Poker King 撲克王 (2009) – Hong Kong

An annoying and funny piece of mindless entertainment…

Pitting Lau Ching Wan and Louis Koo together and what you get is instant chemistry. The male pair have appeared in comedies from movies about women, bras, babies, commercials, products and pretty much anything you can name in the last decade. The problem with Poker King is that there are funny moments, but in between there are also plenty of annoying situations. Not to mention, the movie is over-clocked by a good 30 odd minutes. Surely, it is only a matter of time before you get bored of seeing Louis Koo and Lau Ching Wan acting like stupid 5 years old. Still the film somehow manages to passes the grade and in turn qualifies as a piece of mindless entertainment.

The movie is basically about Lau Ching Wan being the seemingly bad guy trying to take away the fortune of Louis Koo. After he succeeded, Koo is left with nothing and is forced to earn money with his two gambling hands. Koo meets girl and from there the movie goes from one cliché to another.

Cutting to the performances, it must be admitted that Louis Koo is a character that I found immensely hard to dislike. Despite acting like a kid for half the movie, Koo still manages to balance his annoyance with some degree of humour. While his little romance with Stephy Tang may seem cheesy, there is an element of cuteness that eventually translates to a workable romance. Lau Ching Wan is Lau Ching Wan. He can play any character he wants and while he obviously overacts in this scenario, Mr. Lau is still good enough without being disgusted. Then you throw in someone that I do fancy, like Kama Lo. While Kama does nothing to enhance the movie, but the eye candy factor is certainly there. For once, I am happy with Stephy Tang playing cute and there is something about her in this role that makes her far more likable than when she appears in a Patrick Kong’s movie. Perhaps the single greatest moment of cinematic comedy comes in the form of a cameo by the acclaimed funny man, Lam Suet. Lam Suet single-handedly made the film better, funnier and his antics of mainland trails is just a joy to watch. A memorable scene is always a good thing.

All in all, Poker King is both funny and annoying. The gambling sequences are basically as per usual. One good technique involves the opposition poker player mimicking the other player in all aspects of their tone, voice, movements and body language. While, I think that such a technique used in at a casino, will most likely leaves you with a black eye or two. It is basically at its core, a poker face. Still, the film could’ve been better if they actually decide to go to the editing room. Cutting about half an hour will allow the funny parts be closer and tighter together. Another issue is that funny sequences are prolonged for no particular reason and thus losing its impact. Nevertheless, Poker King never aims to be anything more than cliché and in comparison to Wong Jing’s My Wife is a Gambling Maestro; my vote goes to the two Kings of mimicking cinema…(Neo 2010)

I rate it 5/10

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