God of Gamblers
|God of Gamblers|
Hong Kong film poster
|Directed by||Wong Jing|
|Produced by||Jimmy Heung|
|Written by||Wong Jing|
|Music by||Lowell Lo
|Editing by||Choi Hung|
|Distributed by||Win's Movie Production & I/E Co. Ltd.|
|Running time||126 min|
Ko Chun (Chow Yun-fat) is a world-famous gambler, so renowned and talented at winning various games of chance that he is referred to as the "God of Gamblers". He keeps his identity secret from the public (and avoids taking photos so his face is not recognised), but is known for three characteristics: his slick-backed hairstyle, his love of Feodora brand chocolate and his jade pinky ring.
Ko Chun arrives in Tokyo, accompanied by his girlfriend Janet and his assistant and cousin Ko Yee, for a match with Tanaka, the country's top ranked gambler. After convincingly defeating Tanaka in games of Mahjong and dice, Tanaka concedes defeat and asserts that Ko Chun "really [is] God".
Tanaka asks Chun to help him take revenge on Chan Kam-Sing, a famous Singaporean gambler who cheated Tanaka's father (driving him to suicide), by besting Chan in a high-stakes poker match. Ko Chun agrees, merely asking for a box of chocolate as payment. In gratitude, Tanaka sends his bodyguard, former ARVN (South Vietnam) Special Forces Operative Dragon (Charles Heung) to accompany Ko Chun for protection.
Meanwhile, Little Knife (Andy Lau), an avid but mediocre gambler who idolises the God of Gamblers, sets a trap for an Indian neighbour as a practical joke. After a confrontation on a train between Ko Chun, Dragon, and henchmen sent by one of Ko Chun's rivals, Ko happens to accidentally stumble into Knife's trap. Struck on the head, Ko suffers from amnesia and regresses to a childlike state.
Knife, not knowing who the unnamed stranger is, takes him in and names him "Chocolate" due to the man's seemingly obsessive love for the candy. Initially Knife is impatient with "Chocolate"'s simple-minded innocence and yells at him often, but soon recognises that "Chocolate" has innate gambling talent and begins to exploit his abilities in local poker games and gambling dens. As time passes, Knife comes to care for "Chocolate" and seeks to find a way to restore his memory.
Back at Ko Chun's mansion, it is revealed that Janet has been searching for Chun for ten days to no avail. Ko Yee, who is jealous of Chun's success and wealth, makes advances on her, which she rejects; finally, while attempting to rape her, Yee accidentally knocks Janet off the balcony, killing her. He discovers that she has been recording what has been transpiring and proceeds to burn the tape. Later, Yee allies himself with Chan Kam-Sing and Ko Chun's other rival and they send assassins to find and kill Chun.
Eventually, the assassins find Chun, Knife, and their friends and attempt to kill them, but Dragon arrives to protect them after tracking Chun down. A fierce shootout ensues in a shopping center, in which Knife saves Chun from an attempt on his life by Ko Yee. During the fight, Dragon is wounded, causing Chun to snap out of his child persona briefly to kill the rest of the assailants. However, after regressing back to his childlike state, Chun becomes horrified at the carnage and runs out into the street where he is struck by a vehicle.
Chun awakens in the hospital with his regular persona, but no memory of the events or people he met after the fight. He is informed by Ko Yee, who is feigning loyalty, that Janet has disappeared. Knife arrives and attempts to warn Chun of Ko Yee's treachery but Yee has Knife thrown out. Later, Ko Yee gives Chan Kam-Sing special eyeglasses that will allow him to cheat during his upcoming poker match with Chun by reading invisible markings on the cards.
Chun, Yee, Tanaka and Dragon arrive on Chan Kam-Sing's yacht for the climactic game of five card stud. Knife, having sneaked onto the boat, again attempts to warn Chun of the danger he is in. Chun agrees to hear Knife out later but admonishes him not to interfere with the poker game.
