Reviewed by: MilesC
Despite the notice at the end, this film is based on a real man's crimes; unfortunately, his story isn't good enough to fill up an hour and a half satisfactorily. The early segment of the film is padded out with boring prison scenes, and, as is the case with most films or books based on real crimes, the last segment is mostly dull legal stuff. The middle segment, however, is fast-paced and reasonably engaging, despite the low budget and Ray Lui's overdone performance, which is't boosted much by the fact that several times his speeches are accompanied by music swiped from "A Hero Never Dies." The action scenes are somewhat exciting, but extremely far-fetched for a "fact-based" movie. Overall, if you're desperate for a crime-movie fix this will help to hold you over until something better comes along; just take the "true" story of Big Spender with a grain of salt.
Reviewed by: ryan
Summary: Big Spender (1999)
Criminal CHEUNG Chi-keung (a.k.a. Big Spender) has been the top news during late October. Both WONG Jing and Tommy MA Tin-yiu has picked up this topic to produce the movie. Last November we had Simon YAM in 'Operation Billionaires' while CHEUNG is still on trial. Now let's see how's the version by Tommy which taken after the sentence.
The story for 'Big Spender' focuses on DAI Fu-keung (may be DAI Fu-ho, means 'Big Spender' in English) and the news since he has robbed $ 1.7m from the bank. 'Big Spender' also put elaborations on the establishments of his working partners while he was in prison and the related news until being caught in the PRC.
Since 'Big Spender' is taken after the end of the story of Criminal CHEUNG, both director and script writer can have more time for research, the movie seems to have more contents. In fact, Tammy MA has put more contents on the relationship between 'Big Spender' and other characters. Thought there's no surprise for the whole movie as we know too well about CHEUNG, it still achieves its basic objective of putting the tale of Criminal CHEUNG. However, towards the later half of the movie, it seems that the running of the movie is in a hurry that it has not put much elaboration on the stuffs. This results in the decrease in convencing the impressions from Cecillia YIP.
In terms of performance, I consider both Ray LUI Leung-wai and LAM Kwok-bun have given their best in playing their roles. For Ray LUI as the most important character in the movie, Ray has established a image of criminal with thinking. His cool style in the movie which makes audience more impressive in the character. Another good character is LAM Kwok-bun who is at a role of being on a role as unloyal guy to his 'big brother'. LAM, by his apprearance, has been stereotyped as an actor for these roles. However, LAM has shown these attributes in a suitable way. For other characters like Simon LOUI, due to the focus of Ray LUI, it seems to be not easy for them to show their acting. This may affect the flow of the movie to show how loyal the gangs are.
In terms of style, 'Big Spender' tried to put the scenes of certain parts as shown in the press media. This approach can make the incidents looks more realistic. This approach works also.
In short, 'Big Spender' is a movie which can basically achieve its objective as the description of Criminal CHEUNG Chi-keung. The performance of Ray LUI and LAM Kwok-bun are above standard. I consider if the movie can put more elaboration on Criminal CHEUNG at the later part of the movie and more descriptions on the gang members, it would be even better.