Image source: Lai Afong via Wikimedia Commons
It’s have been a long since the Kung-Fu movies with flying ninjas and soap operas represent Asian cinema. There’s a lot to digest if you’re beginning to dive into the rich culture of the Asian movies. For now, we’ve collected the best Asian movies about gambling and casino.
The growth and range of gambling in Asia is enormous, as you can see just from the online gambling sites in China or online casino sites in Thailand. A lot of Asian cities or even countries have adapted comparably relaxed gambling laws in order to attract more tourists. These kinds of approaches have successfully put Asia on the map for any enthusiastic fan of the casino or gambling.
As for the movies, the ones that are made in the early years tend to be somewhat influenced by Hollywood. Fortunately, that wave has left the Asian cinema in the early 1990s. The recent Asian movies about gambling already have a distinct touch into them.
God of Gamblers- The godfather of the Asian movies about gambling
This is a 1989 Hong Kong comedy-action movie written and directed by Wong Jing, starring Chow Yun-Fat and Andy Lau. The movie was so successful that the directors are still making sequels to this movie even to this day. There are five movies by the original name and three more by the name of “From Vegas to Macau”. The last of this franchise From Vegas to Macau III came to the screen in 2016. Besides the official sequels, there are also a handful of spin-offs. All of these movies have become some of the best Asian movies about gambling.
The plot of the movie is so rich, that it’s really hard to follow just from reading the synopsis. Probably this confusing plot with so many twists and turns is what made the movie favorite of the people. There are so many plot developments going on at the same time. The main theme song by Lowell Lo has then become the trademark of the movie, later appearing in the sequels.
From Vegas to Macau
The star of the prequel of this big hit- God of Gamblers Chow Yun-Fat returns in this movie. However, unfortunately, the role of Chow Yun-Fat has become too hard from the second sequel of the series. Even though the first movie was successful, From Vegas to Macau has seen sadly seen what most popular franchises see. Saying that it was a flop is maybe too harsh, but not that far from the truth.
From Vegas to Macau II simply couldn’t capture the rush and excitement of gambling and display the wit one needs in the casinos. With memorable location shoots in Thailand, the movie is a pleasure to see. But the fans around the world agree that it doesn’t even come close to the original masterpiece- the God of Gamblers. The only reason why we’ve included this on the list of the best Asian movies about gambling is because of its prequels.
Tazza movies- South Korean take on Asian movies about gambling
The origin of Tazza came from the manga about gambling. The first movie came out in 2006 and met with such positive reactions from the viewers and critics, that a series with the same name and plot came in 2008. There are two more movies with a similar plot and name, the latest coming out in 2014. The fact that a movie about gambling was such a success in South Korea was surprising. It was one of the highest-grossing films in South Korea and become one of the best Asian movies about gambling. The on-land casino and gambling laws are quite strict in South Korea, and so is the viewer restriction and media distribution controls.
The movie is about a small-town guy who has lost all of the family’s savings in a crooked game. He was always so successful with the card games that he got carried away. After this loss, he realizes that in the gambling world, there’s much more than just being good with the cards. After training for some time, he finds the guy and got him to play one last game.
Casino Riders is another masterpiece that features gambling by Wong Jing with the co-director Jimmy Heung. Even though God of Gamblers and Casino RIders has been directed by the same person and came out in one year, the mood and dynamic of the two movies couldn’t be more different. The Casino Riders is a dark-comedy, crime action movie about two best friends both into gambling.
This one was not as popular as the light and fun God of Gamblers because of its heavy plot. The movie focuses on the dangers of gambling and high-stake crimes through the actions of the two friends. There are two sequels to the movie, which has new, different plots. However, the critics around the world agree that even though not as popular as the God of Gamblers, Casino Raiders is easily one of the best Asian movies about gambling.