ReviewWriter: Casey ChongWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“God Of Gamblers” series
When it comes to gambling movies, the "God Of Gamblers" series - ranging from 1989's "God Of Gamblers" and 1994's "God Of Gamblers Returns" (both starring Chow Yun-Fat) to 1996's prequel "God Of Gamblers 3: The Early Stage" - remains as one of the most enduring genre staples ever made for the Hong Kong cinema. In fact, the series is popularly known as one of Wong Jing's signature hits as well as one of Chow Yun-Fat's most iconic role ever played.
When the new installment, "From Vegas To Macau" was announced last year, many have thought that it's actually the long-awaited "God Of Gamblers 4" since it brings back Chow Yun-Fat, director Wong Jing and of course, the very theme of gambling itself. However, "From Vegas To Macau" was later revealed as an entirely new storyline altogether. Instead of reprising his famous role as Ko Chun, Chow Yun-Fat now plays Ken, a world-famous gambler and an ex-Vegas security consultant known for his 'magic hands' technique. His expertise is needed when Cool (Nicholas Tse) wants to become his protege. Things soon turn sour when Cool's family becomes a target of the notorious money-laundering syndicate, led by Mr. Ko (Gao Hu) and it's up to Ken to save the day.
Everything about "From Vegas To Macau" is basically a rehash of the "God Of Gamblers" series repackaged for the 21st century. If you are familiar with Wong Jing's directing effort, the story (for which Wong Jing himself penned the screenplay) is mostly a cut-and-paste job borrowed from his own previous efforts. Not surprisingly, some of the jokes feel forced (particularly the one involving Chapman To's Karl) and even some of the subplots (like the one involving the would-be romance between Cool and Ken's beautiful daughter, Rainbow, played by Kimmy Tong) are halfhearted.
However, the movie remains a reasonably entertaining effort, thanks to the incredible performance by none other than Chow Yun-Fat himself. It's been a very long time since Chow Yun-Fat headlined a big-studio production in Hong Kong like "From Vegas To Macau" but luckily he still has what it takes to make his presence engaging enough. Whether fooling around with his hilarious antics, singing with Benz Hui and Maria Cordero, flirting with Annie Wu and Jing Tian, strutting his skills on the gambling table or coolly using a pack of gold-playing cards as throwing weapons, Chow Yun-Fat is simply fun to watch. In fact, he is such a complete entertainer that he easily dwarfs the rest of his co-stars including Nicholas Tse (who looks half-interested here) and Chapman To (who tries too hard to be funny but ends up more annoying instead).
While "From Vegas To Macau" doesn't quite reach the creative height of Wong Jing's and Chow Yun-Fat's collaboration decades ago, at least the movie does retain some of the wacky charm seen in the "God Of Gamblers" series audiences loved before. Remember to stick around when the end credit rolls - there's a brief scene midway featuring a certain 'cameo' appearance that is a must-see for all fans.Cinema Online, 27 January 2014