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The Asian ApertureWinners and Sinners (1983)
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, March 17, 2013    Share

Take the slapstick antics of the Three Stooges combined with laugh out loud sight gags and apply witty dialogue and youíll have the ingredients that make this movie an 80ís comedy classic.

Director Sammo Hung has created a hilarious masterpiece that showcases several Hong Kong comedians who do their best to trip each other up; all in good fun of course. This is the story of how the 5 Lucky Stars meet up and start the Five Stars Cleaning Company. One by one each character is introduced like John Shum, wearing glasses and sporting bushy hair as Curly the political activist who is rallying citizens to legalize prostitution. Sammo Hung is Teapot who everyone bullies. Then you have Exhaust Pipe, played by Richard Ng, who pretends to wash random cars but actually steals parts. Charlie Chin is Vaseline, the smooth talking ladyís man who steals expensive watches at the mall. Stanley Fung is Ranks, the groupís wisecracking leader. Finally, the beautiful Cherie Chung, who you will easily recognize from countless 80ís Hong Kong movies, as Curlyís sister, who cooks up tasty meals and is the groupís love interest. One of the funniest scenes in Winners and Sinners is when the gang is out one night at a carnival, suave Vaseline pays off the other guys just so he can be alone with Cherie, which doesnít really work out the way he intends.

Jackie Chan appears in Winners and Sinners as a cop who keeps screwing up on the job. Chan performs some jaw dropping stunt work involving roller skates and a busy highway and is only in two short fights. All the scenes with Chan are great however, he is a minor character and Winners and Sinners is not really a Jackie Chan movie. It is a showcase for Sammo Hung and his comic buddies.

The Five Lucky Stars are introduced to each other inside a jail cell and shortly afterwards all are released. Another man is also released; James Tien who played in countless Shaw Brothers movies and later switched to Golden Harvest and appeared in several Bruce Lee movies. Tien and Lee first appeared in The Big Boss and his plays Bruceís cousin who shows him around town and gets him a job at the ice factory. In Winners and Sinners, James Tien is Jack Tarr, a ruthless crime boss with a beautiful daughter. He is treated like royalty by his gang. Tarr is counterfeiting US hundred dollars bills and eventually the Five Lucky Stars will be tied into it, along with police officer Jackie Chan.

Winners and Sinners is definitely one of the funniest Hong Kong comedies I have seen. It is typical of an 80ís movie with characters with cute nicknames, i.e. Revenge of the Nerds, and the randomly inserted music video, thanks to MTV. This is the part of the movie where the actors will silently engage in some activity with sight gags as a song is played. The main theme songís melody is so catchy that UK singer, Mika, stole it for Lollipop. However, it stands apart from American 80ís comedy movies because it has a secret weapon, Kung Fu. I canít remember the last time I was this entertained by a low budget movie with well written jokes.

Winners and Sinners was a box office smash in native Hong Kong and spawned a series of Lucky Star movies. Only the first three are directed by Sammo Hung and those are the best ones. Winners and Sinners is followed by a sequel, My Lucky Stars (1985) and Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star (1985.) The later films were directed by Eric Tsang and are not as strong or funny.

This is a very entertaining movie that deserves to be seen by everyone who loves to laugh.

Highly Recommended

5 out of 5 Stars (5 Lucky Stars? Bad joke intended, sorry had to be done.)

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2013 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2013 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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