Though the Lucky Stars series (seven films from
1983 to 1996) has never at any time overwhelmed me, I continue to search
them out over time and always find myself reasonably glad I did. The series
created by Sammo Hung was the Golden Harvest response to the huge popularity
of Cinema City’s Aces Go Places and like those it mixed comedy and action
in much the same way. Instead of two guys and a girl as the Aces films
had, the Lucky Star series went them better by having five male characters
and a different beauty in every film.
In each adventure the boys do their best to seduce
the fair damsel often with the subtlety of a sledgehammer – and though
these scenarios have created a few classical comic moments – most
of the comedy is incredibly juvenile and borders on tedious at times. Yet
the comradery of the friends makes the films somehow easy to watch and
palatable. It’s kind of visual comfort food. You know exactly what to expect
and it’s not a lot. Having terrific talent like Sammo, Eric Tsang, Stanley
Fung and Richard Ng (and in the earlier films John Sham and roles for Jackie
and Yuen) portray these characters adds a huge amount to the films. The
films (in particular the first three – Winners and Sinners, My Lucky Stars
and Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars) also had some top notch action set pieces
– though as the series went on the balance shifted away from the action
to the comedy.
Ghost Punting came out in 1992 – four years since
the previous Lucky Star film – and there is no doubt that their age is
beginning to show. In fact jokes are made of it – in particular with the
handsome one - Charley Chin (who returned to the series for a large cameo)
– who has always fancied himself a ladies man – but is now constantly rejected
by them. The film follows the formula for the most part – but throws in
the added genre of ghosts to add spice to the film. The film is far from
inspired – sags in a few places like a middle aged stomach – but generally
delivers what a Lucky Star film is suppose to – girl chasing, a few solid
action scenes, friendships and lots of lame humor.
The boys are going to Lantau Island for a holiday
– and are suppose to bring dates. Even with Eric doing the sympathetic
blind man crossing the street routine and Ng using his psychic powers doesn’t
help – and they all come empty handed to Lantau. There turns out to be
a haunted house next door and upon exploring it they discover a female
nymphomaniac ghost and her love slave Natalis Chan.
They turn to their old friend Sibelle Hu (in a
cameo) for help and she sends not one female cop – but four lovelies to
help the boys. This is manna from heaven for them and they spend much of
the middle of the film trying to seduce them or at the least cop a feel.
Leading the female bevy of beauties is the wonderful Elaine Lui. If female
cops really looked this good in HK, they would be the number one tourist
attraction there. They all end up in the haunted house – where poor Natalis
is trying to escape the house and to do so he must possess someone’s body.
The catch is that he must first take off their panties! – odd how this
little fact is forgotten later in the film when he possesses men at will.
It turns out that Elaine forgot hers – so she is possessed by Natalis.
The boys bring Elaine/Natalis back to HK where
they are able to separate him from Elaine. He asks them for their help
in gaining revenge on the people who killed him - and they agree
– but first he has to help them win at gambling. Gambling, gals and ghosts
– what more can you ask for from a film! The boys deal with his killers
– leading to some good action from Sammo and Elaine. There is a great little
moment that passes in a flash here. Sammo’s character is always an easy
going fellow who never gets mad – but as Sammo faces the head bad guy –
one can see the easy going expression vanish from his face to be replaced
by one of a lean mean tough bastard ready to defend his friends. It sent
a little chill up my spine.
My rating for this film: 6.0