God of Gamblers

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God of Gamblers
GodofGamblers.jpg
Hong Kong film poster
Directed by Wong Jing
Produced by Jimmy Heung
Written by Wong Jing
Starring Chow Yun-fat
Andy Lau
Music by Lowell Lo
Sherman Chow
Cinematography Peter Pau
David Chung
Edited by Choi Hung
Distributed by Win's Movie Production & I/E Co. Ltd.
Release date(s)
  • 14 December 1989 (1989-12-14)
Running time 126 min
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese
Box office HK$37,058,686.00[1]

God of Gamblers (Chinese: 賭神; lit. God of Gambling) is a 1989 Hong Kong action comedy-drama film written and directed by Wong Jing, and featuring an ensemble cast.

Plot[edit]

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.

Cast[edit]

[2] [3]

Sequels, spin-offs and parodies[edit]

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.

Spin-offs:

References[edit]

  1. ^ God of Gamblers (1989) – HKMDB
  2. ^ "God of Gamblers". imdb.com. Retrieved 23 July 2010. 
  3. ^ "God of Gamblers". chinesemov.com. Retrieved 23 July 2010. 

External links[edit]