ALL IN (扑克王者) (2024)

Genre: Comedy
Director: Matt Lai
Cast: Jack Lim, Philip Keung, Namewee, Wang Lei, Yumi Wong, Yuan Teng, Xiao Yu, Wayne Thong, Jovi Heng
Runtime: 1 hr 43 mins
Rating: PG13 (Gambling Content and Some Sexual References)
Released By: mm2 Entertainment
Official Website:

Opening Day: 8 February 2024

Synopsis: Cheng Jialang (starring Jack Lim) and Wei Yifu (starring Philip Keung), two poker stars in their prime, are about to have their first face-to-face confrontation. However, just before the match, Cheng Jialang was involved in an accident and his poker talent was “transferred” to a naïve and happy-go-lucky café assistant named Huang Xiaoqi (starring Namewee), who has no experience in poker. Both of them were determined to find a way to join forces and challenge Wei Yifu.

Movie Review:

This writer doesn’t exactly know what to do with the deck of poker cards given to guests at the preview screening of this comedy, but he is pretty sure the Malaysian movie directed by Matt Lai is going to appeal to fans of gambling comedies. Remember Wong Jing’s God of Gamblers (1989) starring Chow Yun-fat and Andy Lau? The commercial hit spawned countless sequels, spinoffs and parodies, and we won’t be surprised that this one featuring stars from Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore is inspired by the genre that was immensely popular during the 1990s.

Malaysian actor and DJ Jack Lim plays Cheng Jialang, a poker gambler can easily defeat his foes with a superpower – the man can tell whether a person is telling the truth or lying through his or her teeth just by looking over the opponent’s head. If there is a blue light, the person is telling the truth. If a red light hovers above the head, a lie is being told.

What happens if there is a black cloud above a person’s head? Jialang gets a shock when he comes face to face with Wei Yifu (the very hardworking Philip Keung who is starring in almost every Hong Kong movie you’ve seen in the past year), an antagonist you can tell is up to no good just by looking at his smirk. The poor guy is also the butt of a handful of homophobic jokes thrown in by the writer. While they aren’t the tastiest gags, it may milk a few laughs from the viewers.

The other main character in the mix is Huang Xiaoqi (Malaysian rapper Namewee, an idealistic man who works in a café owned by his father (Singaporean comedian Wang Lei). The father and son bicker in a good natured manner, and it is nice to see the two actors’ on screen chemistry.

When a freak accident happens, Jialang’s superpower is transferred to Xiaoqi, and this creates even more sight gags that make this 103 minute movie easy to enjoy if you are into this kind of humour. On one hand, we have Jialang trying desperately to train Xiaoqi to play poker and hoping that he can regain his superpowers. Elsewhere, Xiaoqi is smitten and falling head over heels in love with an online influencer (played convincingly by actress model Yumi Wong, who is also known as Malaysia’s Angelababy) who – get this – also having a full time job as a nurse.

As the movie progresses, you wonder whether a finale is happening. Will it be a big showdown with death defying card stunts and out of the world CGI? Unfortunately, this is not that kind of movie and what we are getting is a series of predictable plot developments that ultimately end with the stars wishing you happy new year and gong xi fa cai. It is a Chinese New Year movie after all, and you are okay with spending money to chuckle and laugh in the cinema, this isn’t a bad way to pass time after visiting your relatives. 

Movie Rating:

(This Chinese New Year offering is an easily enjoyable gambling comedy that delivers chuckles and laughs)

Review by John Li

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