November 28, 2008
A solid entry in Jing Wong's oeuvre. While there's still room for his signature comedy, Casino Tycoon keeps a stronger focus on the plot and crime elements, with Andy Lau playing the titular character on his way up to rule the casino business. And all that a good three years before Scorsese's casino epic.
Lau is a perfect fit for this type of character. He has the necessary flair and carries the film with ease. The pacing is remarkably subdued, with Wong taking his time to set up the story, not skipping or rushing through any of key moments. He really commits to Lau's character and his rise to the top.
That said, the plot and characters are still pretty generic, Wong can't really escape his genre roots. Luckily the cinematography is pretty decent, in combination with a couple of solid action scenes and strong performances it leaves a solid overall impression. An interesting and well-made casino epic.