Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Top Bet (1991)

No one can make films about gambling quite like HK cinema used to, often giving a mystical bent to it.

The Saint Of Gamblers has gone off on holiday which is inconsiderate as the Triad boss needs a top gambler to win the gambling championship. Uncle Ng Man-Tat is tasked to find someone to win or he gets the chop (literally).

He happens upon the Queen of Gambling (Carol Cheng), basically a tough HK fisherwomen who does some card tricks. She pretends to have magical gambling powers in order to get the money to help her paralysed brother. Still with me? No? I'm not surprised.

Meanwhile real magical powers arrive in the shape of the Saint's sister Mai (Anita Mui) from the mainland but she refuses to use her magical powers to help gambling and capitalist imperialist activities (this was before the Mainland Communist Party discovered the love of cash of course). But then, with the Triad's rival is also getting help from psychic power, Mai decides to help the Queen in her battle against the bad guy with the help of magical card tricks and plenty of kung fu.

If you've seen a HK gambling movie before you know what to expect. Grand entrances in slow motion, sharp suits and stirring music. Plus a lot of slapstick humour and fun. Its ridiculous, its bizarre, its pretty banal. But you'll love it.