG 2 only 1 star and a half and GoG 3 gets 2 stars.

Personally, I find the GoG series quite average. Chow Yn-Fat is always good, but his co-star, Andy Lau is too stiff. The other two GoG films star another Chow, Stephen. He's a Jim Carrey of HK, but his humor doesn't translate well to English.
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