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By Ally Sinyard · November 12, 2018
Gambling can become monotonous, especially when you don’t take time to get the right inspiration. There’s no better way to revamp your gambling appetite than to watch a strategy-inspired film. Films can also be resourceful entertainment and keep you in touch with the outside gambling world, exploring the mindset of world-class professionals. All eyes go west when considering classic gambling films, but the east holds new adventures for punters with a unique taste. Here are our picks for the 5 must-watch Asian gambling films.
The 2006 movie is probably one of the best South Korean gambling movies of all time. The cold color schemes and the plot perfectly fit the theme of Casinos. The movie stars Cho Seung-woo playing Go-ni, who takes on hwatu, a Korean card game, hoping for a win in a series of recurring losses. Go-ni’s gambling problem causes him to lose all his savings, as well as the money he steals from his family. The losses lead to desperation until he discovers a setup that had been used against his gambling tactics. Go-ni resolves to take hwatu lessons from Pyung, played by Baek Yun-Shik, the most skilled global player. The movie was released on 28 September 2006, directed by Choi Dong-hoon.
Pale Flower is undoubtedly the Asian gambling masterpiece rated by numerous critics, such as the famous Roger Egbert. The Japanese film revolves around the adventures of Muraki, a Yakuza hitman who is just coming from jail into an underground gambling world. Muraki goes to an illegal gambling destination to meet Saeko, a mysterious lady who fuels his gambling hanger. The duo finds themselves in a toxic relationship as they face their gambling nightmares together. The movie dates back to 1964, yet it hasn’t lost relevance even to the modern world, thanks to the one-of-a-kind scripting. The plot twists and events line-up are satisfying to watch, even for the most skilled gamblers.
God of gamblers is a China-Japan-based movie, where Ko Chun, the main character, is one of the best international gamblers. Ko Chun is a mysterious gambler who avoids the spotlight but has outstanding branding, defined by his love for chocolate, hairstyle, and pink ring. Ko Chun travels to Japan for dice and mahjong matches against top-rate Tanaka, who he beats repeatedly. Later, the two partner in a mission to avenge Tanaka’s father's defeat and suicide caused by Chan Kam-sing, a Singaporean gambler. The series stars some of the most renowned titles in the Chinese film industry, such as Donnie Yen, Chow Yun Fat, Leung Ka Fai, Andy Lau, and Nick Cheung. Wong Jing directed the 1989 series.
Also known as the Knight of Gamblers, the movie is a continuation of the God of Gamblers series, also directed by Wong Ting. The 2000 classic movie features the same characters as the original God of Gamblers but has an exciting twist in the plot, where Louis Koo takes the lead previously held by Andy Lau. Koo has Nick Cheung as his partner in crime, who has also played in other Wong Jing films. The movie is a perfect mixture of both action and comedy scenes, with characters such as Ching Siu bringing out the thrill in action.
Kaiji 2 is set a year after the original film, where Kaiji, the main character, is still in debt. But this time, the figures have gone up as high as 200 million yen. Kaiji plans to repay the loan by playing pachinko, which is a Japanese version of slot machines. Unfortunately, the character is unaware that the machine he is playing on is corrupted and remotely controlled to prevent him from winning. The film is a seamless resemblance to Japan’s gambling industry, which makes it interesting. According to fans, the second phase of the story is far better than the original. The film was directed by Toya Sato and was released in 2011.
Gambling is a sensitive issue in most Asian countries, where most activities are limited to government-owned businesses. Some countries, including Japan, still hold on to centuries’ old gambling laws. But the recent shift of activities to the online spaces has also affected the gambling industry, especially while the limitations on brick-and-mortar destinations remain a turnoff for many punters. Luckily, offshore gambling sites are here to save the day, especially in Japan, where the government restrictively controls local vendors. But even so, you cannot blindly jump into an offshore online casino without verifying whether it pays out winnings and secures users’ information. Asian gamblers can now access fully-equipped online casinos with almost any thinkable games, including slot machines, roulette, and poker.
The Asian film industry has been associated with its fight traditions, which are slowly losing the spark. But people are now seeking more diversified experiences, so the demand for such classic films is rising. Most nations are now considering the legalization of new gambling forms, which will stimulate the demand for new gambling films. Nonetheless, the gambling industry is a lucrative revenue source that no government is willing to let slide by, especially in the AI age.