The good news is that, in director Wong Jing's sequel to his 1989 hit God of Gamblers, Chow Yun Fat does not revert to a childlike state, meaning that viewers don't have to repeat the ordeal of seeing the usually cool star behaving like a drooling retard; the bad news is that, despite more action this time around, the film is just as bad as the first one, relying far too heavily on puerile comedy and dumb magical mumbo-jumbo for its own good.
Chow returns as Ko Chun, now retired from gambling and living in France with his pregnant wife; but when wicked criminal/gambler Chao Siu Chi (Hsing-kuo Wu) comes looking for Ko, desperate to prove himself as the number one gambler in the world, Ko's idyllic world comes tumbling down like a house of cards (see what I did there?). Chao Siu Chi kills Ko's wife and unborn child, leaving a very unhappy God of Gamblers swearing revenge.
The film starts well enough, with lots of ballistic action as the heavily armed baddies storm Ko's home (although there is a disappointing lack of bloody squibs this time around), followed by a surprisingly nasty demise for our hero's wife (she has her unborn child pulled from her womb). Another early scene on a yacht, where Ko defends a Taiwanese gangster and his family from Chau's men, is also well staged. From this point on, though, it's all downhill
Ko is landed with an irritating child side-kick and, pursued by the police, and stumbles from one terrible comedic situation to the next for what seems like an eternity. After lots of cringe-worthy gags, a spot of political humour (that went right over my head) and some awful nonsense involving a secret agent called Eagle, Ko arrives in Taiwan where he eventually faces Chao Siu Chi in a casino for a supposedly thrilling climax that takes quite a bit of swallowing (the whole thing with the hair attached to the card—WTF?).
4.5 out of 10, rounded up to 5 for the brief shot of Ko's unborn child in a specimen jar (surprisingly nasty) and the welcome presence of Chingamy Yau as Hoi Tong, the sexy, kick-ass daughter of the Taiwanese crime boss.
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