Review: Conman (1998)

Directed by:
Cast: , ,

Not available in Australia on DVD (to our knowledge)

Someone apparently thought that spraying Andy Lau’s hair silver would make him look old. Sorry, matey, but it just ain’t workin’. Lau Tak Wah looks totally delectable as ever, and just a smidge more elegant with a silver coiffure, if such is possible. And although the annoyingly wide-eyed Athena Chu scoffs at one point “You shouldn’t smoke too much. You’re getting old”, our Andy still retains sufficient sex appeal to engage Athena’s character in one of the better love scenes in Hong Kong cinema. Fairly chaste by Japanese or Korean standards, there’s still sufficient rolling about and heavy breathing to make the scene effective.

My Inconsistency Radar was beeping a lot throughout this film, largely because of Andy’s character development. King, the conman newly released from jail, suddenly becomes an adept of the snooker-fu school, and somehow develops mathematical and programming skills sufficient to allow him to analyse horse-racing and predict results. Oh, I’m sorry (she says in a heavily sarcastic voice), perhaps he took a course in statistical analysis at night school. Trust me here that I know whereof I speak, being a serious geek myself, and I just can’t help doubting that a man who’s spent most of his life perfecting his cheating skills would have sufficient spare time to devote to higher mathematics (or programming). So there.

Ranting aside, it’s not a bad film. Andy is always worth looking at, and some men of my acquaintance say the same about Athena Chu. Nick Cheung seesaws between funny and annoying, Waise Lee carries himself with a veterans aplomb, while the steely-eyed guy whose name always escapes me uses his minimal screen time to give us a good rendition of Macau Mon, the legendary gambler.

Just don’t believe the bit about the computers, okay?

7 aces of spades out of 10.
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