The three Peking Opera brothers star in another of their classic group of movies. The second in the Lucky Stars franchise after Winners and Sinners. Filled with hefty doses of gags, genuinely slapstick action and a comedic supporting cast. Here we examine just how good this ensemble cast really is!
There is a large cast comprising of Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao and Eric Tsang appears as Roundhead. Charlie Chin stars as professional thief, Herb. Richard Ng plays local loony, Sandy. Stanley Fung is the opportunist Rawhide and Sibelle Hu plays Poison Ivy. Lam Ching-ying of The Prodigal Son fame also co-stars. Bolo Yeung makes an appearance, along with James Tien.
No messing about here, a busy start to the movie! Police officers, Muscles (Jackie Chan) and Ricky (Yuen Biao), are chasing wanted men on the run. Here, a foot race leads to a car chase, ninjas and fast, furious action! A stimulating start…
Next we meet the rest of the characters one by one. Kidstuff is a prisoner who is having a lucky day, after he is mysteriously released early from jail. On his way to freedom he stops to borrow some wheels, only to be caught up in a police sting that was designed especially for him. It seems a way out of trouble is on the cards, but only if it’s a favour for a favour. With no choice, Kidstuff looks to track down his old pals to aid him in his mission. Herb is a smooth talking smash and grab jewel thief. When a heist goes awkward, Kidstuff appears out of nowhere to save the day. Rawhide the opportunist thief -getting himself into a sticky situation- is saved by his friends. Lucky escape! Sandy is a mental case, he spends his time in a secure unit, trying to perfect telekinesis with comedic consequences! For me he is the funniest out of the friends. Roundhead is the simpleton of all the friends. Unlike them though, he actually has a real job. Being simple-minded and a short man, he wants to impress the gang and will do anything he is told to prove his worthiness!
Kidstuff bands his friends together and heads to a location given to him by the policeman who released him. When they arrive they make themselves at home, comically dispersing around the house. As they do this, Kidstuff comes across the police man who freed him from jail! This man, Walter Tsao, tells Kidstuff that he is no longer a policeman, but rather the head of a special branch. Walter then tells the group to switch on the TV where they are all wanted in connection for a robbery they didn’t commit! Now, the whole group has been blackmailed by the superintendent’s wishes. Should they wish to avoid jail, they must comply. In the news broadcast, another accomplice was named, one that none of our crew had ever heard of. Conveniently she shows up at the door to reveal that she is Superintendent Walter’s assistant. The plot thickens…! Just what is it that this motley crew have have in store for themselves? Time will reveal all…!
The first instance of fighting is right at the start of the movie after an ‘a pied’ and car chase. Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao heroically dive down a flight of stairs to catch their wanted men. Reckless, but ever-so-cool leaps! All of a sudden, ninjas form a defensive line to take turns in attacking our heroes. The action is rapid, and just zips! This type of fighting is reminiscent of Police Story, with Yuen Biao delivering a mighty jumping kick to a ninja. Jackie gets stuck in too and throws in a wrestling high-cross body block to one of his attackers! Don’t see this very often in a martial arts movie!
The second action scene is where Kidstuff, Poison Ivy and Muscles are all involved in a tight spaced confrontation. High octane fighting with swords, broken glass, even a hot kettle, are all here in a short but heart pumping scene -sizzling and memorable scenes! Can’t stress enough how Sammo Hung never stops amazing me as a big guy that can move like any of the ninjas on display here! I think though, Jackie Chan is by far the best fighter and can move like a monkey!
The final showdown starts with Jackie Chan dressed up in a theme park costume. As he starts to proceed into the ghost train ride, he is attacked by not one, but by two men with swords! This is a short and sharp battle with Jackie displaying comedic elements as well as superb sword fighting ability. As he continues, he arms himself with a good combo of sword and six-shooter pistol. Here he is attacked from all angles in a corridor, which feels rather claustrophobic and tense. Taking care of this situation, he proceeds into an area filled with snow. Another ninja appears and Muscles cleverly distracts him before taking him-out with a well placed drop-kick. Now, ninjas are everywhere, Muscles must out-jump, flip and move his opponent, which he does very well, ending with the use of a bark stick! Muscles must now get past one of the bodyguards in the building he’s entered. Kidstuff now gets involved, with aggressively, hard blows decimating all who stand in his way! Sammo is so engaging to watch, what a performer! Everyone now gets involved, Sandy being my favourite, what a funny character! During this fight we see Poison Ivy versus an opponent who is visually sensational! This is a great fight, which leaves her having to get Kidstuff to fight her battle in hilarious fashion –in my view, one of the funniest parts of the whole film!
Muscles, still battling the bodyguard from before finally gets the upper hand with an immense kick that sends him flying off the upper floor down to the ground! Lastly Yuen Biao gets his hands on his wanted man then explosive action which Muscles joins in on, before Kidstuff wraps up the party! -Vibrant and colourful movie –offering from start to finish!
I have to say without hesitation, that this is a thoroughly enjoyable movie. Replete with clever and ridiculous humour (that just makes you LOL!) and grippingly spectacular action. This is truly a Hong Kong classic. Can its sequel surpass this? Stay tuned as we probe Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars next time…!
- Did you know that Yuen Biao did a lot of the stunt-double fighting in the movie?
- Many of the stuntmen received real injuries.
- It was not uncommon for up to 100 takes to be done for one fight scene!
Film Rating: 8/10
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It’s so good to see old-school actors like Lau Kar Wing in the film – just goes to show how well these actors can adapt to modern day fight choreography. Also loved how the action parodies traditional kung fu styles with some characters using some animal styles like Snake (Richard Ng) and Crane (Charlie Chin).