奇謀妙計五福星
Winners and Sinners (1983)


Reviewed by: leepifer
Date: 08/19/2007

Great film that seem to be almost a "classic" of action-comedy genre.
Almost?
For me, Sammo is the creator' genre in his most cynical form.
Yes, he has exploded the rules and made his owns mixed bags.
Comedy,action but also sex or politics or whatever treatments or thoughts are modernized and the bidding is open for the next movies to come(more comedy, more action, more violence, more, more, more...).
Jackie Chan enforced the cast and give the action a real interest, emphasizing Sammo'skills too.Oh, and he has a cross with Biao in the street...And let's say this guy,named 7086(!)is a little bit in over-reaction in his decisions.
Each characters has their own stories and it make them very humans and not secondaries in the movie.Brotherhood has a precise description that Sammo himself describes("As long as they are my friends,I don't mind them bullying me...).
They are the "Lucky Stars" from the cleaning company name they work for.
They have to fight the Tien gang but also go at his party...

With this title, Sammo Hung could open a branch of his versatile director'works
and thanks to him to have led the "politically incorrect" style on screen.
So yes, it's not elegant for women and farty humor is at a ground level but it gave us some incredibles films that only HK and Sammo could produce.
Oh, and by the way, i'm a Sammo'fan ;-)

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 01/28/2007

Enormously popular film which spawned numerous sequels, whose titles use the name "Lucky Stars". There are great and even thrilling action scenes which also provide the best comic sequences. The standard of comedy in the non-action parts varies from lame to mildly amusing to mildly offensive. However, it is as a treat to see five of HK's movie greats in action as a team. I'm not counting Chan among them, only because his part is essentially an extended cameo. He appears to be included to add to the stunt quota, and his (two, if I remember rightly) major stunt/action scenes are among his best ever, and are definitely worth enduring the rest of this otherwise so-so effort to see.

The story is fairly slight. Five guys get out of jail and one of their number (John Sham, imaginatively called Curly) helps the others get established. They start a cleaning firm, and get tangled up with a bunch of killers.

This film was my first exposure to Samo Hung. I was therefore stunned to see an apparently fat dork the equal of Jackie Chan in martial arts skill. His character is called Teapot and, in one excrutiating scene, he sings his theme song "I'm A Little Teapot" (yes, THAT one). But why on earth he sings it to the tune of "Aloette" is never explained. (Seriously, does anyone else have a definitive answer to this ?). There are a few too many fat jokes at Samo's expense for my liking, though of course he always does this.

OVERALL : Not great, but watch it for the stunts, and to see so many great HK film identities together.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 05/03/2006

The first in a line of “Lucky Stars” movies. The titles in this series are: Winners and Sinners, My Lucky Stars, Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars, Lucky Stars Go Places and Ghost Punting. It always seems that they made more, but that appears to be the lot. To be honest, only the first three are worth a mention, and that may be due to the presence of a certain mop-haired superstar…

Despite the bad reputation that these films generally have, it’s worth noting that they were HUGE at the time, particularly in Japan for some reason. Also, this is notable as one of the first instances of Jackie Chan in a modern setting (Cannonball Run beats it by a couple of years).

The plot, as such, revolves around big bad James Tien (who I’m sure logged more time as a villain in the 80’s than anyone else) and some counterfeiting plates, which arrive in the possession of the Lucky Stars gang in a rather convoluted way. But who cares about plot in a Lucky Stars movie?

Jackie Chan is not in this film very much, and is doubled surprisingly often. Taking what he learned from Battlecreek Brawl, he skates a bit. And that really is it. Unlike the other two Lucky Stars movies he was in, he does not turn up at the end to fight the bad guy. If you are expecting a full-blown Jackie and Sammo fest, you are going to be seriously disappointed (as I was when I first saw the film). Why distributors can’t be more honest about the billing of their stars is beyond me. If I’d have known it was just an extended cameo for Jackie, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more. And as for Yuen Biao, just forget he’s mentioned at all and you may get a pleasant surprise.

As for the Lucky Stars themselves, at this point they had not yet honed their “horny guys together in a room with a beautiful girl” routine, and this film is all the better for it. In fact, I have to say that at times it’s actually very funny. Richard Ng, as ever, is notable. This time he tampers with invisibility with hilarious, if predictable, results.

For all its faults, definitely one of the better Lucky Stars films, although My Lucky Stars beats it by a whisker.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Masterofoneinchpunch
Date: 11/17/2005
Summary: Five Lucky Stars

Winners and Sinners (aka Five Lucky Stars) is a film that I liked better the second time I watched it. After shaken off all expectations of a “Jackie and Sammo” film and accepted the uneven and scattered nature of this ensemble movie I enjoyed it more. This movie was more important though when it came out then it is considered today. Jackie had a recent flop in Dragon Lord, though I did enjoy the movie, and Golden Harvest had been in a bit of a slump. Producer Leonard Ho got the idea from Cannonball Run (which Jackie Chan and Michael Hui had parts in) to create an assemblage of popular Hong Kong stars to star in this film. Winners and Sinners was a success spawning several sequels and reunited Jackie with Seven Little Fortune alums Sammo and Yuen Biao (who helped with martial art choreography; though his cameo as a fellow CID officer is less than a minute as a quick fight versus Jackie.)

