Tricky Master (1999) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: Not rated
Running Time: 90 min.
Cast: Nick Cheung, Steven Chow, Sandra Ng, Suki Kwan, Wong Jing
Director: Wong Jing
Screenplay: Wong Jing
Review published January 18, 2003
I may be willing to concede that some of the humor in The Tricky Master could not possibly be understood from an American rather than a Hong Kong perspective. Some of the jokes seem to be of the screwball spoof variety and with my outsider's look in, I am not able to understand some of the satire on commercials and television in Hong Kong, not being from the area. However, I'm not so sure that if I were to understand everything in the film, that it would have been a better film since, of the jokes that I did "get", these were very hit and miss and the movie comes off far more absurd than is warranted with the material.
The film follows an undercover cop named Foon (Cheung, Conman 1999) whose task it is to take down Ferrari, one of Hong Kong's big fish swindlers (a skilled gambler who stops at nothing to win.) Using another swindler to show him the ropes, Foon puts everything on the line in a gamble for everything he holds dear.
It's a bit difficult to pin down what the exact plot is, since much of the film completely ignores it in order to show more zany antics meant to provide laughs. Writer-director Wong Jing (City Hunter, Century of the Dragon) keeps the energy level high, yet still cannot achieve many moments of inspiration even when targeting such well-known films as The Matrix and Enter the Dragon to spoof.
There are some occasional laughs here and there, but all in all, The Tricky Master is on the boring side, which is unacceptable for a joke-a-minute screwballer. Not entirely unlikable, but a waste of time and talent for the stars and for us as viewers.
©2003 Vince Leo