Review: FROM VEGAS TO MACAU 賭城風雲 (2014) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Review: FROM VEGAS TO MACAU 賭城風雲 (2014)

Review: FROM VEGAS TO MACAU 賭城風雲 (2014)
Chow Yun-Fat reigns supreme in this formulaic but entertaining action comedy.

It's been 20 years since Chow Yun-Fat last portrayed his iconic Ko Chun role in 1994's GOD OF GAMBLERS RETURNS. And this year, he's finally back to the gambling genre that first made him popular in 1989's GOD OF GAMBLERS. Unfortunately, FROM VEGAS TO MACAU is not the long-awaited GOD OF GAMBLERS 4 everyone has been anticipating for. Despite the return of Chow Yun-Fat and director Wong Jing, FROM VEGAS TO MACAU is actually a new movie altogether.

Chow Yun-Fat plays Ken, who was once a renowned gambler and a former Vegas security consultant known for his "magic hands" technique. When Ken invited his old buddy, a retired swindler named Benz (Hui Shiu Hung) to Las Vegas for his lavish birthday event, Benz's son, Cool (Nicholas Tse) wants to become Ken's protege. Meanwhile, Cool's undercover brother (Philip Ng) is killed by one of Mr Ko's (Gao Hu) right-hand men, Ghost Eyes (Max Zhang) for trying to expose his money-laundering operation. The cops (led by Michael Wong and Jing Tian) seek Ken's expertise to help them apprehend Mr Ko at all cost, while Cool has set his sights to avenge his brother's death against Ghost Eyes.
The biggest attraction in this movie is definitely none others than Chow Yun-Fat himself. It's been a very long time since we watch Chow Yun-Fat in such jovial mood. Even though he's nearly 60 years old, he's hardly lost his charisma and comic flair at all. Whether flirting and romancing around with Annie Wu and Jing Tian, singing with Hui Shiu Hung and Maria Cordero, showing off his skills on the gambling table or stylishly flicks his gold-playing cards as throwing weapons, Chow Yun-Fat's hugely entertaining performance is the reason that made this movie a fun experience to watch for.

Meanwhile, director Wong Jing manages to retain some of the wacky charms that we used to watch from GOD OF GAMBLERS series. His direction is fast and furious, at which he blends action, comedy and romance in a fairly enjoyable manner.

The brief but memorable scene occurs midway during the end credit rolls... let's just say it involves a certain character making a cameo appearance that guarantees to give the fans something to cheer about.

It's quite a pity that the rest of the actors doesn't fare as good as Chow Yun-Fat does. For instance, Nicholas Tse is almost wasted here as Cool. Same goes to Chapman To as Karl, who appears to be more annoying than actually being funny. The female cast, in the meantime, ranging from Kimmy Tong, Annie Wu to Jing Tian, are mostly reduced to eye-candy roles.

Wong Jing's screenplay has several rough patches as well, especially when it comes to numerous subplots. Some of them are almost useless, like the one involving the would-be romance between Cool and Rainbow (Kimmy Tong). Even some of the jokes feel either forceful or recycled from Wong Jing's previous own movies.

While the movie isn't as nearly memorable as GOD OF GAMBLERS, FROM VEGAS TO MACAU remains a recommendable effort worth watching for this Chinese New Year. After all, how often do you get to watch Chow Yun-Fat playing such a role these days?

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