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Casino Raiders 2
|     review    |     notes     |     theme song     |     awards     |     availability     |
Year: 1991 "Is this your card?"
Andy Lau does David Copperfield
Director: Johnnie To Kei-Fung
Producer: Jimmy Heung
Action: Ching Siu-Tung
Cast: Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Wu Chien-Lien, Dave Wong Kit, Monica Chan Fat-Yung, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Lau Siu-Ming, Lau Kong, Kelvin Wong Siu, Lee Siu-Kei, Wong Yat-Fei
The Skinny: There's not much gambling going on in this mildly entertaining melodrama from Johnnie To. If the film comes off as a bit underwhelming, it's not for a lack of trying. After some card playing tomfoolery in the initial reel, EVERYTHING GOES TO HELL! Enjoy.
Review by
Calvin
McMillin:
     At first glance, the cover art of Casino Raiders 2 looks absolutely ludicrous. With the customary action movie "wall of flame" in the background, a leather-clad Andy Lau walks toward the camera, flanked to his right by a morose-looking Dave Wong and a blank-faced, but otherwise cute, little girl. Both of them, mind you, are sitting astride a snazzy black motorcycle. Oh, and I almost forgot: Andy and Dave are holding katanas too. Peculiar as these individual facets seem, as the film unfolds, little by little, each and every element is featured in the movie. Andy Lau sporting a Fonzie jacket with requisite motorbike in tow? Check. Dave Wong with a pig-tailed cherub? Double check! How about that huge fireball of death? You got it! Katanas? Well, no. In fact, there's nary a samurai sword in the entirety of this Johnnie To-directed flick.
     Now, lest you think that I am about to launch into an extended diatribe on the perils of false advertising, let me just say that this digression on the merits of the film's poster art—an exercise in seeming futility—does have a purpose. In many ways, the sheer nuttiness of the poster parallels the "kitchen sink" philosophy embodied by the filmmakers in the creation of this movie. Instead of merely piling on the stock action imagery as the cover art does, the film itself is a veritable deluge of shlocky, tear-jerking occurrences.
     Andy Lau and Wu Chien-Lien, the popular couple from the hit film A Moment of Romance, reunite for this unnecessarily bleak conman movie. In fact, there's so much melodrama going on that one has to wonder whether Casino Raiders 2 is supposed to be a freewheeling gambling movie or a daytime soap opera. All evidence points to the latter since the list of traumatic events occurring in this movie is seemingly endless. There's a little homicide going on, a sad case of infidelity, a harrowing scene of self-amputation, some Andy Lau strip blackjack, a few ridiculously impossible card tricks, a high speed wheelchair-bound chase of doom, unplanned parenthood, child neglect and/or abuse, blindness by lightsaber, assorted grisly gunshot wounds, and at least one hanging. But no matter what, Andy Lau still looks cool with a cigarette hanging from the side of his mouth.
     The plot? Ah, yes, that little contrivance. Well, Casino Raiders 2 centers on the gambling misadventures of Uncle Fan (Lau Siu-Ming), Chicken Feet (Lau), Lin (Wu), and Kay (Lee Sui-Kei). As related in flashbacks, a trusted gambling pal named Mr. James (Kelvin Wong) turned against Uncle Fan, leaving the elder gambler confined to a wheelchair and the old man's son, Kit (Dave Wong), taking the rap for murder! After Uncle Fan pays a visit to Davy Jones's locker, Kit coincidentally returns from prison, but is hesitant to join Chicken Feet in his plot for revenge. But Mr. James and Pow (a delightfully sleazy Anthony Wong) just won't leave things alone. It seems they're after a miraculous piece of green jade that was once owned by the God of Gamblers (sorry, no Chow Yun-Fat cameo), and was supposedly in the possession of Uncle Fan.
     In addition to all the aforementioned human tragedy, the film contains a welcome dose of good stuntwork thanks to action director Ching Siu-Tung. Wu Chien-Lien driving a car underneath the low trailer of a truck, a boat zooming onto a pier, and Andy Lau battling evildoers as fireballs explode dangerously close behind him are just some of the highlights. Of course, our heroes get pushed to the limit by the film's antagonists, leaving Chicken Feet and Kit no choice but to "get back what's theirs" in the twisty, but wholly predictable, gambling finale. Sure, Casino Raiders 2 manages to be somewhat entertaining thanks to its winning cast and interesting plot setups, but it's by no means a film you'll want to watch again and again. (Calvin McMillin 2003)
Notes:

The sequel has nothing to do with 1989's Casino Raiders aside from the presence of Andy Lau in both films and, presumably, "casinos" and "raiding."
The theatrical trailer included on the DVD contains a scene of Chicken Leg and Kit training before the gambling championship, but the sequence does not appear in the actual film.

Theme song: "The Days We Passed By Together" by Andy Lau
Request this song on HKVP Radio | Vote for Andy Lau
Awards:

The 11th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
Nomination - Best Song ("The Days We Passed By Together", performed by Andy Lau Tak-Wah)
 
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
 
image courtesy of Universe Laser and Video Co., Ltd.
   
   
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