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Kung Fu Mahjong 2

            

(left) Cherrie Ying and Terence Yin, and (right) Yuen Qiu and Yuen Wah.

Year: 2005
Director: Wong Jing
Producer: Wong Jing
Writer: Wong Jing
Cast: Cherrie Ying Choi-Yi, Yuen Qiu, Yuen Wah, Terence Yin, Wong Tin-Lam, Sammy, Tiffany Lee Lung-Yi, Philip Keung Ho-Man, Zuki Lee Si-Pui, Wong Jing, Matthew Chow Hoi-Kwong, Lee Kin-Yan, Yuen King-Tan, Otto Wong Chi-On, Gill Mohindepaul Singh
The Skinny: More cheap, easy stuff from the Wong Jing fun factory. Not a good movie, but anyone checking it out likely knows that already. If you are intent on enjoying this film, knowledge of both Cantonese and mahjong is an absolute must.
  Review
by Kozo:

     Kung Fu Mahjong 2 is the best sequel thus far to a film made in 2005. It's also the worst and only sequel to a film made in 2005. Thanks to the above two statements, everyone can win...that is, except filmgoers seeking actual movie quality. We're stuck with a sequel to a film that didn't need a sequel, and one that's cheaper and more annoying to boot. Apologists will say that the film is supposed to be that way, and indeed Kung Fu Mahjong 2 can be funny in a lowbrow, "meets expectations" sort of way. But really, it's not a good movie, and it's doubtful anyone seeing it will expect it to be good, either. To many people, movies are junk; this movie is for those people.
     Cherrie Ying is Fanny, an extraordinarily skilled mahjong player and young housewife, who's usually forbidden from her tile-clicking addiction by husband Johnny (a smarmy Terence Yin). However, when Johnny falls in with bastard gambler Demon (Keung Ho-Man), Fanny gets sent packing. Johnny takes up with Demon's femme fatale sister Curvy (Zuki Lee of Slim Till Dead), and Fanny is left alone. Worse, she seems to lose her mahjong-playing skills. Luckily, she receives additional training from her mahjong sifu Three Tiles (Wong Tin-Lam), who also schooled Auntie Fei (Yuen Qiu) from Kung Fu Mahjong 1, as well as sexy player-in-training First Love (Tiffany Lee). With the aid of her mahjong sisters, brother Ronaldhino (Sammy), plus Auntie Fei's annoying husband Chi Mo Sai (Yuen Wah, also returning from KFM1), Fanny regroups in time to take on Curvy, Demon, and Johnnie at a climactic mahjong tournament. Cue Kung Fu Mahjong 3.
     Or maybe not. Unlike the first Kung Fu Mahjong, KFM2 couldn't eke out a number one box-office showing, so sequel talk may be premature. On the other hand, KFM2 looks like it cost about $15 to make, so maybe it's still money in the bank. Wong Jing seems wary of his purse strings in KFM2, using cheap sets and an even cheaper plot. Standard gags involving Cantonese wordplay, media parodies, comic violence, and mahjong training abound. Wong Jing specifically targets Korea and Japan for his media gags, with stuff skewering Kamikaze Girls, Dae Jang Geum, and Korean megastar Rain. Comic violence shows up in the form of First Love's patented breast-grabbing torture technique, plus even more scenes of Yuen Qiu beating up Yuen Wah. The mahjong training sequences are more universally-understood than the usual primer on esoteric winning hands, though those show up in abundance too. Be warned: knowledge of mahjong is a necessity to enjoy Kung Fu Mahjong 2.
     However, you might ignore that warning if you like Cherrie Ying. She gets a starring role in Kung Fu Mahjong 2, a first for the usual Johnnie To supporting player. The actress isn't very subtle, but she's a game performer who manages enough girlish charm to carry the film. Tiffany Lee shows sexiness as First Love, and Yuen Qiu and Yuen Wah earn their paychecks sufficiently - when they actually appear. Unfortunately, there's far too little of the Kung Fu Hustle duo in Kung Fu Mahjong 2, and the fight sequences have been reduced to quick bathroom-set beatings. Instead, we get plenty of Cherrie Ying, plus an enlarged role for Sammy (the clear front-runner for 2005's "Most Annoying" award) and off-color racial jokes masquerading as humor. The final mahjong competition features an international collection of foes, including an Indian who smells of curry and uses his feet to play, and an Italian imaginatively named "Mr. Spaghetti." There's even a Muay Thai mahjong guru called Tony Jaa-Jaa. On a culturally-insensitive level, the above can be funny, but from a creativity standpoint it's the height of laziness.
     Of course, this is Wong Jing we're talking about, so laziness is standard operating procedure. The auteur even returns as villain Tin Kau Gor, though apparently everyone has forgiven him from the first film. Tin Kau Gor shows up in time for Fanny to triumph in the final mahjong battle - which is a spoiler only if you're expecting some sort of risky filmmaking from Wong Jing. No dice. This is as by-the-numbers as Hong Kong Cinema gets nowadays, which means the film meets expectations with all the excitement of a wet dishrag. Depending on who you are, this movie is cheap, easy fluff that can be funny on occasion, or standard, uninspired crap from a filmmaker who seems to have run out of ideas. Take your pick as to which definition suits the film best; either way, Kung Fu Mahjong 2 will never win any awards. And if it does, I'll eat a bug. (Kozo 2005)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
CN Entertainment
Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of www.mov.3com

   
 
 
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