Review: FROM VEGAS TO MACAU II 賭城風雲 II (2015) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Review: FROM VEGAS TO MACAU II 賭城風雲 II (2015)

Chow Yun-Fat's energetic and wacky charm alone can't save much in this sloppy, yet largely uninspired sequel of FROM VEGAS TO MACAU.


Last year, the highly-anticipated return of Chow Yun-Fat and Wong Jing's collaboration in FROM VEGAS TO MACAU wasn't exactly GOD OF GAMBLERS-like level of success. But the movie made enough money at the box office to warrant a quick sequel for this year. However, despite a bigger budget and a star-studded cast including Nick Cheung, Carina Lau and Shawn Yue, FROM VEGAS TO MACAU II fails to improve or even replicate the success of the first movie.

WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?

In this sequel, popular gambler Ken (Chow Yun-Fat) reunites with his protégé, Vincent (Shawn Yue) -- now an Interpol agent -- to assist in a case involving a major criminal organisation known as D.O.A. Apparently, D.O.A.'s accountant, Mark (Nick Cheung) and his little daughter Yan (Angela Wang) has recently fled to Thailand with US$15 billion of their money.

THE GOOD STUFF
 
Technically speaking, FROM VEGAS TO MACAU II is blessed with decent production values, courtesy of Andrew Lau and Cho Man-Keung's vibrant cinematography. The action, particularly the one set in Thailand, has its moments of fun and excitement.

Likewise, Chow Yun-Fat remains the main anchor for the movie. From exuding his signature cool and charming persona to performing broad slapstick comedy in the wackiest way possible, Chow Yun-Fat is always fun to watch for, even though he doesn't succeed entirely. Meanwhile, it's nice to see Nick Cheung taking a break from serious role and play a comedy performance for a change. Carina Lau is adequate enough in her role as Ken's old flame, Molly. In fact, she and Chow Yun-Fat delivers quite a good chemistry together.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT(S)
 
The parody scene where Mark does a funny impersonation of Chow's famous role Ko Chun from GOD OF GAMBLERS complete with slicked back hairstyle, long coat, scarf and chocolate while entering an illegal Thai casino; and another parody scene before the end credits featuring a cameo appearance reprising a role from GOD OF GAMBLERS series.

THE BAD STUFF
  
Although Wong Jing's brand of comedy has been always lowbrow and trashy, but at least the jokes are reasonably funny in the first movie. But not so for the sequel since most of the jokes here either misses the mark or trying too hard to be funny. Case in point is the lengthy, yet painfully unfunny moments between Ken and his robot butler as well as the whole scene where he fights against a Muay Thai champion (Ken Lo).

The pacing is another issue, while the plot is haphazardly written to the point where quality is almost out of the question. While it's perfectly understandable that one shouldn't be expecting an award-worthy level of quality in a Chinese New Year movie offering, FROM VEGAS TO MACAU II wasted lots of potential throughout its nearly two-hour length.

Not every cast in this movie is praiseworthy. For instance, Shaw Brothers veteran David Chiang doesn't get to do much in his cameo appearance while Shawn Yue spends almost the whole duration acting with the same constipated face as an Interpol agent, Vincent. Despite her adorable appearance, Angela Wang looks largely forceful with her role, especially when the movie requires her to emote.

FINAL WORDS


Frankly, I wasn't expecting a lot from the sequel as long as the movie is worthwhile. Unfortunately, FROM VEGAS TO MACAU II turns out to be a major disappointment. Even if I try my best not to be too judgmental and enjoy for what it is, the sequel also fails to do justice as a piece of satisfying mindless entertainment.

* This review is written courtesy from GSC press screening *

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