Three action packed comedy classics come to Blu-ray for the first in the UK from brand new 4K & 2K restorations! The original trilogy of Lucky Stars films were massively successful both in Hong Kong and internationally.
Featuring star-studded ensemble casts including Sammo Hung (also directing), Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao, and appearances from Richard Ng, Andy Lau, Rosamund Kwan, Moon Lee, Dick Wei, James Tien and many more! OUT MARCH 22, order now from Eureka Entertainment & Amazon!
The director and lead actor in all three films is the legendary Sammo Hung. In a career spanning six decades, he has worked with some of the best in the business, from Bruce Lee to Jackie Chan. His work as a performer, choreographer and director helped to reshape and evolve modern screen fighting action as we know it. For the Lucky Stars films, Sammo assembled a virtual “who’s who” of some of the best talent in the Hong Kong film industry. Many of the stars appear in all three films, sometimes playing different characters.
The main cast includes Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao, with the Lucky Stars themselves comprising of Richard Ng (Wheels on Meals“, “Yes Madam“, “Millionaires Express“, “Magnificent Warriors“, “Miracles“, “Detective Dee and The Mystery of the Phantom Flame“, “Rigor Mortis“, “Skiptrace“, “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life”), John Shum “Pedicab Driver”, “Wheels on Meals”, “Yes Madam/ Police Assassins”, “Curry & Pepper”), Charlie Chin (“Pom Pom”, “Eastern Condors”, “Ghost Punting”), Stanley Fung (“Owl vs Bumbo”, “The Inspector Wears Skirts”, “Tai Chi 0”, “Tai Chi Hero”), and Eric Tsang (“Millionaires Express”, “Gen-X Cops”, “The Accidental Spy”, “Three”, “Infernal Affairs”, “Divergence”, “Bodyguards and Assassins”, “Ip Man: The Final Fight”, “Skiptrace”, “Kung Fu Yoga”).
Popular Taiwanese actress Sibelle Hu appears in the second and third films as police office “Barbara Wu”, a role that lead to the successful spin-off series of “The Inspector Wears Skirts” action films.
Appearing throughout in various roles are familiar stars including James Tien (“The Big Boss”, “Fist of Fury”, “Game of Death”, “The Fearless Hyena”, “Righting Wrongs”, ”Eastern Condors”, “Dragons Forever”, “Blonde Fury”, “Police Assassins/ Yes Madam”), Dick Wei (“The Prodigal Son“, “Project A“, “Yes Madam/Police Assassins“, “Millionaires Express“, “Eastern Condors“, “Dragons Forever” and “Pedicab Driver“), Lau Kar-Wing (“Odd Couple”, “Legendary Weapons of China”, “Dirty Tiger, Crazy Frog”, “Knockabout“, “Eight Diagram Pole Fighter“, “Tiger on the Beat“, “Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon“) and Lam Ching-Ying (“The Prodigal Son”, “Mr Vampire”, “Magnificent Butcher”, “Painted Faces”).
Making guest appearances in the third film are screen-fighting legends Richard Norton (“Millionaires Express“, “Magic Crystal”, “City Hunter”, “China O’Brien”), Chung Fat (“Warriors Two“, “The Prodigal Son”, “Magnificent Butcher”, “Encounters of the Spooky Kind”, “Yes Madam/Police Assassins”, “She Shoots Straight”) and Yasuaki Kurata (“Legend of a Fighter”, “Millionaires Express“, “Eastern Condors“, “Fist of Legend“, “The Brink“, “God of War“).
Also making notable appearances in the various instalments are Cecilia Yip, Moon Lee, Andy Lau, Wu Ma, Cherie Chung, Philip Chan, Michiko Nishiwaki, Bolo Yeung, Michael Miu, Rosamund Kwan, Kara Hui, Michelle Yeoh and many familiar faces from the Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan stunt teams.
Winners and Sinners (1983)
Five former prisoners form a cleaning company and endeavour to keep clear of crime, but inadvertently find themselves in the middle of a counterfeit money scheme, and now the Triads and the police are out to get them!
