d2000 (1999)
The Tricky Master

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 12/09/2009

During the 1990's, Wong Jing and Stephen Chow teamed together in a series of hits, such as God of Gamblers II and Royal Tramp. Their last collaboration came in 1999 with Tricky Master. While it took in a respectable amount of money at the box office and it's not a bad film per se, it is easy to see by the on-screen results that the partnership ended at just the right time for everyone involved.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 11/10/2007
Summary: Missable

Leung Foon (Nick Cheung) is an aspiring undercover cop who wants to make his fame by bringing down the notorious Ferrari (Wong Jing). To do this, he needs the assistance of Master Wong (Stephen Chow), the tricks master of the title. Nick Cheung does what's expected of him, but it left me cold. Kelly Lin does a great job of looking good, and Wong Jing's camera drools all over her, but her acting talents are limited to flashing one of the winningest smiles I've ever seen. Sandra Ng is in good form as Master Wong's girlfriend, Wasabi, but isn't given enough to do. Suki Kwan is a flower vase as Foon's long-suffering girlfriend Pizza. Not that I'm suggesting that Suki Kwan as a flower vase is a bad thing, but she has talents beyond looks. And though Stephen Chow is given prominance on the cover, this is really a Nick Cheung film. While he's on screen, SC is good, though he doesn't always seem to be in to it, and we're given the treat of watching him do his Bruce Lee imitation, but those expecting a SC film should be warned that he's a co-star here.

Tricky Master contains both the good and bad elements of Wong Jing. It has some big talent (Stephen Chow, Sandra Ng), some good directing, some good gags, some (but not much) good action, and some cute girls. But it also has jokes overblown to the point of clownishness (Stephen Chow understands mo lei tau, Wong Jing doesn't), big talent that isn't given enough to do (Stephen Chow, Sandra Ng), and some sexual pandering (bondage-lite, cross dressing women, S&M-lite). In this film, Wong Jing's bad elements outweigh the good ones.

One additional annoyance was the product placements. These were presented as parody of product placements, which was fun at first, but then quickly became nothing more than in-your-face product placements.

All in all it's okay if you go into it with low expectations.

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 10/03/2005
Summary: Not that tricky

It seems that the most important aspect of filmmaking to Wong Jing, at least in movies that he both writes and directs, is length. “Tricky Master” hits the 90 minute mark just as the final credits are ending so that feature is taken care of. It lacks what Wong Jing written, directed and produced works generally lack: plot, character development, interesting cinematography, memorable performances. But Wong throws so much at the screen—very broad satire, beautiful women, gunfights, kung fu, ridiculous situations, local color, constant references to other movies and frenetic pacing—that there are enough laughs to keep one watching. The usual quota of vomit jokes, excrement jokes and shoe licking jokes is met. The editor (credited to Marko Mak at IMDB) did a good enough job of putting the scenes together so that there were enough laughs to offset the groans.

Kelly Lin is gorgeous—the camera absolutely loves her and she holds her own when onscreen with some very adept scene stealers, quite an accomplishment for an actress in one of her first (if not her very first) movie roles. While this is most definitely not a Stephen Chow movie he is excellent in the scenes in which he appears. He is in a substantial fraction of the movie and even though he essentially plays Stephen Chow, that is what his fans, of which I am one, are happy with. One of the great things about Hong Kong cinema is that actors who with substantial followings—stars, in other words—often take less than major parts in movies and still deliver good performances.

At this point in his career Nick Cheung was not a capable comic actor—he just isn’t funny. Everything about him—his timing, his look, even the way he stands—shows someone saying the lines, following the blocking and trying to be funny. The effort is obvious which is the death knell of comedy. Sandra Ng, on the other hand, is allowed to underplay the role of Wasabi. For some she is more than occasionally like fingernails on a blackboard but here she has funny scenes that she plays with almost perfect pitch. One in particular, when she greets her husband (Chow) who is just out of prison, is very well done by everyone. She starts by being kicked across the room by one of her husband’s bodyguards, who don’t allow anyone to touch him. The scene ends with her giving Chow a big welcome kiss—but only by kissing a bodyguard who then passes the smooch along to his boss. Suki Kwan is a very attractive woman and a movie actress of significant range—she can play funny and sexy, such as in this movie or dramatic and a bit demented which she did in “Victim” and do it all quite well.

Wong Jing looks like he is having a great time as crime boss Ferrari.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: honloo
Date: 12/24/2002
Summary: Superb Performance for Kelly Lin

This movies is only good because of Kelly Lin. She's so pretty and so sexy. Her sexy look when pulling out the bullets was just every man's dream.

The last part, Kelly got beaten up badly

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 03/17/2002

God bless Wong Jing - not only does he direct, write and produce movies at an astounding pace, guaranteeing us addicts a never-ending supply, but he has also developed a formula that offers a little bit of everything for everyone. Much of the humour is hit and miss, but it's always worthwhile sticking around because you just know that the lame TV commercial parody you're looking at will be over soon, and then there will be a kung fu fight, or a car chase, or a bomb going off, or some cheap titillation, or a mix of all of it. His movies are a mixed bag, and they certainly aren't classics, but he does deliver in terms of sheer popcorn and fluff...

Tricky Master is like the gazillionth gambling movie he's done, and this time he pushes Nick Cheung as a funny man. The problem - Nick ain't that funny! Even the presence of Stephen Chiau and Sandra Ng (who gets slapped and thrown around quite a bit - one of the less pleasant aspects of a Wong Jing movie) can't quite save the movie on that front. As a starring vehicle for Nick Cheung, the film is a failure. Thank goodness there are enough setpieces and sightgags thrown into the mix to make the film as a whole enjoyable, regardless of the shortcomings of the star.

The plot is pretty much just a mix of genre cliches, with Nick playing an undercover cop investigating a conman named Ferrari (played by the maestro Wong Jing himself). With the help of sexy bombshell Kelly Lin, Ferrari gets the better of our man Nick, and he is left to disgrace and public embarassment. He decides to take revenge by enlisting the help of legendary conman Wong Sifu (Stephen Chiau). Further aided by his girlfriend Pizza (Suki Kwan) and her sister (Sandra Ng), they take on Ferrari, and after much hilarity, and some violent action scenes, the movie arrives at the final showdown, which of course takes place at a gambling table.

The movie is mindless fun, with plenty of extremely silly scenes ranging from gratuitous cleavage, to Matrix references, to parodies of TV commercials (and plenty of other material in between). It's all quite sloppy, and never reaches the levels of a good Stephen Chiau movie, but if you're in the mood for some cheap escapism, the film delivers.

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 10/21/2001
Summary: Bad film

TRICKY MASTER 2000: Another Chiau film that's not a "Chiau Film". Our Stephen only has a guest starring type role in this one, appearing in maybe 4 or 5 scenes (with Sandra Ng as his goofy wife). Nick Cheung is the main star - it seems that BoB were trying to push him as a new Stephen Chiau with this and THE DUEL... but I don't know why 'cause he really just isn't funny. The whole movie failed to raise a chuckle in fact. Not recommended.

Reviewer Score: 1

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 03/22/2001
Summary: Everybody loves Stephen Chow, BUT...

This is undoubtedly one of Stephen Chow's worst movies. Just plain stupid; unlike some of his earlier, FUNNIER ones, Tricky Master seems to have excluded many of the important elements which made Stephen Chow the "king of comedy". I consider the acting very mediocre, and the plot ridiculous, as this is supposedly a comedy and I found myself barely smiling when I saw this in a theatre, which THIS MOVIE, mind you, IS THE FIRST MODERN HK FILM I HAVE EVER SEEN IN A CHINESE MOVIE THEATER IN CHINA. At the time, I have never even heard of Stephen Chow (it was before I got into HK movies at all). Just a little insightful pereference from me... [6/10]

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 02/28/2001
Summary: GOOD

NOt Chow's best and he again is in half the movie!! Look out for the MATRIX scene, very funny!!
There are some funny parts here where i laughed out loud but it's not through the whole movie!!

I feel generous though giving this


Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: resdog781
Date: 08/23/2000
Summary: gambler movies suck

If there's one genre of HK films I have no clue about why they're so damn popular, it's the "gambler" genre. Whatever...

I didn't understand a damn thing about this movie. Wong Jing has been really hit-or-miss with me. At his best (New Legend Of Shaolin, From Beijing With Love) he's absolutely hysterical but he's got heart in what he does. He's like the HK version of the Farrelly Bros. At his worst (King Of Beggars, etc) he's excruciatingly unfunny. I thought this was one of those films. My father, who actually understands these gambler movies, loved it.

The only thing I took away from this film was that Lam Hei-Lui is an unbelievably luscious hottie.

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 03/18/2000
Summary: Low Brow Art

Love him or hate him, Wong Jing has the power to make you laugh. He isn't afraid of low brow humor or laughing at himself. He's done some of his best work with Stephen Chow, including one of my personal favorites "Sixty Million Dollar Man." A true test for a comedy is if you can laugh at a second or third viewing. "Tricky Master 2000" passes with flying colors. Wong Jing's quick, slap-dash work actually helps to keep the film fresh. You can tell that everyone involved had a good time making this movie. You forget that there's a script and that people are acting. It all seems extemporaneous.

