All for the Winner ★★★★

The thing about these Hong Kong gambling movies is that they're sports movies, but they're not about making yourself a better person or coming to terms with your past or personal redemption or any of those things American sports movies are about. They're about perfecting your skill such that you can get away with cheating. They're the manifestation of free-wheeling Hong Kong capitalism in the last days before the handover to China. A last gasp of anarchy before the fall. It's a world where everyone is cheating, everything is a hustle, and the naive hero (a bumpkin from the mainland city of Guangzhou (population 6.3 million in 1990, more than twice that today) must learn how to cheat consistently and effectively to get ahead.

He's also lectured near the end by co-director Corey Yuen that he should use his superpowers to help the poor. And maybe he will. But even then it'll be the philanthropic largesse of the robber barons, the laissez-faire capitalists that cheated their way to the top then built libraries and universities and museums with their spare change. Social goods all, does it really matter where they came from?

Also, Ng Man Tat spazzes out and humps everything in sight whenever Stephen Chow says his name. Which is about feminism, or something.

Report this review