Kung Fu Mahjong (2005)
Director: Wong Jing, Billy Chung Siu-Hung
Tagline: A stupid, trashy cash-in
Let me make thus absolutely clear, this movie is nothing more than a cheap attempt to try and make money off the movie Kung Fu Hustle by using some of the same talent.
Given the success of that movie, I would have expected at least five movies by now that would do the same thing. Since the original came out in December 2004, there could have been up to ten movies given the usual speed of production in Hong Kong.
The main reason to watch this movie is the chance to see Qui Yen and Wah Yuen working together again, but while their scenes are funny, they mostly seem to be repeating the same things they did in Kung Fu Hustle (right down to the flower pot smashing on the head.)
The story itself follows Mahjong player Chi Mo-Sai (Wah Yuen) on his quest to make money and find increasingly bad shirts to wear. One day when he is being chased by triads, who want to beat him up. He hides in a restaurant where Wong (Roger Kwok) works. It turns out Wong has an excellent memory, and Chi seeing dollar signs wants to recruit him to play Mahjong. The boss of the restaurant, Auntie Fei (Qui Yen) has different ideas and proves how fierce she is by beating up the triads whilst still playing Mahjong.
Wong starts sneaking out at night to play despite Auntie Fei’s objections and as you expect, their success soon attracts the attention of a big time underworld gambler Tin Kau Gor (Wong Jing) and only bad things can come of it. This movie plays out like every other gambling movie I have seen, right down to one of the characters going “mad” and eventually going on to win the big tournament.
You really have to know about Mahjong to get the most about this movie, as that is what the movie is about despite the “kung fu” of the title. I still managed to enjoy these scenes though, in the same way I enjoy watching “World Poker Tour” late on Saturday nights despite not knowing the rules of Texas Hold ‘Em.
In what is the new standard for Hong Kong comedies, this movie also includes a parody of a scene from the Kill Bill movies. I am starting to get tired of it already and I have only seen a couple of Hong Kong films that do it. At least they have stopped doing scenes from the Matrix at last.
If I there was one good thing I could say about this movie, if you watch Kung Fu Hustle straight after it, you will see how brilliant that movie actually is when compared to just about every movie that pretends to be about Kung Fu these days (yes, even Kill Bill as it ‘borrowed’ from many other movies.)