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From Vegas to Macau II

From Vegas to Macau

Chow Yun-Fat and Nick Cheung deal in
From Vegas to Macau II.

AKA: The Man from Macau II
Chinese: 澳門風雲II
Year: 2015
Director: Wong Jing, Aman Cheung Man
Producer: Andrew Lau Wai-Keung, Connie Wong Nga-Lam
Writer: Wong Jing
Action: Lee Tat-Chiu

Chow Yun-Fat, Nick Cheung Ka-Fai, Carina Lau Ka-Ling, Shawn Yue, Angela Wang, Michelle Hu, Yolanda Yuan, David Chiang, Kimmy Tong Fei, Wu Yue, Philip Keung Ho-Man, Kenny Wong Tak-Bun, Derek Tsang Kwok-Cheung, Connie Man Hoi-Ling, Samantha Ko Hoi-Ning, Dominic Ho Hou-Man, Hazel Tong Chi-Yui, Ken Lo Wai-Kwong, Julio Acconci, Jin Qiaoqiao, Treechada Petcharat, Eric Tsang Chi-Wai, Wong Jing, Nat Chan Bak-Cheung, Natalie Meng Yao, Bella Law Chi-Kiu, Jacky Cai, Felix Lok Ying-Kwan

  The Skinny: The law of diminishing returns wins. From Vegas to Macau II is an underwhelming sequel to a film that was mostly fun for its nostalgia value and not its actual quality. The Chow Yun-Fat + Nick Cheung gimmick has its plusses but overall this is a step down from last year. Reduced expectations are a must.
by Kozo:

Nostalgia can only excuse so much. From Vegas to Macau II is a quick follow-up to last year’s nostalgia-infused From Vegas to Macau, a star-jammed gambling film from Wong Jing that capitalized on Chow Yun-Fat’s return to Cantonese films. Undeniably, that event is big enough to excuse one big-budget Lunar New Year film of questionable quality. But two? Wong Jing, you try our patience. From Vegas II features the return of Magic Hand Ken (Chow), the casino manager and expert gambler who helped take down evil organization D.O.A., referred to in the previous film as “the most professional money laundering organization in the world.” Despite being beaten by Ken and Co., D.O.A. is still active, and is now led by shadowy villainess Aoi (Jin Qiaoqiao). The organization is gunning for Mark Ko (Nick Cheung), a former employee who embezzled a ton of cash and is on the run with his daughter (mainland child star Angela Wang).

Interpol is also looking for Mark, and one of their agents is Vincent (Shawn Yue), Ken’s former adopted son and an expert in guns, martial arts and wearing a suit and tie. Vincent and Ken have some issues, but when asked by Vincent to help stop D.O.A., Ken agrees, leading to a trip to Thailand and an eventual meeting with Mark. Random action ensues, and soon Ken and Mark ditch Interpol to head on their version of a Bob Hope & Bing Crosby road trip. “Highlights” include a God of Gamblers parody in a seedy Thai casino, an interminable Thai boxing match that finds Ken facing off in the ring versus Ken Lo, and finally a reunion between Ken and his former love Molly (Carina Lau), which finds the two enjoying an idyllic detour to a secluded beach. Apparently, whatever crisis is going on is not important enough to stop a mini beach vacation, but whatever – this is a Wong Jing movie, so logic isn’t exactly expected.

However, fun is expected and From Vegas to Macau II provides that inconsistently. Like the previous film, much of the enjoyment comes from big names taking up onscreen real estate. It’s fun to see Chow Yun-Fat interact with Nick Cheung – a legitimate Hong Kong Cinema first – while the Chow + Carina Lau pairing gets extra cred because the filmmakers cleverly reuse clips from the 1987 film Rich and Famous to depict Chow and Lau in their youth. Their acting is fine, though Chow gets a couple strikes because his character swings so egregiously from steely-eyed resolve to hyperactive doofus. Like in the first Vegas, it’s awesome to see Chow act so free and loose, but sometimes it seems like he’s in his own film and everyone else is just being patient with him. Other performances are serviceable if not noteworthy, with Nick Cheung getting a nod for his single scene with Yolanda Yuan. The two play an estranged couple and stop the film cold with a rare display of convincing emotion. Didn’t they realize what film they were making?

The rest of the film makes less of an impression. Whereas the first Vegas had a ridiculous story, the sequel makes do with almost none. The story is incomplete and lazy, and exists mainly to connect gags to set pieces, with lapses of logic showing up at every turn. There are highs and lows, but the highs are only average and the lows can be really low. One gag, involving the group getting stalked by crocodiles, ends in an illogical and annoying punchline, while other scenes – frequently those involving Chow Yun-Fat and Carina Lau together – stretch on for an eternity. From Vegas to Macau II clocks in at nearly two hours. That’s waaaaay too long for a movie with so little story or character development. Basically, the film banks on the idea that seeing Chow Yun-Fat act like a loon for two hours is audience catnip. Hey, I like Chow Yun-Fat as much as the next person but he has to do more than mug and occasionally sing. Granted, Chow does participate in the action, but not enough to make a big deal about it.

Action fans do get a few nibbles. A raid on an Interpol safe house provides gunfire and pyrotechnics, while Shawn Yue gets a hand-to-hand showdown with actor Wu Yue that satisfyingly messes up an airplane cabin. It’s just another required moment in your yearly grab bag of Wong Jing-Chow Yun-Fat wackiness – an actual formula that will live on, as From Vegas to Macau III is already scheduled to hit us next Lunar New Year. Will they ditch Nick Cheung and Shawn Yue next year just like they ditched Nicholas Tse and Chapman To this year? And will they secure another pandering but undeniably satisfying “cameo” at the end of the third film that echoes the ones from the first two Vegas films? (If you saw the first Vegas, you totally know what I’m talking about.) Who knows? I’ll still see the next sequel but I won’t be expecting all that much, and I suspect I’m not alone in that feeling. Hopefully the reduced expectations will allow some surprise in From Vegas to Macau III. I am also hopeful for world peace. (Kozo, 2/2015)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Deltamac (HK)
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
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