AKA Five Lucky Stars
Starring Sammo Hung, Richard Ng, Stanley Fung Sui-Fan, John Shum Kin-Fun, Charlie Chin Chiang-Lin, Cherie Chung Cho-Hung, Jackie Chan, Cecilia Yip Tung, James Tin Jun, Pat Ha Man-Jik, Tai Bo, Lam Ching-Ying, John Cheung Ng-Long, Fung Hak-On, Yuen Biao
Directed by Sammo Hung
Expectations: High. Can’t remember if I ever saw this one or not.
Winners and Sinners is a film that could easily be disappointing for someone expecting a true Jackie/Sammo movie like their later collaborations. This is much more of an ensemble movie, and Jackie is but a minor supporting character that happens to have a couple of outstanding action sequences. But this isn’t cause for alarm; Winners and Sinners is a clear winner of a movie.
Winners and Sinners isn’t the type of movie where each moment adheres to a strict plot, instead it’s more concerned with being as funny and engaging as possible. The film opens by introducing us to the main characters one-by-one, each one attempting some kind of thievery and getting caught by the police. In prison the five cons strike up a fast friendship and open up a cleaning company when they are released. It sounds kinda boring and uninteresting just listing the plot details, and it really doesn’t evoke the sense of raw fun that is on display in every moment of the film.
And then the action scenes come in and deliver the joyous rush of adrenaline that only ’80s/’90s Hong Kong action scenes can equal. In any legitimate action film these scenes would be huge high points, but because this film is primarily a comedy, they feel like added bonuses; the cherry on top of an incredible sundae. Both sides of the film come together during the third act, delivering a finale that’s as funny as it is thrilling. The action is so skillfully choreographed and staged, and it never ceases to amaze me that no matter how many Hong Kong films I see I’m still picking my jaw off the floor whenever I see something from this era. Movies just don’t get more entertaining than this.
I don’t know what else to say other than, “Watch this movie!” It’s a blast of hilarious humor, astounding action, and stupendous stunts! Forget your worldly cares and learn to laugh with Winners and Sinners!
Next up in this chronological journey through the films of Jackie Chan is the amazing and wonderful Project A! Oh yeah! See ya then!