The Five Lucky Stars are cons who after spending their time in jail take a straight job with a cleaning company led by Curly aka Jack So (played by real life democracy advocate John Shum) who was framed for instigating a crowd to do harm in a parody of his real-life exhorts. The other four are Ranks aka Larry (Stanley Fung), Teapot (Sammo Hung who also directed this) as a cat burglar, Vaseline (Charlie Chin) a slick thief, and Exhaust Pipe (Richard Ng who performance was nominated as Best Actor for the Hong Kong Film Awards) who is bad at thieving automobile parts. They all live with Jack’s sister known as Sis (Cherie Chung.) Unfortunately they spend way too much time trying to get her attention, leaving a lull in the early parts of the film. However there are some great gags such as Richard Ng thinking he is invisible with Wu Ma’s great response to shatter his misconception – “...pretty good vision even when it comes to small objects” and a blind couple playing a Rod Stewart song at a carnival.

There are some great stunt and fight scenes led by 7086 (Jackie Chan) a bumbling CID officer who beats up wrong suspects, kills his superior’s turtle and accidentally throws a kid’s ice cream away. When he is not destroying everything in his path he is part of an awesome stunt scene involving skates (at least he learned something good from The Big Brawl though he is doubled on some of the trickier roller tricks) and part of a good fight scene in a cafeteria with a little person with horrific teeth. The “ouch factor” is quite high in one scene where a villain gets kicked out of a window and lands on a concrete ledge than falls to the ground. I have the highest respect for these stuntmen who kill themselves for our enjoyment. This film definitely deserved the Hong Kong award for best Action Choreography.

The story is mostly non-existent until the boilerplate briefcase full of counterfeit bills makes it’s appearance. It belongs to Chan Chiu (James Tien always good as a cigar chomping villain) who is head of a triad gang. He was going to trade it to another triad gang led by Ho Man but it got intercepted and eventually and unknowingly in the possession of the Five Lucky Stars Cleaning Company. Of course, Agent 7086 wants this briefcase too.

But this film was not made for the plot. It was made to be a crowd pleasing mixture of comedy and action, both of which it does very well. It parodies the more serious films with scenes such as Charlie Chin and Fung Hark On doing a martial art pose-down fight and the final action scene that blends comedy and stunts takes place in a warehouse which gets me thinking on how many films I have seen that have the last fight scene in a warehouse (rhetorical thought of course). There are some problems with the film besides the inert beginning including he abysmal electronic soundtrack that is eerily reminiscent of Heart of Dragon’s soundtrack and the misuse of Lam Ching Ying as Chan’s butler Chan. Overall this is an enjoyable film that is fun to watch that showcases several outstanding Hong Kong comedians and several outstanding action performers.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/27/2005

Despite his top billing, Jackie Chan plays only a small role in this movie, which is probably most notable as the first film where all of the "three brothers" (Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao) appeared on-screen together. Most of this movie is dominated by the antics of Ng, Shum, Tien, etc. as a group of dim-witted crooks who try to go legit after getting out of prison. Most of the comedy in this movie wasn't all that funny to me (too "kiddie" for my tastes), and with the three brothers in here (and Sammo at the helm), it felt like there should have been better action sequences and more of them. Winners and Sinners isn't horrible, it's just a bit anemic compared to some of Chan and Hung's other movies. It's worth a rental on a rainy day when you don't have anything else to do.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]


Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 08/23/2005
Summary: 7.5/10 - A very funny film

I'm not really a fan of the Lucky Stars films, mainly because they include some distasteful treatment of women, but also because I'm not terribly amused by them. However, I remembered WINNERS & SINNERS being somewhat better than the others, and a revisit via the nice HKL dvd confirms this to be the case. In fact, it's one of the funnier HK films not to star Stephen Chow.

A couple of points to note: Firstly - forget the plot, it doesn't exist. A few things happen throughout the film that loosely form a narrative, but they're not important. It's about the characters and the comedy situations. Secondly - don't go in expecting a film with Jackie Chan & Yuen Biao, no matter how many video & dvd companies try to convince you that's what it is! Yuen Biao is in for about 1 minute; Jackie maybe gets 15, but he's really only there to pull in the crowds and the film would be a little less entertaining but still work without him.

What you will get in the film is Sammo Hung giving a great & well-rounded (ha ha) performance, Richard Ng being a comic genius and James Tien a fantastic villain. The other Lucky Stars do a good job too, and there's a huge supporting cast of characters who get their moments to shine.

The real stars though (to use a cliche) are Sammo and Barry Wong, who write and direct comedy that manages to be simultaneously crude, absurd, intelligent and sometimes rather dark. Many of the jokes and situations are layered so that the humour can be appreciated on different levels, which is quite an accomplishment. You definitely need to be a bit of a HK afficianado to fully appreciate some of the comedy, e.g. spoofing and satirising various actor's images - the casual Jackie Chan fan just isn't going to get a lot of it, but because the comedy is multifaceted they can probably still enjoy it.

