review by Neo

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Yet another pointless Mahjong flick…
Hong Kong people love the game of Mahjong and so does Neo, but does it justify the purpose of making movies like this one? House of Mahjong is yet another pointless movie about Mahjong and just when you though that we have seen enough of these Kung Fu Mahjong movies, Wong Jing’s counterpart – Marco Mak churned out a similar material. Certainly it is probably safe to say that the mahjong sequences in this movie is 10 times better than Kung Fu Mahjong 3, but when you are comparing to something that is so crap already, it is quite difficult to get worst. Luckily, this flick is better than the predecessor, but with that being said, the film is sillier than funny and more shockingly an almost non-existent performance from the usually comic genius – Dayo Wong.
The movie goes like this: Bra salesman Beauty Lam (Dayo Wong), paper offerings maker Prophet (Cheung Tat Ming), goldfish vendor Sam (Sam Lee), and café owners Hung (Candy Lo) and Ling (Elanne Kong) all hold shop in a dinky mall owned by the elderly Chiu (Ha Chun Chau). Every month Beauty and crew shirk rent payment by playing mahjong with Chiu, and winning through cheating. Chiu, happy for the company, turns a blind eye to their blatant cheating, and everyone seems content with the arrangement - except Chiu's son (Raymond Wong). Into this motley mix comes leggy facial salon owner Gigi (Rain Li), who, much to Hung and Ling's consternation, attracts the wandering eyes of Beauty, Sam, and Prophet and creates some strife amongst the buddies. When Chiu's son hires a mahjong master (Matthew Chow) to beat them at their own game, the crew must band together or lose their livelihoods, but they're all too busy fighting over Gigi.
To be honest, it is worth wondering if Marco Mak is actually trying to make a movie here, as his venture along with an almost non-existent plot and the look on Dayo Wong’s face shows a clear message – in a state of confusion. The actors all seemed to be all over the place and somehow Sam Lee and Cheung Tat Ming think that whatever they act like is actually funny. It is absolutely disappointing and a disgrace to HK Neo Reviews, that Sam Lee having done so well in Dog Bite Dog have fallen so low within the space of half a year. Likewise, Dayo Wong look more disinterested than excited as he seem to be waiting for the paycheck more than anything else. The point is a movie will never work, when the actors don’t even know what the hell they are doing and when the people on screen are not interested, it is quite difficult for those off-screen to share any joy. Perhaps, the only person on-screen that seemed to be somewhat interested is Rain Li. Rain is one enthusiastic chick and her presence here certainly improve the flick in someway, but in the end, she is just lost as well.

All in all, House of Mahjong suffers from not having an adequate script and a storyline that almost bores. Luckily there are some good mahjong sequences in place, but just like a crappy action movie, if there isn’t a point for the fight scene, it is really hard for the audience to root for it. House of Mahjong shows that it is difficult to make a good mahjong movie, without a good script. The recognizable cast deserves much more and when the entire cast looks more confused than excited, you know that there is something clearly wrong about this flick. Once again, the look on Dayo Wong’s face tells a thousand words – why the hell am I starring in this piece of crap…

I rate it 4/10

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Starring: Dayo Wong, Raymond Wong, Rain Li, Cheung Tat Ming, Sam Lee, Candy Lo
Directed by: Marco Mak
Genre: Gambling, Mahjong