My Lucky Stars (1985)
The Lucky Stars are sent to Japan to help the police apprehend a gang of dangerous criminals and a corrupt cop. Chaos ensues with our heroes storming an amusement park to face off with the villainous gang.
Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars (1985)
The Lucky Stars wreak havoc in a holiday paradise having been tasked with looking after a beautiful witness who has information about a dangerous crime syndicate. In between chasing after the young lady, our heroes must survive and eventually face the syndicate’s deadly assassins.
Although being very much first and foremost bawdy comedy films, there is no denying that each movie features some of the best Hong Kong action sequences of the eighties “Golden Era”.
Winners and Sinners
The comedy chaos opens with Sammo Hung as a hapless burglar whose bungled escape puts him straight into police custody!
Each character is subsequently introduced in their own comic set up. Although played for laughs, it’s an entertaining way to introduce the various personalities.
Action highlights include Sammo and Jackie taking on some thugs in a food court, Yuen Biao’s high-kicking introduction, a brawl at a dinner party, and an awesome warehouse fight led by Sammo and featuring some of the best screen fighters in the business.
A standout sequence is an incredibly dangerous high-speed car chase featuring Jackie Chan on roller skates. Even though he is occasionally doubled, it is another example of the death-defying lengths Chan goes to in the name of entertainment.
A highlight in this film’s extra features is a TV appearance with the stars of the movie performing song and dance numbers. Their Cantonese rendition of “Putting on the Ritz” is the most entertaining version I have seen since Mel Brooks’ classic comedy “Young Frankenstein”!
My Lucky Stars
Opening in Tokyo with Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao pursuing Lam Chin Ying and Lau Kar Wing, there are some insane car stunts before we get down to the physical stuff in an amusement park.
Jackie does some incredible stunt work climbing up a Ferris wheel before our heroes indulge in some slickly choreographed fights.
Back in Hong Kong, as with the first film, each character is introduced in a comedic situation that reveals their personality.
When Sammo eventually teams up with Jackie they are joined by Sibelle Hu in an excellent fight with a gang of balaclava-wearing assassins.
The finale returns to the amusement park, starting with a sinister sequence as Jackie Chan makes his way through a creepy Japanese haunted house. Meanwhile the Lucky Stars fight their way free of the mobsters.
The final fight is packed with individual gems. Jackie fights Dick Wei, Sibelle Hu fights Michiko Nishiwaki, Sammo fights Lau Kar Wing, and Yuen Biao fights Lam Chin Ying. Every fight consists of Sammo’s trademark full-contact hits and falls and is another classic to add to his dazzling CV.
Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars
As usual, the Lucky Stars are introduced with various visual gags and set ups.
Richard Ng once again takes the lion’s share of the laughs in a new quest for supernatural powers.
Matters take a dark turn however as villains Chung Fat, Yasuaki Kurata and Richard Norton enter the fray as deadly parasailing assassins. This leads to Sammo and our heroes having to fight off a gang of lethal machete-swinging, ladyboys!
Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao and a guest-starring Andy Lau have a barnstorming introduction as they interrupt a gang of criminals led by Dick Wei, Philip Ko and Lau Kar Wing in a warehouse raid.
There are some astonishing elements featured in the choreography. Yuen Biao in particular, pulls off a stunning sequence of a side somersault into a whirlwind kick to one leg and spinning back kick, all in one shot. It’s an all-time classic eighties Hong Kong fight scene, setting the action bar particularly high.
When Jackie eventually encounters Richard Norton the full-on frantic fight that ensues is a great example of why Norton had such a glittering career in Hong Kong action films.
Not only does he have that particular rhythm that is unique to the genre, he looks great delivering the physical and the acting beats.
Michelle Yeoh makes a great little cameo appearance as a judo teacher, who the Lucky Stars wrestle with in their usual inimitable style.
