They say that the sincerest form of flattery is imitation; whoever 'they' are. In the Hong Kong movie business, a feature film that garners any sort of box office success is sure to generate a rash of copycat projects. Bet to Basic copies all the good material from Wong Jing's popular Kung Fu Mahjong [2005], its sequel and borrows from every gambling themed film since the early 80's.

Veteran producer Billy Chan gathers an eclectic, charming cast that, on paper, should provide some funny, entertaining performances. Screenwriter turned director Paul Chung gets tripped up on his first feature by his cast and his screenplay. With so many veteran actors to work with, Chung seems content to let Chin Kar-Lok, Jordan Chan, and Yuen Wah run wild with improvisation.

Copyright © 2007 John Crawford. All rights reserved.