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Wong Jing's original and forerunner to the successful "HK Casino" film franchise is an excellent example of how skilfully the genre can be presented.
Crab (Andy Lau) is a smooth professional gambler, although "con man" might be more accurate to describe some of his sleazy and deceptive means by which he tricks his rich victims out of huge amounts of money. Although it must be said, he never steals from the innocent, but only slimy business tyrants. His friend and gambling partner, Law (Alan Tam) is arguably the more careless of the two. They are called in to assist a Casino owning friend of theirs who has lost a lot of money to some cheating Japanese Yakuza, and so their investigation into the suspected men ensues. Needless to say, this attracts unwanted attention and eventually leads them into trouble with the Yakuza. When Law's girlfriend, Tong (Idy Chan) is kidnapped by the Yakuza in exchange for Crab, a punishment for stealing back some money in a gamble, Crab goes straight after the kidnappers...
Without giving the whole film away, little else can really be said, but the film does contain a great deal of plot twists and interesting developments.
Alan Tam is probably the best lead here, and gives an emotionally deep and interesting performance. Andy Lau is not nearly as great as he was in "Casino Raiders II", the unrelated sequel, but still gives a solid depiction of the morally uncertain 'Crab' Chan.
In all, very rich noir-visuals and stylishly subdued direction from Wong Jing and Jimmy Heung make this a strong high-point of the HK Casino-Noir genre.
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