The Return of the God of Gamblers (Du Shen Xu Ji) (1994)
Main Menu Audio
|Year Of Production||1994|
|Running Time||119:11 (Case: 101)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (86:09)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Jing Wong|
Beyond Home Entertainment
Chow Yun Fat
Wu Hsing Kuo
Wu Chien Lien
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Pan & Scan||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The story is basically straightforward, but contains a number of references to the original and has a twist to the plot which I only picked up on the second viewing. Having made his fortune from his invincibility at the gambling table, Ko Chun (Chow Yung Fat) retires to his estate in France and prepares for the birth of his first child. In the meantime, big shot gambler Mr Chu has died, leaving a fortune of 16 billion to be donated to children's charities - his will specifies that the money is to be administered by 'The God Of Gamblers'. There are two problems with that act of generosity. Firstly, no one is quite sure who the God of Gamblers is, as Ko Chun made a point of never being photographed and secondly the evil Chau Sin Chee (Wa Hsing Kuo) believes himself to be 'The God' and should administer the estate, no doubt for his own evil ends. (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Now Chau is a real BAMF and, having failed to lure Ko Chun out of retirement for a deciding match, he breaks into Chun's mansion, slaughters his staff and performs a Caesarean section on his pretty young wife (Sharla Cheung). Needless to say anaesthetic was not administered and the foetus ends up in a jar looking curiously like a pathology museum specimen (which, trust me, it undoubtedly is). With her last dying breaths, Mrs Chun binds Ko Chun to the promise of not seeking revenge or returning to the gambling tables for 1 year.
One year after his wife's death, Ko Chun is ready to confront his nemesis, Chau and plans to leave France. At a family picnic area he falls in with the triad that Chau is ranked Number 2 in. In a twist of ironic fate, the big boss is slaughtered and Ko Chun is left with the precocious son of the Big Boss Sin Yuen (Tse Miu), whom he has promised to return to the family in Taipei. The rest of the film revolves along the somewhat slapstick journey of Chun back to Taipei and the characters he encounters along the way including the feisty and bolshy Su (Wu Chien Lien) and her brother Siu Fong Fong (Tony Leung) until the final confrontation with Chau.
It's at times cheesy, at times comic, often violent but never boring - if you like Kung Fu and are not put off by the depicted violence, I would have to say that this is one of the more entertaining Hong Kong action/criminal movies I have seen. Just think of it as the Chinese Godfather.
There is a soft focus endemic throughout the film which is really not appropriate for an action genre - I would think it most likely relates to compression but honestly I've seen equal video on bootlegged movies. There's not too much low light action so we have adequate detail with no low level noise.
The colours were on the drab side and somewhat washed out - probably related to source material.
There was Gibbs effect and telecine wobble during the opening and closing credits but during the movie the only defects were the presence of aliasing on the French shutters of the mansion. There were fine black and white flecks and the occasional hair throughout the feature but these were tolerable. There was occasional emulsion loss or damage (eg 11:01). There was also an occasional very fine linear scratch visible.
There were no subtitles.
The disc is RSDL-formatted with a transition point at 86:09 during a scene change. It is just about undetectable.
Well, here we have the worst aspect of the audio transfer - the horrible Chinese English and Chinese French dubs - YUK absolutely bloody horrible. We would have done far, far better to have the original Cantonese, Mandarin & Taiwanese with English subtitles as per Crouching Tiger .... Granted the words are quite intelligible, but it is not a pleasant experience to listen to.
All I can say about lip sync is that English doesn't go too well into Cantonese. The audio sync seems OK otherwise.
The music was scored by Lowell Lo and was appropriately cheesy and brash in the relevant places without providing any memorable melody.
The subwoofer and surrounds died an unnatural death prior to the start of the feature.
|Surround Channel Use|
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NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 3 release on the Mei Ah label would appear to be the pick of the bunch with:
The video quality is so-so and we have been dealt the P&S 1.33:1 version
The audio quality is pretty ordinary too and we would have been better off with subtitles.
The extras are limited to the theatrical trailer.
|DVD||Panasonic DMR-E20, using RGB output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T50W1 (127cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Yamaha RX-V995. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||B&W 602 front/rear. B&W LRC6 Centre / Solid (AKA B&W) 500 SW|