With his ability to see the markings on the cards, Chan Kam-Sing dominates the first two rounds. After losing all of Tanaka's money, Ko Chun puts up his entire personal portfolio of wealth and holdings against Chan's wealth. Chan, using his glasses to see that Ko Chun has an inferior hand, agrees, showing his cards and gloating over his victory. Ko Chun, in turn, reveals that he actually has the superior hand and has won the game, having secretly altered the markings of the deck and using special contact lenses to read them.
Subsequently, Ko Chun tricks Chan Kam-Sing into shooting Ko Yee. As Yee lays dying, Chun drops Janet's tape (which actually never finished burning) onto his body. Ko Chun then departs (as police arrive to take Chan into custody for murder) without speaking to Knife, much to the latter's dismay.
Ko Chun later surprises Knife at his home and reveals that he remembered Knife in the hospital and knew about Ko Yee's betrayal all along, but had to feign ignorance to execute his plan properly. He promises to make it up to Knife by taking him to Las Vegas as his gambling partner.
- Chow Yun-fat as (高進/賭神) Ko Chun / The God of Gamblers / Chocolate (nickname given to him when he loses his memory)
- Andy Lau as (陳刀仔) Michael Chan/ Little Knife / Dagger
- Joey Wong as (珍) Jane/Jen
- Sharla Cheung as Janet
- Charles Heung as (龍五) Lung Wu/Dragon (once served in special force under Nguyen Van Thieu)
- Ng Man-tat as (花口成) Brother Shing
- Jimmy Lung Fong as (高義) Ko Yee
- Michiko Nishiwaki as Ko Chun's female Yakuza opponent
- Wong Jing (cameo)
- Shing Fui-On
- Michael Chow
- Bau Hon-Lam
- Dennis Chan
- Chan Lap-Ban
- Law Ching-Ho
- Yasuyoshi Shikamura
- Ronald Wong
- Sen Wong
- Yang Tse-Lin
- Yu Shangguang
Sequels, spin-offs and parodies
The success of the film spawned many parodies and spin-offs such as All for the Winner starring Stephen Chow. Several more comedy-driven sequels also starring Stephen Chow were released, as well as a sequel where Chow Yun-Fat reprises his role as Ko Chun.
God of Gamblers series:
- God of Gamblers (1989)
- God of Gamblers II (1991) – This film continues where the original God of Gamblers storyline left off. This time, Andy Lau's character teams up with Stephen Chow's character from All for the Winner. Chow Yun-Fat did not return for this film, but his God of Gambler character did show up for a brief cameo appearance using archive footage.
- God of Gamblers III: Back to Shanghai
- God of Gamblers Returns (1994) – Also released under the name God of Gamblers 2 (but not God of Gamblers II) this is the 'true' sequel to the original God of Gamblers film, with Chow Yun-Fat back to reprise his role as the God of Gamblers.
- God of Gamblers 3: The Early Stage (1997) – A successful prequel of the original God of Gamblers, starring Leon Lai as Ko Chun. It may be assumed that this is a reboot to the God of Gamblers series because of the inconsistencies with the previously established story of God of Gamblers e.g. Ko Chun and his bodyguard, meet for the very first time in the first film and therefore should not know each other in this prequel.
- All for the Winner (1990) – Stephen Chow is the Saint of Gamblers in this popular God of Gamblers parody.
- Fist of Fury 1991 (1991) – Stephen Chow's Saint of Gamblers character does a brief cameo appearance at the start of this film.
- The Top Bet (1991) – This is a spin-off of All for the Winner, with only several characters from the original reprising their role. Stephen Chow did, however, make a cameo appearance in this spin-off. The film stars Anita Mui and Carol Cheng.
- Fight Back to School 3 (1993) – Stephen Chow's character visits Mr. Hung, the 'King of Gamblers' from All for the Winner to gain some gambling tips.
- Saint of Gamblers (1996) – A spin-off of the All for the Winner series, with only Ng Man-Tat reprising his role.
- My Wife is a Gambling Maestro (2008) – A ripoff of the first film, but with a completely different cast and a romantic comedy plotline