God Of Gamblers III : Back To Shanghai (1991)

Directed by
Almost no gambling, but lots of silly comedy
Reviewed by Simon on 2020-06-21

This sequel to God Of Gamblers II, which was a hybrid sequel to both GOD OF GAMBLERS and All For The Winner, pretty much jettisons its GOD OF GAMBLERS heritage and is purely on the ALL FOR THE WINNER side of the family - a pure Stephen Chiau movie, in other words.

Almost no gambling actually takes place, though there's lots of supernatural powers being wielded in the vicinity of cards and dice. I'm not sure you really qualify as a GOD OF GAMBLERS, or even a regular gambler, when you use magic powers to remove any element of chance... apparently Wong Jing sees it differently.

Although it picks up directly after GOG2 it's not long before Do Sing is transported back to 1937 Shanghai, for reasons, where he meets his own grandfather and gets involved in a conflict between a noble Triad boss and the Japanese who are looking to take over Shanghai. There's some very obvious inspiration from BACK TO THE FUTURE, but no direct scene stealing.

Gong Li plays twin sisters - one the beau of the Triad boss, the other her sister who has the mental age of a 5 year old. This is a surprising usage of Gong Li's talents, but she must have enjoyed playing against type for once, even if it's not exactly giving her acting muscles much of a work out.

Stephen Chiau is definitely at his best when paired with Ng Man-Tat, as he is throughout the whole film here, and the chemistry between the two of them yields some comedy gold in places.

The movie is a lot of fun, quite manic and creative. There's more action than gambling, with some over the top shootouts that are quite creative but not particularly well filmed. The treatment of the female characters is kind of what you'd expect with Wong Jing in the director's chair and might offend some. I don't suppose a romantic interest who is repeatedly said to have a mental age of 5 would fly in this day and age - it is a very chaste romance though.

Perhaps worth noting that there's another sequel to GOD OF GAMBLERS II which follows the GOD OF GAMBLERS side of the story a bit more. It's called... Casino Raiders II and it has essentially nothing to do with CASINO RAIDERS. There is another film called GOD OF GAMBLERS 3 as well, but it's a prequel... to something at least.

Originally reviewed in 2001, my thoughts on it don't seem to have changed all that much to be honest but it's a bit more fleshed out now