Sammo Hung (director)
312 min approx (length)
22 March 2021 (released)
22 March 2021
Three action-packed comedy classics from the early 1980s featuring Hong Kong’s finest and brightest (including Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan) are all included in this 3-disc Blu-ray set – get ready for over five hours of jaw-dropping stunts and fight sequences!
Directed by martial arts legend Sammo Hung (who also stars) the LUCKY STARS movies are loosely connected insofar as the concept of each film is similar and many of the actors return again, albeit with different character names.
Kicking off with WINNERS AND SINNERS (1983) we are introduced to five Hong Kong prisoners about to be released. They are chubby Teapot (Sammo Hung), goofy-looking Exhaust Pipe (Richard Ng), dopey-looking Curly (John Sham), smooth-talking and flirtatious jewellery thief Vaseline (Charlie Chin) and wisecrack Rookie (Stanley Fung). At the same time a sixth convict, the wealthy and considerably more dangerous Jack Tar (James Tien) is also released, with his henchmen and daughter waiting at the prison gate… welcoming him with a red carpet and countless posh cars whilst our five hapless anti-heroes are stuck for transport. Eventually arriving at Curly’s house they meet his attractive sister Shirley (Cherie Chung) and after some cringe-worthy attempts to woe her it is the unlikely Teapot who manages to conquer her heart. Aware that no one will give recently released ex-convicts a job the lads decide to form the Five Stars Cleaning Company though Shirley is also eager to join.
Meanwhile Jack Tar doesn’t waste time and already plans his next crime, this time it’s trading counterfeit US and Hong Kong currency with a big American crime boss. During a planned exchange of the counterfeit money things go unexpectedly pear-shaped and the briefcase gets stolen by two muggers who suddenly find themselves pursued by disaster-prone police officer CID 07 (Jackie Chan) though instead of retrieving the briefcase it ends up in the van of the Five Stars Cleaning Company who at first have no idea why they’re suddenly in ‘demand’… Cue for unimaginable carnage involving a massive freeway pile-up and CID 07 chasing after the crooks on roller skates – it really has to be seen to be believed! Sammo Hung, despite his chubby physique, proves himself to be a one-man fighting machine with Jackie Chan his equal though that doesn’t mean the rest of the main cast are incompetent when it comes to delivering kicks and punches, far from it! Hilarious if occasionally silly humour provides the comic relief to almost relentless action.
In MY LUCKY STARS (1985) undercover cop Muscles (Jackie Chan) enlists the help of his friends, the Five Lucky Stars (who no longer are a cleaning company) to travel to Japan and bring down a notorious Yakuza group and a corrupt Hong Kong cop in cahoots with the crime organisation. Once again we are treated to endless shenanigans courtesy of Sammo Hung, Richard Ng, Charlie Chin and Stanley Fung (albeit with different character names) though Curly has been replaced by Buddha Fruit (Eric Tsang) who is the dopey one and constant target of cruel jokes from his mates. This time the Five Lucky Stars are ‘chaperoned’ by female undercover cop Sword Flower (Sibelle Hu) which means plenty of opportunities for near sexist jokes and the usual “Let’s try and see which of us can get her” schtick. It doesn’t take long for all hell to break loose and when Muscle’s partner Ricky Fung (Yuen Biao, who already had appeared in the previous adventure) gets kidnapped there’s no stopping the combined efforts of Muscle and the fearsome Five, with gravity-defying stunts and a truly inspired sequence taking place at an amusement park!
Finally, TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LUCKY STARS (1985) sees the return of Sammo and his loyal pals, once again with different character names (Kidstuff, Roundhead, Rawhide, and new member Michael Miu as Pagoda). ‘Curly’ (John Shum) returns in the role of Wormgrass. This time the Five Lucky Stars are assigned by the police to have actress Wang Yi-ching (Rosamund Kwan) live with them because Wang, who has important information regarding a notorious crime syndicate, is targeted by three particularly mean assassins (Chung Fat, Japanese Yasuaki Kurata and Australian Richard Norton) though it goes without saying that poor Wang also finds herself the target of the Five Stars dubious affections (cue for some more silly and sexist frolics). Also aboard is Sword Flower (S. Hu), better known as Chief Inspector Barbara Wu, and of course Muscles (J. Chan) and his partner Fung (Y. Biao). Taking place at a holiday resort and later at a recreation building there’s no shortage of action though finally we see a lot more female characters kicking ass, interspersed with the usual slapstick comedy routines, in particular Richard Ng’s character who cannot stop dabbling in all matters telepathic and occult… with hilarious results. Tall and lean Richard Norton certainly holds his ground during a mega showdown with Sammo while Jackie Chan, despite receiving prominent billing in all three films, is not the main star (Sammo Hung is).
This newly restored 3-disc Blu-ray collection is presented in a Limited Edition O-card slipcase with many Extras including audio commentaries, interviews, archive footage, music videos, the Five Lucky Stars live show performance (total hoot!) and trailers.
Real shame about the occasionally very difficult to read white-against-white subtitles… why spend all this money and time on restoring three films but fail to pay attention to easy-to-read (or simply just easy-to-see) subtitles!