King of Gamblers

Reviewed by: spcnet

November 05, 2003

Rating: two-point-five

Anyone who has seen TVB's older version of "The Shell Game 2" would agree that ATV's sequel to the series is a disappointment. While the cast includes superb old-time actors like Tse Yeen (Á½å), Mai Shuet (¦Ì³·), Damien Lau Chong Yun (¼BªQ¤¯), and Cecilia Yip Tong (¸­µ£), the script just failed to deliver.

The series begin with Law Long (Tse Yeen) just released from prison and ready to rebuild his financial enterprise by gambling his way through at casinos. The first few episodes is the most exciting as Law gambles with opponent after opponent--displaying his old glory at the role. One could actually sigh and reminisce back to the old TVB series as the old theme song music is played in the background. However, like many ATV series, there was a very promising beginning in "King" reaching to a climatic point and soon dropping to a slow and dreary pace--one tends to forget it's a series about gambling because that's exactly what the directors don't show.

Tse Yeen and Mai Shuet are a couple in this series but there is no special chemistry between the two. Their performances are impeccable but done with a professional precision. Unfortunately for viewers, ATV has either forgotten or just intended not to add humor to the character of Law Long--perhaps implying that Law has become bitter and hardened with sorrow through the years. That of course also means, viewers won't get to see the funny scenes of prospective-disciple trying to convince Law to teach him/her gambling techniques.

kog10Lau Tong Yun was never in the original "King" and his character was newly invented. Lau doesn't get much of a chance to show off his range of acting skills--all he does is act cool in "King" as a sheriff. Perhaps his best chance for performance is his exit scene.

"King" is Kristy Yang's first film and she is sure one lucky lady to land herself in such a big production and to be paired with veteran Lau. However, her voice and word pronounciations was in a word, horrible, in "King"--she has moved quite a long way since then. Kristy admitted that Lau had taken extra time to rehearse over their scenes and gave her many helpful acting tips while making "King". This probably accounted to her better acting as the film gradually progressed.

Annie Man and Lam Chi Ho play a couple in "King" but their relationship doesn't have enough tension to make it particularly romantic because they are already together in a few episodes. There is no chase, no special romantic spark. The more interesting love relationship, I would say, is the love triangle between Yip Tong, Lau Tong Yun, and Kristy Yang. Yip Tong is one of my favorite actresses, though many people say she's a bit crazy!

In a sense, "King" just does not relive the excitement of the older series and lacks enough gambling scenes. While the cast is huge and remarkable, it is more like a scattered ensemble of events happening.

Screenshots: (All images scanned by SPCNET. Please do not use without permission).

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