Winners and Sinners

This is the first in the series of films that came to be called The Lucky Stars and right from the opening shots the tone of the series is set. The films focus on a group of five slightly bumbling, slightly crooked friends who band together to fend off the rest of the world. Often they fight among themselves, but when the chips are down they are always there for one another.
Sammo Hung directs this with an infectious mix of comedy and action. The comedy can seem fairly adolescent at times, but sometimes its pure silliness can be very winning. Though the comedy may not be to everyone’s taste, the action is absolutely top notch. The stunts and fights are as good as anything you will see. The main thrust of these Lucky Star films though is the comedy and the chemistry of the characters with action scenes a secondary concern.
The Lucky Stars song - sing along
The first few scenes introduce us to the five main characters in very amusing vignettes. Sammo is a cat burglar who spies a darkened apartment that seems like a good candidate for a quick heist. After he breaks in, the lights go on and he realizes that it is a surprise party for someone other than himself - though he still takes the time to kiss a girl! Oops – time to go and he makes his escape by sliding down a wire – right into a waiting police van.
Sammo
Richard Ng who has some beautifully comic moments in this film is a car thief, but makes the mistake of trying to steal the car of a police inspector (Philip Chan) with him underneath it.
Richard Ng
Charlie Chin – the suave handsome one in the group – has a great scam going to steal jewelry – but gets caught in the middle of a real robbery and gets nabbed by the cops.
Charlie Chin
John Sham (Curley) is a union organizer for prostitutes and the less than happy massage owners set him up to be arrested.
John Sham
The final member of the fivesome is Stanley Fung.
All of them end up in jail where they become fast friends and when they are released – amazingly on the same day – they decide to stay together and open a cleaning service. They all crash at Sham’s house where his sister also lives.  They tentatively ask Sham “from the same mother and father?” When he affirms this their hopes are dashed but they soon rise quickly when Cherie Chung comes out of the kitchen.
Cherie has a large role in this film and looks terrific. Later she gets right in the middle of the action and receives (and gives) a few hard looking whacks.  She is the first of the Lucky Star girls in which the tradition is quickly set where all the men (not her brother in this case!) chase after them and make every attempt to romance them or at the very least grab a feel. This is all done in a very schoolboy manner and is never successful.
The first hour of the film is nearly all comedy – with one priceless routine in which Richard Ng thinks he is invisible – but after some counterfeit plates accidentally end up with them – it turns into some great action.
Richard Ng - being very visible !
Jackie Chan plays a cop who is after the counterfeiters. Though Jackie’s role is more an extended cameo than a primary one, he does have time for one good fight and then an incredible sequence in which he chases a car on roller skates for miles. This has a few amazing stunts and then leads to possibly the biggest car pileup ever seen this side of a Burt Reynolds film – it goes on and on until some fifty cars are wrecked.
The boys and Cherie end up taking on the bad guys in two different fights – one hilarious and the other one absolutely brilliant. The fight in the warehouse with Sammo taking on Dick Wei and a multitude of other henchman is a classic.
Look also for the quick cameo from Yuen Biao and Moon Lee as his girlfriend. Yuen gets to throw a few punches, but not poor Moon.
Yuen and the Moon
This film is a lot of fun – with enjoyable performances from everyone – and can’t be taken at all seriously. Just sit back and let the silliness and the excellent action entertain you.

My rating for this film: 8.0

For an overview of this series check out Darryl Pestilence's analysis on Ryan's site - by clicking here