Film review: From Vegas to Macau II - an action-packed sequel
Actor Chow Yun-fat and scriptwriter Wong Jing reunite for a gambling-themed crime caper that covers a lot of ground
From Vegas to Macau II
Starring: Chow Yun-fat, Nick Cheung Ka-fai
Director: Wong Jing
Category: IIB (Cantonese and Putonghua)
After From Vegas to Macau achieved the commercial success that it did over the 2014 Lunar New Year holiday, it comes as no surprise to see a sequel being released this Lunar New Year.
From Vegas to Macau II reunites director-scriptwriter Wong Jing with top-billed actor Chow Yun-fat in a glossy crime actioner with gambling movie and comedic elements. This time around, they’re joined by a whole host of guest stars, including Shaw Brothers movie legend David Chiang Da-wei, playing the wealthy Vic on whose luxury yacht Macau-based master gambler Ken (Chow) reunites with his former protégé.
Now an Interpol agent, Vincent (Shawn Yue Man-lok) seeks Ken’s help in busting the mastermind of an international criminal syndicate with whom Ken had had run-ins in the past. Also needed on board is the organisation’s erstwhile chief accountant, Mark (Nick Cheung Ka-fai), who recently absconded to Thailand with his pre-adolescent daughter Yan (Angela Wang Shi-ling) and US$15 billion of the syndicate’s funds.
A good deal of explosive action takes place in The Land of Smiles. There also are farcical scenes aplenty, notably one in which Mark pretends to be Chow’s God of Gamblers chocolate-chomping character – in a rare departure from his general straight-man role here – and those that have Ken going a few rounds in the ring with a champion Muay Thai fighter (Ken Lo Wai-kwong).
And it’s in Thailand too where Ken runs into Molly (Carina Lau Kar-ling), his mysterious lady love with whom he plans a later fateful rendezvous in Macau.
Nominally From Vegas to Macau II’s lead actress, Lau is actually absent from the bulk of the film. Missing for a large part as well are genuinely funny – as opposed to laughably silly – jokes and gags.
In attempting to cover so much ground geographically and story-wise, Wong looks to have bitten off more than he can chew – even with Aman Cheung Mun’s support in the directing department. Those behind this movie may have done a sterling job in terms of roping so many big names and familiar faces into the cast. But the end results indicate that they spent too much effort doing so at the expense of much of the rest of the film.
From Vegas to Macau II opens on February 19