Millionaire Express (Shanghai Express)

This is a film where it helps if you are already a fan of HK films because you get the feeling that Sammo Hung decided to throw a party and invited just about every actor in HK to come. It seems only Jackie Chan RSVP because it is a large cast  with many faces that I recognized - some I can attach a name to; others I can't.  So part of the fun is just seeing all these actors in one place and trying to remember what else you have seen them in. It is perhaps not the best structured film, certainly no opportunity for great acting but this loses its importance as you get caught up in all the chaos.

And there is a lot of that. The film begins with a very peculiar prologue which I assume Sammo did only because he wanted to get some skiing in or wanted the chance to dress up in drag !.  Otherwise, the scene with the Russian soldiers in Siberia makes little sense to the rest of the story.

pretty damn cute Sammo !

But dissolve to the small town of Hanshui in the middle of nowhere. The security forces run by Eric Tsang (also includes Yuen Wah & Wa Mu) are planning a robbery of the bank by setting a fire to distract everyone. The fire brigade is run by Yuen Biao and in one of my favorite stunts ever he casually flips off a 3 story burning building landing on his feet and walks away as if to say "no big deal - do it all the time". The shot is done from a distance and with no cuts - it is quite incredible. After the security forces escape with the town's money, Yuen is put in charge of the police and soon Sammo rolls into town with his entourage of 5 working women (Rosamund Kwan & Emily Chu - 2 of them) to set up a brothel.

Is that Kari?Entreprenuers come to Hanshui

While this is all going on in town, the Shanghai Express train is headed their way with passengers. Among them 3 Japanese (Yukari Oshima is one) carrying a Chinese state secret, some train robbers and just ordinary passengers (Richard Ng Richard Ngas one who does the most amazing jaunt on top of a moving train between his wife & his mistress). Waiting near town are more bandits who are teamed up with the ones on the train. Here we have Cynthia Rothrock, Richard Norton & Dick Wei. As you might expect all of these gravitational forces come together in mayhem & fun. Some highlights were the one on ones between Sammo & Yuen Biao, Yuen B. & Dick Wei, Sammo & Cynthia, & Yukari taking on a bunch with a sword. A fun film filled with many terrific pieces that you can watch numerous times and find something different to enjoy each time.

My rating for this film: 8.5