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Film / King of Gambler

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King of Gambler is a 1990 Hong Kong action movie starring Ben Lam and Alex Man, with elements lifted from John Woo, Chow Yun-fat's God of Gamblers, and more onscreen deaths than most genocide-themed films.

A war for territorial control between the Hong Kong triads, American Mafia and Japanese Yakuza over the gambling dens and casinos in the Kowloon region quickly goes out of control. Lin Fei, a top hitman currently engaged to his girlfriend Bobo, ends up being dragged into the warzone when the American Mafia queen, Marinda, displeased at being double-crossed over a casino deal, orders for reinforcements from the States into Hong Kong to wipe out the competition.

After an insanely long and brutal massacre scene where literally hundreds of Mafia goons attack the banquet where Lin Fei and Bobo’s wedding are supposed to take place, killing literally hundreds of members, finally it's up to the heroes to take matter into their own hands. Lin Fei and Paul, son of the triad leader, decide to unleash their inner Rambo and ends up killing maybe a hundred or so mafia goods in the subsequent revenge scene, but Marinda escapes.With the downfall of the triads and the mafia, the last remaining party, the Yakuza, decides to take over, with Marinda as their advisor. Deciding to strike first, Paul and Lin Fei successfully infiltrate the Yakuza’s hideout and stealthily takes out maybe a hundred of the Yakuzas, before realizing there are more Yakuzas and remnants of the mafias – maybe a hundred at least – in the center of the hideout, led by Marinda. Needless to say, Paul and Lin Fei will kill off the remaining hundred bad guys or so and… what the hell does this movie have to do with gambling again?

Being one of many gambling-related films released after the success of God of Gamblers, King of Gambler inexplicably changes completely into a Heroic Bloodshed flick right in the last half an hour or so, with literally nonstop action lifted from various John Woo films and more bullets fired than most war movies. In case we didn’t mention it yet, YES, this is a death-heavy film, with enough fatalities to rival Hard Boiled, despite coming out two years earlier. By the time you’ve witnessed what seems to be the 350th onscreen death in the movie though, you’d most likely forgot what’s the plot of the movie in the first place.

This film provides examples of:

  • Anyone Can Die: And how! The wedding banquet for Lin Fei and Bobo is attended by several hundred people, and when two hundred mafia goons suddenly storms the banquet the guests, attendants, staff and bystanders starts dying by the dozens. At one point we see half a dozen bridesmaids escaping the carnage... only to bump into Marinda, who's leading a few mobsters and armed with an Uzi, at which point she turns the Uzi on the bridesmaids and empties its contents.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Paul and Lin Fei against hordes and hordes of mooks.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The first scene of the movie shows a gambling expert and senior, showing off his card skills at mahjong, baccarat, dominoes, cards, and a variety of gambling-related skills, seemingly hyping him to be an important character, and that this movie will be more in the vein of God of Gamblers than, say, The Killer (1989). Nice try, but five minutes later said gambler gets himself pumped with bullets and the movie proceeds to develop into the Heroic Bloodshed John Woo-knockoff it actually is.
  • Bottomless Magazines: For the two protagonists. Lin Fei in the penthouse notably kills off what appears to be at least 60 mafia goons with dual machine guns, without reloading even once!
  • Combat Pragmatist: In the final action scene, Lin Fei and one last Yakuza mook ends up running out of bullets. The Yakuza discards his gun and challenges Lin Fei to a fistfight. Lin Fei simply reloads and shoots.
  • Cool Shades: Lin Fei and Paul both wears these, but so did the hundreds of mooks they slaughtered throughout the finale.
  • Danger Sense: Lin Fei's ears somehow twitches every time there's danger nearby. It saves him a great deal of times from Yakuza attempting to sneak up on him in the finale.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Bobo in Lin Fei's arms in the final scene.
  • Faceless Goons: Enforced, with the hundreds of them all wearing dark glasses.
  • Fast-Roping: Lin Fei's method of attacking the penthouse where Marinda and the mafia are gathered. With a helicopter on standby, he launched himself via wire through the glass front windows, dual-wielding machine guns, and makes short work of the hundred or so mafia goons.
  • Genre Shift: The first half is a mob drama which is relatively death-free... until Marinda decides to initiate the war. At which point the film quickly steers into Heroic Bloodshed territory with the death count going off the charts.
  • Gun Nut: The two Trigger-Happy protagonists. The climax have them lugging weapons while making their way deep into the heart of the Yakuza hideout, and lugging out progressively bigger firearms eventually culminating to an RPG and a chain-fed machine gun!
  • Guns Akimbo: Lin Fei and Paul, either with pistols or with Uzis.
  • Hand Cannon: Lin Fei and his Magnum. Complete with One-Hit Polykill abilities, considering there are scenes where he fired less shots than there are dying Yakuzas appearing in the next scene.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Most of the mobsters are really good at killing redshirts and random bystanders, but against Paul and Lin Fei they simply miss 99% of their shots.
  • Lady of War: Marinda, who commands the American mob operating in Hong Kong.
  • Leap and Fire: All over the place in the finale. Also happens when Lin Fei executes The Dragon who is attempting to use Bobo as a Human Shield.
  • The Mafia: Marinda's henchmen who initiates the almost non-stop bloodbath in the final act of the film.
  • Mood Whiplash: The banquet massacre is rapidly intersect with Lin Fei and Bobo kissing and preparing for their upcoming wedding. So we get a few dozen extras getting graphically killed by the mafia, before getting to the two lovers making out, and then back to the massacre again, before going back to the couple being all lovey-dovey...
  • Mook Carryover: An inverted example. With most of the hundreds of mafia dead, Marinda quickly shifts allegiance to the Yakuza whom are quick enough to take her in as advisor.
  • More Dakka: The final action scene had our two heroes whipping out progressively bigger weapons as dead extras starts piling up into mountains of bodies.
  • Mouthscreen: Used to a rather annoying degree, the film just constantly zooms into Marinda's mouth as she orders her mooks around. To the point where you can see the cracks on her lipstick...
  • One-Man Army: Lin Fei when assaulting Marinda's penthouse and wiping out the whole legion of mafia goons with dual machine guns. Subverted in the final assault in the Yakuza building, where Paul and Lin Fei are a Two Men Army.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Hotheaded Paul as the red, level-headed Lin Fei is the blue.
  • Redshirt Army: The triad bodyguards in the banquet massacre. They manage to kill a handful of mafia goons, but ends up dying with the rest of the guests in attendance.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Paul gets to use a shotgun in the finale which quickly clears a corridor full of Yakuza.
  • Shout-Out
    • The campfire scene where Lin Fei shows off his calculation skills to Bobo by deducing how many toothpicks are left in a recently-opened box is a homage to Rain Man.
    • The wedding banquet is a reference to an early scene from The Godfather. Its even mentioned in the film itself to be a Godfather-style banquet.
  • Sleek High Rise Apartment: Marinda and the Mafia's hideout. Good thing Lin Fei had a Chopper on Standby allowing him to infiltrate from the air and start killing everyone as soon as he crashed through a window.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Lin Fei and Bobo, predictably enough.
  • White Shirt of Death: The final shootout, where Paul and Lin Fei are clad in white overcoats, killing scores and scores of Yakuza and Mafia goons left and right and leaving dead bodies everywhere. They do get plenty of red on their clothing too.
  • Yakuza: For the final shootout, in a Yakuza-owned Big Labyrinthine Building.
  • Zerg Rush: The Yakuza and Mafia mooks keeps on doing this, rushing straight into gunfire only to become Cannon Fodder for Paul and Lin Fei.