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God of Gamblers 3:
The Early Stage
Chinese: 賭神3 : 少年賭神
Anita Yuen and Leon Lai
Year: 1996
Director: Wong Jing
Action: Dion Lam Dik-On, Ma Yuk-Sing
Cast: Leon Lai Ming, Anita Yuen Wing-Yee, Jordan Chan Siu-Chun, Gigi Leung Wing-Kei, Francis Ng Chun-Yu, Chung King-Fai, Cheung Tat-Ming, Tsui Kam-Kong, Ngai Sing, Moses Chan Ho, Ho Ka-Kui, Ng Chi-Hung
The Skinny: Recast prequel to the God of Gamblers movies is great commercial fun.
by Kozo:

Because Chow Yun-Fat will not return to Hong Kong, Wong Jing decided to go back in time. This origin story sans Chow tells of Ko Chunís start as a young boy to his eventual crowning as the God of Gamblers. In a debatable move, Sky King Leon Lai subs for Chow. If this sounds like a mistake, it isnít. Wong Jing actually pulls together a good one here, with decent production values, a fun script, and terrific performances.

The story picks up as Ko Chun prepares to hit the gambling circuit with his godfather (Chung King-Fai), and his two gambling partners (Gigi Leung and Francis Ng). However, money is ultimately the devil's candy, and Chun is betrayed by those he trusts most. Luckily, he's taken in by Sister Seven (Anita Yuen), who's been a long-time admirer of Ko Chun. With her help, he prepares to take back what he lost, which is pretty much the theme of every God of Gamblers film ever made. 

Even more help arrives in the form of the young Lone Ng, who was essayed by triad producer Charles Heung in the other God of Gamblers films. In this prequel, he's played by Jordan Chan, who simply owns this picture. Chan shows an amazing charisma and physical presence that completely blows Leon Lai out of the water. Lai doesn't really do such a bad job himself, but his version of Ko Chun is essentially another version of his usual acting mode.

It's the co-stars who save this film; both Chan and Anita Yuen (who turns in one of her patented loveable turns) are terrific, and effectively carry the picture. The rest of the film is the usual mishmash of typical Wong Jing elements, meaning time outs for action, laughs, and some overdone romanticism. As commercial Hong Kong pop cinema goes, this movie is tough to beat. (Kozo 1996)

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

image courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Co., Ltd. Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen