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福星高照 (1985)
My Lucky Stars


Reviewed by: Masterofoneinchpunch
Date: 02/04/2009
Summary: Do not dry your hands on the fax paper

Some films seem destined to have sequels. This is especially true if you have a multitude of popular stars that do not have to contribute to the whole film (and if one does not work out replace him), a boilerplate formula and financial success on the first movie. In fact, My Lucky Stars (1985) was more of a hit in HK than its predecessor Winners and Sinners (1983) with the original raking in 22M HK dollars and the sequel 30.7M HK. While I have grown in appreciation of the first film, I have also grown a little less interested in the first sequel though a few segments transcend above the mostly mediocre material. When watching this film it is good to think of this as an ensemble piece not a Jackie Chan or a Sammo Hung film (though Sammo did direct this in his most prolific period and after the success of The Own and Dumbo (1984)). That frame of mind might help in enjoying this uneven picture more.

In the beautiful locale of Japan, Muscles (Jackie Chan) is chasing a corrupt Hong Kong cop (Lam Ching Ying: Mr Vampire) though an amusement park with the help of Ricky (Yuen Biao: Prodigal Son in an extended cameo compared to Winners and Sinners) until Ricky gets whisked away by a band of ninjas. This nice little 11 minute sequence of Jackie works well with the fight choreography and shows some nice jump stunts by Jackie. I am not sure of Sammo's use of slow motion in the beginning though. It just seems timed poorly (I have sensed this problem in a few of his movies like Mr. Nice Guy). There is also a strange scene where Muscles gets stopped by tourists to take a picture. If you were chasing a crook would you let yourself be stopped by tourists?

Jackie needs help to find his partner. The help will have to come in the form of five trusted crooks since the cops could be spotted by the former HK officer. The ringleader is Sammo (once again having a horrific haircut) and he (after a stint in jail) has to recruit the old gang: Rawhide (Stanley Fung: The Owl And Dumbo), Sandy (Richard Ng: Shanghai Express), Herb (Charlie Chin) and Round Head (Eric Tsang who is in this movie instead of John Shum from the first film). They will be lead by a legitimate police officer Inspector Woo (Sibelle Hu playing basically the same foil role as Cherie Chung did in the first – I did say this was a boilerplate formulaic movie) who is consistently being hit on by the males (during a very tiring six minute gag) while having to take them to Japan.

The whole second act of the film and the majority of the movie are the comedic sequences of Sammo getting the gang together, meeting the female assistant and going to Japan. While some of it can be funny (Richard Ng is almost always hilarious and those damn curly haired bus drivers), some of it is just strange like the Eric Tsang sequence of playing "fly" poker and some jokes just fill like filler. And there is that Bolo Yeung Sze cameo.

When the third act starts with the appearance of Jackie Chan the pace of the movie goes from stagnant to ludicrous speed (interesting how the comedy segments were less fun than the action). Without giving too much away the haunted house fight segment with Jackie Chan going through the maze like corridors is quite good and the most talked about aspect of this film is the Japanese villainess played by female bodybuilder Nishiwaki Michiko in her first Hong Kong role (she did not speak Cantonese at the time) and her fight with Sibelle Hu. Her fight introduction (disrobes her kimono and then flexes) has also been mentioned in many male-written reviews. There are other fights with Lam Ching Ying and Lau Kar Wing that are quite good if a bit short. Also check out that nasty fall toward the end – breaking bodies for our entertainment.

Fans of action films will find something to like in this movie. While it is quite uneven there are worthy scenes (especially the end and beginning) to watch several times. Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung fanatics will, of course, have to watch this, but on multiple viewings will probably only want to watch the first and third act. If you have not seen Winners and Sinners then see that film first. The comedy aspects did not work as well for me as the first movie and the characters seemed less in depth. Richard Ng was underused and that is enough to make me and anyone angry.

I have the uncut R1 Fortune Star/Fox release which has a good transfer but no extras except trailers. The big minuses are the dubtitles and no original mono. The dubtitles are quite atrocious because of the amount of narration (voice over) on the English dub causing a huge amount of phantom subtitles if you listen to the Cantonese track (no one speaks but the words are there) and at least one questionable in taste Japanese imitation. Also since a lot of the humor is verbal, a lot is lost in translation. Here is another example of a Hong Kong R1 release that does not match the Hong Kong Legends R2 release for extras including a Bey Logan commentary (unless you would prefer a scholar like Stephen Teo doing your commentary).

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Chungking_Cash
Date: 12/13/2008

Using "Winners and Sinners" (1983) as a dress rehearsal Sammo Hung's "My Lucky Stars" premiered two years later under the Golden Harvest banner to compete against the runaway success of Cinema City's madcap spy comedy "Aces Go Places" (1982) and its largely successful sequels.

As one might already assume Sammo (who wrote, directs, and stars) replaces the campy gadgetry of the "Aces Go Places" series with highly competitive martial arts choreography (former Japanese body builder Michiko Nishiwaki makes her debut here; Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao show up in extended cameos).

Following suit with the competition "My Lucky Stars" contains much of the same obnoxious humor that ruled the domestic market in the early '80s though the collective styling of Sammo Hung, Stanley Fung, Richard Ng, Charlie Chin, Eric Tsang and gluten for punishment Sibelle Hui hit more often than "Aces" Samuel Hui, Karl Maka, and gluten for punishment Sylvia Chang.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: steve_cole1
Date: 05/08/2007
Summary: fast forward to the fights

If you have to watch this then watch it in full then next time fast forward to the action because little as there is is quality the rest of the film is rubbish

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: cal42
Date: 05/03/2006

Synopsis: The Lucky Stars go to Japan. Probably because they’re popular there.

Even though 1985 was probably the busiest year for Chan, he still managed to do a surprising amount for this film. Easily the best of the lot if you’re a Chan fan who doesn’t care too much for all the Lucky Stars stuff . He gets a good bit at the start of the movie (along with Yuen Biao - this time in a more prominent role), a bit in the middle, and an entertaining fight in a funhouse that has some lethal surprises. Other than that, though, it’s still a Lucky Stars film.

The guys try again to molest the woman (a different trick is used in every Lucky Stars movie – and it always ends in disaster for the hapless goons). While most regard these devices as being sexist at best, I offer here a different perspective, hitherto unvoiced by anyone who’s ever reviewed these movies. The guys are always shown as leering, idiotic wretches, while the women are always dignified (if a little gullible). Therefore, it seems to me that the male sex gets the rough deal most of the time. But enough of gender politics: is it funny? The answer is: not really, no.

So to summarize: A few good gags, a few good fights, and the best entry in the whole Lucky Stars series. And if you get the subtitled print, there’s a scene involving a gormless gang of Chu-Chow speakers, which is funny in a mildly xenophobic way.
Score: 7/10

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 10/22/2005
Summary: Could have been a contender

This is an action comedy with good but not really outstanding fight scenes and humorous scenes that are occasionally funny. Since the cast list is stocked top to bottom with veteran comic actors who are also accomplished scene stealers it is surprising that it works as well as it does. There are at least two outstanding sequences. The first is the initial chase through the Japanese amusement park with Hong Kong police officers Jackie Chan and Yeun Biao trying to capture two crooked cops who have stolen millions in diamonds and fled to Tokyo. The stunts include a hurried descent from the top of a Ferris wheel by both Chan and Biao and a well staged fight between them and a gang of sword wielding Ninjas—the Ninjas appear out of nowhere in the middle of the park, as is their custom. The final scene also takes place in the amusement park where the Lucky Stars and Sibelle Hu, their newly acquired comrade and foil, unite with former friend Chan to release Biao—he had been kidnapped by the Ninjas—and capture the dishonest cops.

Between the extended action scenes, the Lucky Stars are reunited and convinced/forced/tricked into helping Jackie in Tokyo. Their introduction into the movie and the motivation of their presence is done very simply and economically. Chan tells his superior (using the 1985 HK equivalent of a Bat Phone) that the bad guy will recognize HK cops so he needs his old friends from the orphanage. Sammo Hung is sprung from prison by a police superintendent and told to gather the old gang. Since they are currently engaged in such high risk pursuits as robbing jewelry stores using explosives and armed robbery Sammo doesn’t have to try that hard to convince them to sign on—until they discover they will be working for the police. As a point of thieves’ honor they are determined to stay on their chosen side of the law. But when Sibelle Hu is introduced as the police officer assigned to keep an eye on them the path of righteousness looks a lot better—or at least prettier.

The story also shifts gears here with an almost audible thunk as it goes from a well put together action picture with a thick overlay of comedy to a very juvenile sex farce that is neither sexy nor funny. Sibelle Hu puts up with the mugging, carousing and constant playing to the camera of her co-stars but it is almost a relief when her character lands a solid kick to Sammo’s chest in an attempt to restore some type of narrative order to what has become a loosely connected series of scenes involving grown men acting as if they were adolescents just discovering the difference between boys and girls. There are a couple of decent scenes during the otherwise interminable wait between the action pieces. One is when the Lucky Stars decide which of them gets to sleep in a bed in a Tokyo hotel the night they arrive. We expect a fight—or at least a shoving match—to break out when one of them says “Lets settle this the way we used to in the orphanage.” Instead they sing a silly song about being hit with a chamber pot which ends with a game of rock, scissors, paper, with Sammo, the winner, getting the bed. The other is in a restaurant when the guys try to order breakfast from a Japanese waiter who doesn’t speak Cantonese. It is a very well paced and acted scene with a funny ending with each of the Sammo-less Stars given the chance to mime the contents of the meal they want. Most of the rest of it, though, especially when the Stars act like masked robbers so that each of them can be “captured” and tied up with Sibelle, is very much in the “is it over yet” category.

Jackie is Jackie during the action sequences using most of his patented moves—slipping under, over or just beyond sword thrusts, jumping on, under and over tables and forcing even the most seasoned Ninja killers to pause while he does a double take before hitting them with an elbow. He is full of energy and guile. Sammo does his Fat Dragon act to perfection with whirling kicks and quick punches. Yeun Biao seems to be trying to make up for his very limited screen time by filing the time and space he has with terrific martial arts moves. He is given a lot to do in a few minutes and does it beautifully, showing his superb athleticism, timing and grace. The introduction of Japanese body builder Michiko Nishiwaki during the ultimate stand off is a touch of genius. She goes from crooked croupier to practiced killer simply by doffing her robes. She hits quite a few poses that are more appropriate on stage at a contest than in hand to hand combat but they are structurally the same as Sibelle’s dropping into the basic two fists cocked Kung Fu stance between flurries of action. The fight between the two of them is the only part of the action that was disappointing—a chance for a brutal showdown was missed, although it did end with in a funny way and with a terrific fall by Michiko.

Not really recommended.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 06/18/2005
Summary: Great stunt work, mediocre movie

Muscles (Jackie Chan) and Ricky (Yuen Biao) are undercover agents whose fight in an amusement park leads to Ricky being kidnapped by a group of Japanese criminals. To help get his partner back, Muscles is allowed to gather a group of his old friends (most of them in jail) to travel to Japan to apprehend the gang and their leader, a corrupt cop (Lam Ching Ying). The childhood friends Kidstuff (Sammo Hung), Sandy (Richard Ng), Roundhead (Eric Tsang), Herb (Charlie Chin) and Rawhide (Stanley Fung) fly off to Japan under the supervision of Miss Woo (Sibelle Hu), whom they all want to get into bed as soon as possible. The Lucky Stars manage to find the gang, but after they are captured, Muscles comes to Japan to bail them out.

