One is that this is the first teaming up of two of the Hui Brothers – Ricky was to follow in a later film - and their style of buddy comedy was to become vastly popular for the next ten years.
Secondly, Hui was the first local star of his generation to become a big success. He brought with him a fresh attitude of innovation and irreverence.
Finally, Hui’s success brought back Cantonese as a viable cinema language. With the Mandarin focus of the Shaw films and much of TV being done in Mandarin, Cantonese had fallen into disfavor. Hui loved using the Cantonese language for comedic effect.
But setting aside its historical significance how does the film fare on its own merits? I have to admit to not really finding it all that funny. Perhaps my expectations were too high after having read about it, but I kept finding myself thinking – “now its going to start getting funny”, but it never clicks into high gear. It’s not painful by any means – and it does have a few mirthful moments – and the actors are charming – but it never gets on a comedy roll. There are situations that seem to have been set up for comedic hijinks, but they always fall short of their potential or end before they really get going.
Michael Hui and his brother Sam play two fellows who meet in jail. Michael is a real conman and Sam has aspirations to be one. When they get out of prison they decide to team up and take on the world. As Sam says, “how can we fail?” For lots of reasons actually! Sam gets taken almost immediately in mahjong by Betty Ting Pei (the actress in whose apartment Bruce Lee died) who it turns out is Michael’s mistress.
There are cameos from Dean Shek as the crooked croupier, Roy Chiao as the fellow with the meter problem and James Wong as the game show host. Sam Hui who was a very popular singer contributes a few catchy tunes to the soundtrack.