Ji juen mo seung
Mandarin: Zhi zun wu shuang
English: Most Respected, No Superior
Many believe it was Wong Jing's GOD OF GAMBLERS that ignited the late 80s/early
90s gambling movie craze in HK but this popular production (co-helmed and
co-written by Wong and Jimmy Heung Wah-sing) actually predated it by six months
and is a better movie in most respects. Master gamblers Sam Law (Alan Tam
Wing-lun) and Crab Chan (Andy Lau Tak-wah) are reunited when the latter is
released from jail. The pair head to America, where Sam helps a casino manager
(Charles Heung Wah-keung) nail some Japanese sharks (including the ubiquitous
Lung Fong) that have won over $60 million from the establishment in just two
weeks. While there, Sam meets beautiful heiress Tong Koyan (Idy Chan Yuk-lin)
and uses a rather elaborate practical joke to help win her favor. Unfortunately,
the Japanese hire men to get revenge and, in the process of saving Sam's life,
Crab's left hand gets slashed, effectively ending his days as a lightning-fast
con artist. After a further attempt on his life, Sam accepts an offer tabled
to him by Koyan's father: Sam will receive a job in his company, if he agrees
to leave his life of crime behind him. Unable to support himself and unwilling
to take money from Sam, Crab challenges the Japanese gangsters to a high stakes
game but Sam refuses to go to the match with him. Crab swindles his opponents
out of their money and the Japanese retaliate by kidnapping Koyan, setting
the stage for multiple tragedies.
Darker than most of the imitations it spawned, CASINO RAIDERS is closer in
tone to the gangster films being produced at this time in the way it mixes
melodramatic plotting with strong male bonding and acrobatic gunplay. Alan
Tam and Andy Lau both deliver solid performances and the big game finale is
enjoyably tense, with a surprising denouement. However, some viewers may be
put off by the brutality directed towards women here, something that Wong
Jing's work has often been criticized for. Actor/director Che-Kirk Wong Chi-keung
gives a typically colorful turn as a crooked cop, and Rosamund Kwan Chi-lam,
Eddy Ko Hung, Shum Wai, Ronald Wong Pan, Robin Shou Wan-bo, and Godfrey Ho
regular Mike Abbott also appear in support. CASINO RAIDERS II and NO RISK,
NO GAIN: CASINO RAIDERS THE SEQUEL have no direct connection to this production.
Cover art courtesy Universe.
|Universe #5295 (Hong Kong
Dolby Digital 5.1
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks (both post-synced)
Optional Subtitles in English and Chinese (Traditional
8 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With Clips
Coded for ALL Regions
Contains brutal violence and coarse language
DVD menu courtesy
BOARD RATINGS AND CONSUMER ADVICE
Great Britain: 18 [Passed With Cuts
totalling 56 seconds]
Hong Kong: IIB
Ontario: R (Violence)
Singapore: PG [Passed With Cuts]
The original HK theatrical version reportedly runs 124
minutes but the ERA laserdisc (which is choppy in spots and has no opening
or closing credits) is only 114 minutes. Universe's DVD clocks in at 124 but,
alas, the image is soft and bland, with light hues and weak contrasts. Also,
a low bit rate has been utilized in order to cram the movie on to a single
layer, resulting in occasional smearing and displacement. The 5.1 track is
fairly well-handled, adding some dimension and separations to what was a pretty
basic mix originally. Star Files on Andy Lau and Alan Tam are the only extras.
CASINO RAIDERS is
available at Poker Industries.
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© John Charles 2000 - 2003. All Rights Reserved.