Kei Wong
1991 / 109m - Hong Kong
King Of Chess poster


February 29, 2012


A story split into two different parts. Not so much a story even, but two separate fragments which are taken out of the life of the main character. The setup of the film made zero sense to me, but maybe it's because I never felt a strong connection with the characters and the drama on display here. Hark Tsui and Ho Yim try for a more serious film, but it just doesn't work.

Ching is an ad guy hired to boost the ratings of a television station. He finds a psychic kid and pitches him against a chess champion, but once the tournament is underway Ching starts to question the ethical implications of his actions. He is reminded of the time he met a legendary chess master in the 60s, during the Cultural Revolution.

The film is too silly to be taken seriously, but it's also way too dry and serious in its delivery. The two stories seen separately aren't too bad and they kept me engaged but combined they just didn't make any sense. The film lacks focus, proper dramatic performances, and a sensible structure. This is one of Hark's weaker efforts.