There's some fights & stunts of course, and they're quite decent, but they're just the icing on the comedy cake rather than a major focus of the film.

It's a bit of a shame that Winners & Sinners spawned so many sequels (and not obvious unless you are aware that the Chinese title IDs it as the first film of the Lucky Stars series!), because later installments were rather too formulaic and crass, which means Winners & Sinners gets pulled down a bit by association. If it had been a one-off it would probably stand in higher regard now. Obviously it was very popular in Asia when it released though, or there wouldn't have been so many followers & imitators for years to come. I guess the Jackie Chan involvement means that the film has had more video & dvd releases across the world than most HK films of the era, so I guess it still classes as a "popular" film now, even if it may be hard for many viewers to simply appreciate it on its own merits.

Which merits I will finally place a number on after rambling far too long - 7.5/10.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 07/07/2005
Summary: All-star film

This is an all star film, which is an asset. It also has has some funny moments to its credit; but more often than not, we're watching neither genuine comedy nor action, but rather repetitive, eye-rolling, silly, corny acts that filled up much of HK cinema since the 80s. Jackie Chan has maybe 15 minutes, while Yuen Biao has less than 2.

[6/10]


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 06/29/2002
Summary: Lucky Stars

Well, although I loved most of the Lucky Stars films, I happened to watch this one again recently (I still can't get enough of these films!) and enjoyed it so much more than what I last rated it, and considering the garbage that has been coming out recently, films like this should be seen by more people, they're not bad at all, even if they are 20 years old.

New Rating [4/5]

--------------------------------------
13/01/02

Another Lucky Stars comedy, with Sammo & Jackie. Quite funny.

Rating: 3/5

(This rating is based on the year & genre, so don't think it's based as a comparison on new releases etc.)


Reviewed by: MasterArts
Date: 03/06/2002
Summary: Very funny!!!

The funniest chinese movie I seen to date. Not much martial arts here for the enthusiast. But this is just a comedy. A damn good one at that. The english dub is a lot more funny than the subtitle.


Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 05/05/2001
Summary: Pretty good

This movie is more comedy than anything else!! Jackie and his 2 brothers are in this but Jackie plays a more support cast!! It's one of those movies where Jackie is in half the movie and the other half is comedy with Sammo!! Not bad!!

7/10

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: s****
Date: 01/26/2001
Summary: Goddamnit, this movie annoyed me

I am a Jackie Chan fan (who isn't?), and I am a Samo Hung fan (likewise), but I owed my brain an long apology after this one. The plot has been summarized very well by the other reviewers here, so I will only answer a few of the questions I feel might need to be addressed: No, it's not funny. No, not even a little. Yes, you will wish you had never been born about halfway through this movie when you realize you're going to force yourself to finish it just in case there's a good fight scene or stunt at the end. No, there isn't. Trust me.

Maybe I have a hard time getting in the spirit of these Lucky Stars movies. I enjoyed Wheels on Meals immensely, which is not a Lucky Stars film but is of a similar genre. But this and My Lucky Stars have taught me just how painful a film starring and directed by Samo Hung can really be. There is hardly any action in these movies at all, and what action there is looks more backyard wrestling choreography than any kind of martial art. The jokes are painful and take forever to reach their inevitable punchlines.

If, for some reason, you are determined to endure this film, it would be best enjoyed after consuming certain beverages. I suggest laudanum.


Reviewed by: ElectraWoman
Date: 10/29/2000
Summary: 7.5/10-Quite amusing

A pretty funny film from Sammo Hung. Richard Ng is brilliant in a scene where he's walking around the house naked, thinking he's invisible. What really annoyed me, however, was Jackie Chan's role as the rogue cop. He had little to do with the storyline, and I feel that the only reason he was there was so that he, and the film, can get some publicity. And his stunts! My God, how fast were those cars going during that highway chase? 10km/hr?

But anyways. This is a very enjoyable, fee-good buddy film, with nice performances from everyone (except John Sham, who I find quite annoying). Sit back and enjoy :) Oh, and when the main song is playing, remember to press the mute button.


Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

They try to go straight. They really do. The five met inprison doing time for various misdeeds and became friends. They resolved to stay clean from then on. On their release, they form a cleaning company and settle down to earn an honest living. It isn't their fault that one of the buildings they are hired to clean is the headquarters of a ruthless gang of counterfeiters. It isn't their fault that the set of fake printing plates turns up in their van. And it isn't their fault that they get mixed up in a war over the plates between two rival gangs and just about every law enforcement organization in Hong Kong. But it sure is hard to explain.

[Reviewed by Rim Films Catalog]


Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

When a group of former prisoners set up a cleaning company, they inadvertently come into conflict with a counterfeiting gang who have been using one of the buildings they were hired to clean.

(2/5)



[Reviewed by Elliot's Guide to Films on Video]