Kung Fu Mahjong (2005)

Yuen Wah and Yuen Qiu join producer/director Wong Jing in a new comedy about the popular game of Mahjong. This film was cleverly and quickly rushed into the cinemas to capitalize on the success of the Stephen Chow Sing-Chi comedy Kung Fu Hustle. This new film has nothing to do with Chow's film other than the two actors and the Kung Fu in the title. Screenwriter Wong has a good time using just about everything in his arsenal of convention and cliche from all of gambling and conman movies he's ever made. He even bring's back his "Praying Mantis Style" from an earlier film.

Roger Kwok is cast as a savant with a perfect memory, a skill needed to play the game. He's groomed by Yuen Wah and gains a reputation as a strong player. Later, he takes a serious beating over a girl, losing some motor skills. Everyone thinks he is crazy and at this point the viewer starts to question his own sanity. Kwok kept making me think of Eric Kott and Nick Cheung and his performance here made me squirm in my seat.

Thankfully, there is Theresa Fu Wing's performance. She's going to be a big star in the next few years. Iris Wong plays a character here that roundly skewers Wong's old girlfriend Chingmy Yau Suk-Ching. Her costumes and actions are so like Yau's it is uncanny. Wong has the last laugh putting huge buck teeth on Ms. Wong to exaggerate Yau's toothy smile. Watch for Tenky Tin Kai-Man in a funny cameo role along with my new favorite actor, Lam Tze-Chung.

Copyright © 2006 John Crawford. All rights reserved.