Reviewed by: nsbr1
Date: 12/29/1999

I found this film to be extremely tedious - nothing but a lot of stale gags/parodies thrown together under one roof - and called a movie. Admittedly, some of the gags are not bad - but they become numbing quickly as there is little context to them. Don't really expect a Stephen Chow film here - it is much more Wong Jing and Nick Cheung who dominate proceedings - and Chow looking a bit haggard and more bored than even I felt shows up from time to time. Cheung's name has been bandied about as the successor to Chow - but I have yet to see any evidence of anything approaching comic genius from him.

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 11/29/1999
Summary: Tricky Master 2000

[1999 was a good year.] I really enjoyed Tricky Master. Of all the summer movies I saw, this was one of the best. It was quite clever in the use of some digital special effects, like the "mantis" shadow on the wall behind bad guy Dragon Ferrari, played by Wong Jing. Quite the 'actor', Jing steals the show as the bad guy.

I had quite a few belly laughs from the performance of Sandra Ng. The comedic business with Stephen Chow Sing-Chi and his bodyguards' arms was very funny, although he did seem to be sleepwalking through most of his scenes. There is a lot of kung fu comedy and tributes to Bruce Lee, of course, sprinkled throughout the movie. It is a major spoof of several HK film series; God of Gamblers, Conman, Wong Fei-Hung, Young & Dangerous, etc. Nick Cheung Ka-Fai is much funnier here than Chow.

Stephen Chow Sing-Chi worked 12 hours a day on Wong Jing's Tricky Master, got paid 1.1 million and has 8 scenes. Wong Jing used several directors to help finish the movie quickly, including Aman Chang [Raped by an Angel 3], Bosco Lam Hing-Lung [Underground Banker], and Andrew Lau Wai-Keung [The Storm Riders]. However, Mr. Lau could not take it and left after working one day with Chow. In the end, Wong Jing had to wrap it up. In the HK press Wong said, "Besides me, who else can stand him! A lot of people are hard to take. Sing Jai has his own style. Those who can accept it call it style, those who can't call it hard to take. I can accept anyone."

Another GOOD Wong Jing movie!

copyright 1999 J. Crawford

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: ryan
Date: 11/21/1999
Summary: Tricky Master, The (1999)

I think most local guys will agree that WONG Jing is a fast director. He can make a movie within a month. 'The Tricky Master' is one of his quick productions. While we still talked about it's going to produce this summer. It opens today. Even though it is a quick production, we still have attractive castings from the two generations of comedies actor -- Stephen CHIAU Sing-chi who has been dominated the market since 90s and Nick CHEUNG Ka-fai who has been popular since his success from 'The Conman' onwards. WONG Jing even casts himself as the main baddy in the movie.

LEUNG Foon (Nick CHEUNG Ka-fai) is a undercover cop. He is assigned to a case for catching Tricky guy Ferrari (WONG Jing), who has been a guy playing tricks in gambling and stock market. LEUNG tried to join Ferrari's gang but he was attracted by 'First Love' (LAM Hey-lui) and resulted in the misunderstanding with his girl Pizza (Suki KWAN Sau-mei) and was being trapped by 'First Love' and Ferrari. Foon tried to get help from Pizza's relative (Sandra NG Kwan-yu) for asking her husband Master Wong (Stephen CHIAU Sing-chi).

It seems that WONG Jing has switched his comedy style since the success of 'The Conman' (1998) by putting up the tricks of the current movies and advertisement. This time he plays tricks on some ad. like the Lemon Tea and Leon's ad for a cell phone network. In addition, he also played tricks on some popular movies. Though it was already the third time for playing such tricks, audience can still laugh when watching as Nick CHEUNG Ka-fai has done his good work in imitating these castings.

'The Tricky Master' is a movie with lots of gags and using a typical plot to link them together. In terms of linkage, I consider audience shouldn't expect too much as their main purpose of the movie is to make you laugh for some tricks. In fact, some of the tricks are very funny like the ads, the introduction of BAT Leung-kam and TSANG Kan-wing. At least audience can get certain degree of enjoyment from them, though you have seen their performance like that in their past movies.

For the performance of actors, most of them get what is expected. However, as the plot only requires them to act as what they've done, you may find them no longer new. It seems that Stephen CHIAU hasn't got enough to act while it's a bit weird to see Sandra NG acting with her fake hair. For LAM Hey-lui, I regret to say that I prefer her performance in 'The Conmen in Vegas' (1999). This time she did not has much to satisfy audience despite she has done some actions. Nick CHEUNG has done his good work as he has made the movie more active.

In short, 'The Tricky Master' is a movie just like the Hong Kong version of 'Austin Powers' movie. You can get more fun if you see most of the movie they mentioned. There are several gags for you to laugh. Even though the main plot is a bit typical while Stephen CHIAU is not the main cast, it at least can give you some entertainment while you are in theatres. If you look for a funny movie, maybe this can be considered.