Hong Kong Digital
is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- a film
reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author of The Hong
My Name Is Nobody
Wong Jing. Image courtesy Universe.
For some, the acting bug never truly goes away and that looks to be the case with Wong Jing. After appearing in a number of 1980s films, Wong seemingly decided to stay behind the camera for the rest of his career. However, he has been popping up in several recent productions, including this purported follow-up to ALL FOR THE WINNER and THE SAINT OF GAMBLERS. He even gets star billing above Nick Cheung Kar-fai, Hsu Chi, and Monica Chan Fat-yung!
Nick Cheung Kar-fai and Wong Jing. Image courtesy Universe.
Cardsharp Who-the-Hell (Cheung) travels to Shenzhen for his latest sting, fleecing $800,000 from a dimwitted mark (Lam Suet), with the help of his Uncle Lo (Wong). While celebrating their victory in a nightclub, Lo unknowingly hits on the girlfriend of local triad boss Tough Ho (Lung Fong...you just knew he'd be in here somewhere, didn't you?) and only Who's impeccable skills save them from being chopped. Back in HK, the gambler falls in love with blind model Candy (Hsu Chi), whose father, Chicken (Hui Shiu-hung), has been squandering money that was meant to cure her eyes.
Hsu Chi. Image courtesy Universe.
Tough pays a surprise visit and demands that Who and Lo join up with him for a series of swindles. All three profit handsomely from this arrangement but Candy, a practicing Christian, disapproves of Who's vices and her dad turns out be his next patsy. Chicken has stolen all of Candy's money and already lost $2 million of it, prompting Who to let him win it all back. However, Tough removes Who from the game and replaces him with Who's scheming protege, Chun. Chickens fortunes quickly go south and during the inevitable fight afterwards, Chun bashes his former master in the head, leaving him sightless. Lo sells all of his assets and Candy is still able to have her operation but the humiliated Who does his best to avoid her. He is eventually able to overcome this shame and seeks revenge, providing the set-up for the requisite high stakes finale.
While the previous two entries were comedies, MY NAME IS NOBODY is largely played straight, being more akin to films like CASINO RAIDERS. This is actually appropriate for Nick Cheung, as he found fame at TVB for his dramatic roles but is usually cast in movies as the kind of obnoxious wiseguys that Stephen Chiau used to play. Director Aman Cheung Man keeps the film visually interesting but the script is formulaic and the big game offers no surprises at all, an unpardonable sin in this genre. Worst of all, there is a sequence, set in a movie theatre, wherein Cheung shames a patron into putting away his video camera by convincing him that pirates' avarice is ruining the film industry -- big words from someone who makes a living cheating people! (The fact that they are criminals makes it alright in his eyes). The film does offer one interesting aside about some unexpected consequences that arise from Who's quest for vengeance and this makes for an uncharacteristic ending of the sort more often found in TV serials. Monica Chan co-stars as Wong's loyal girlfriend, while Spencer Lam Sheung-yee (playing yet another priest), Lee Siu-kei (playing yet another triad), and Louie Yuen Siu-cheung (as a goofy pianist) also appear.
Monica Chan Fat-yung. Image courtesy Universe.
Trivia Note: Wong Jing's character is named Lo Sei-hoi after the master gambler played by Patrick Tse Yin in the classic TVB miniseries THE SHELL GAME (1980), written by Wong and produced by his father, Wong Tin-lam.
Nick Cheung and Lung Fong. Image courtesy Universe.