The hapless heroes inevitably end up embroiled in the villain’s caper, teaming up with Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao for a rip-roaring finale.
It’s a truly great fight scene from the Three Dragons that is enhanced by them having truly great foils in Richard Norton, Chung Fat and Yasuaki Kurata.
The way Chan flips over, onto and off the surrounding furniture as he evades Kurata and his Sai is incredible. Yuen Biao is in his usual high-kicking acrobatic form, but looks especially powerful and muscular as he gives Chung Fat a sound beating. The highlight though is Sammo using a pair of tennis rackets as weapons!
These films are a real who’s who of some of Hong Kong’s most popular stars. Aside from the main cast, fans will recognise stunt players and actors from the 1970’s to the present popping up every few minutes.
Each instalment features some amazing stand-out stunts and fights, that are still referenced to this day. This is also a rare trilogy in which each subsequent film improves on the last.
If you are offended by the humour in a Carry On film or Benny Hill’s brand of comedy, you really aren’t going to get on with these films.
A lot of the sexist comic situations really have dated badly. The biggest problem with all three films is that if you don’t enjoy the comic scenes, they do fill large gaps between the exemplary action sequences.
Even so, the main cast can still raise lots of laughs with their crazy personalities and slapstick comic timing. Which is handy, as these films fall more into the “comedy” category than they do the “action” one.
When we are treated to the action, what a treat it is! The third film, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars” for me, strikes the best balance between the broad humour and the action, and arguably features the best fight choreography of the trilogy.
Extra features on Eureka’s Blu-rays include extended and international cuts, new and restored original audio options, audio commentaries by Asian film expert Frank Djeng, interviews with the various stars, behind-the-scenes featurettes on all three films originally produced for their Japanese releases, along with outtakes and NG (“No Good!”) shots for all three films.
The first limited edition print run is also packaged with an excellent booklet featuring essays on each film from James Oliver.
Fans of these classic movies really are being treated over and over again with a constant stream of fantastic Blu-ray releases. The Lucky Stars Trilogy will definitely make another exceptional addition to your collection!
- Sammo Hung got the idea for the “Winners and Sinners” characters from an old TV show he had seen in Japan, in which a group of police officers from different backgrounds worked together, each displaying their own particular skills. By giving the characters humorous and disparate backgrounds, he hoped to make an entertaining film.
- The film’s Chinese title, “Five Lucky Stars” was chosen as it was evocative of the Seven Little Fortunes (aka “The Lucky Seven”). The Seven Little Fortunes was the name of the performance troupe that included Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao.
- “Winners and Sinners” won Best Action Choreography at the 3rd Hong Kong Film Awards.
- Martial arts movie legend, Bolo Yeung makes a cameo appearance in “My Lucky Stars”.
- “My Lucky Stars” was the first Hong Kong film to surpass HK$30m at the box office.
- “My Lucky Stars” was nominated for Best Action at the Hong Kong Film Awards. It was beaten by Jackie Chan’s “Police Story”.
- In an interview, Michiko Nishiwaki said that the hardest thing for her to do in “My Lucky Stars” was her fall after she is knocked out by a single punch from Sammo Hung. Since she had to fall comically backward completely straight and stiff she had no way to cushion parts of her body, especially her head, from the fall.
- Jackie Chan injured his vertebrae and pelvis during the shooting of “Police Story”, explaining why he is doubled quite extensively in some of his fight scenes and for some stunts in “Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars”.
- Originally, Jackie’s fight with Richard Norton was supposed to be the final fight in the movie. Due to Jackie’s injury, Sammo Hung was swapped in to take over fighting duties with Richard. This is also why he’s doubled by both Chin Kar-lok and Chow Gam-kong for parts of the car-to-foot chase with Norton about an hour into the film.
- “Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars” marked Richard Norton’s debut in a Hong Kong action film. In his fight with Sammo Hung, Norton’s deadpan delivery of the line “Painful?” drew such a great response from audiences that, much like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “I’ll be back”, it became a catchphrase for his subsequent films!