The second movie in the "Five Lucky Stars" comedy series, My Lucky Stars has some great action and fight scenes, but they come in the first 10 minutes and last 15 minutes of the film. The middle hour and change is filled with very sophmoric humor and gags that run too long. Chan and Biao appear very briefly and add a huge spark to the film, but it is for the most part too little too late. There is a fantastic fight at the end involving a Japanese woman bodybuilder (Michiko Nishiwaki) and Miss Woo, that is finished by Sammo in typical jaw-dropping fashion. This movie is worth seeing for some of the legendary Jackie Chan stunts and some exciting fight scenes, but the weak comedy makes it a little tediious to sit through.

6/10

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Kyashan
Date: 04/12/2003
Summary: Good

Another good and funny movie with Jakie Chan and Sammo Hung.
Good action and sometime funny scenes.
I liked this movie like all martial art movie starring with Jackie Chan.
Nice for an 80ies movie

6.75/10


Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 01/12/2002
Summary: Not bad

Lucky Stars get into their usual laughs and misfits and ends up pretty good. Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung, and I think Yuen Biao too had some action scenes too, but Richard Ng and Stanley Fung are the real stars in this.

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: MrBooth
Date: 05/27/2001
Summary: Bad comedy

MY LUCKY STARS - Like WINNERS & SINNERS, advertising this as a three brothers movie is a con. Jackie appears for about 15 minutes total, and Yuen Biao is in it for about 2 minutes. Those bits are the good bits though. The rest is pretty dumb comedy from Samo, Eric Tsang and a few of their cohorts. Much of it is retread ground, and some of the comedy is quite distasteful (their treatment of Sibelle Hu). Not really recommended.

Reviewer Score: 3

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

A HALF movie where half action with Jackie and Yuen Biao and comedy with Sammo and the rest of the Lucky Star gang!! I won't say much since there are many reviews but worth watch for the laughs and action!!

8/10

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: s****
Date: 01/26/2001

Am I missing something, or was Yuen Biao only in this movie for about two seconds? More like a cameo. Admittedly, the best two seconds of the film, but hardly worth enduring the other ninety minutes for. At any rate, yes, I HATED this film, but as the other reviewers point out, if you enjoy the slow-paced antics of the slow-witted Lucky Stars gang, I'm sure you'll find this amusing. There's no accounting for taste when it comes to goofy humor. Oh, and I thought the fight scenes (what little there were) were lousy, too.


Reviewed by: hokazak
Date: 12/09/1999

Original entry in the "Lucky Stars" series of comedies (with an all-star cast) about a group of misfits who grew up together in the same orphanage with each other and future cop Jackie Chan. They grow up to be good-hearted, semi-bungling thieves who often end up in some combination of being on the run and helping Chan to catch the real "bad" bad guys. Notable for the first appearance of Michiko Nishiwaki (including a fight scene with Sibelle Hu) in an HK movie. Some great action/fight sequences, featuring director Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, and Jackie Chan, but they are too few and far between, unless you happen to really enjoy these films' particular brand of humor.


Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Muscles(Jackie) and Ricky(Biao) are cops who are out to catch a bent cop who could lead them to a major criminal in Japan. Ricky is captured and Muscles goes into hiding. Their inspector recruits the help of Fastbuck(Samo) and he puts together the old orphanage gang, a bunch of small time criminals who aren't very tough because they know very little kung fu. They are required to go undercover and help their ex friend Muscles catch the notorious criminal. A fast paced action comedy with many hilarious situations and although the emphasis is not Jackie it still contains many good fight scenes.

(7/10)



[Reviewed by Dave Warner]


Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

Another Jackie Chan blend of comedy and martial arts action.This one is a police thriller in which he plays an undercover cop assigned to capture a notorious criminal.

(3/5)



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


Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

Disappointing Jackie Chan crime comedy overloads on pratfalls and truly wretched jokes.

(1.5/4)



[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 3