Winners & Sinners | aka 5 Lucky Stars (1983) Review

"Winners & Sinners" Japanese Theatrical Poster

“Winners & Sinners” Japanese Theatrical Poster

AKA: Five Lucky Stars
Director: Sammo Hung
Producer: Leonard Ho
Cast: Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, Richard Ng, Ching Shung Lin, John Sham, Stanley Fung, James Tien, Lam Ching-Ying
Running Time: 95/106 min.

By Numskull

This is generally considered to be the first Lucky Stars film. It isn’t.

It’s a blueprint; a not-quite-ripe-yet predecessor. Director/star Sammo Hung would later use many elements and cast members from this movie in “My Lucky Stars” and “Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars”…and some viewers will no doubt point to the name of the ex-cons’ cleaning service, “Five Stars Cleaning”, and shriek “I told you so, I told you so”…but Winners & Sinners does not fit into the true Lucky Stars continuity. The most obvious differences are the absence of Eric Tsang’s character (“Roundhead”) and the fact that Sammo’s character (“Teapot”) here meets the gung-ho cop played by Jackie Chan for the first time; in the other Lucky Stars films, they’ve known each other since childhood. Charlie Chin (“Vaseline”) is still a womanizing jewel thief and Richard Ng (“Windpipe”) is still nuttier than a Snickers bar, and Stanley Fung (“Ranks”) is here too, but he’s not the same as in the other films. By the way, these are the nicknames given on the Universe DVD; in other versions, they’re a little different (Ranks = Rookie, Windpipe = Exhaust Pipe, etc.).

So, anyway. Our party of five (including “Curly”, played by John Shum Kin-Fun, who appeared in a different capacity in Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars) get out of prison on the same day, crash at Curly’s place, drool over his sister (Cherie Chung), and try to go legit. The plot, such as it is, mostly consists of a series of Sammo-ish comedic situations leading up to the protagonists’ unwitting acquisition of a Triad leader’s briefcase and the ensuing struggle over it. Outstanding among the bits of childish humor are an enormous vehicular pile-up and a scene in which Richard Ng believes himself to be invisible and struts around naked (although you can tell he’s wearing shorts when he peeks at the chick in the bathtub). Action is sparse, but that’s to be expected. Brief appearances are made by Mars, Lam Ching-Ying (R.I.P.), and Yuen Biao (who has a brief fight with Jackie; if this were a real Lucky Stars film, they probably would have recognized each other as cops, even if they weren’t partners yet).

This isn’t what I would call a great film, but the chemistry amongst the actors is certainly there, and it’s a good sign of things to come in MLS and TTLS.

By the way…did I miss something, or did Sammo just immediately guess the briefcase combination?

Numskull’s Rating: 6/10


By Shaol!nDrunkMonk

Sammo’s first in a short series of successful films, Winners and Sinners has energy by the bucket-load, so much so that there was nothing left for the sequel! Anyways, whenever you put a group of convicts together in a Sammo film, good things are bound to happen…

Watching the dubbed version adds to the off-beat energy, and the concept of a bunch of losers getting together and trying to go straight while total chaos erupts around them like Grandpa after a big meal adds to the comedy. This film doesn’t take itself the least bit seriously, and you won’t either. The purpose of the story itself is to tie the comedy scenes in with all the action into a concise and funny approximately 90 minutes of Jackie on roller-blades, Sammo fighting baddies in the fast-food joint, Sammo eating porkchops, and a gang of criminals hitting on the only female lead…

Oh yeah, and Yuen Biao shows up to teach Jackie some manners as the whole group of convicts, cops, and cameo appearances cater to the short-attention-spanned kids in the audience and the action and humor crazed adults waiting for a good laugh and a painful stunt. You have to be in a certain mood to really enjoy this film…It’s full of great stuff that you might miss the first time ’round. Winners and Sinners delivers. And that rhyme is the best thing I’ve come up with to describe this film.

Shaol!nDrunkMonk’s Rating: 10/10


By The Great Hendu

When you’ve got characters named Teapot, Vaseline, Exhaust Pipe, Curly and Rookie, you know it must be a comedy. I certainly laughed a lot during this movie. It really cracked me up. Richard Ng was especially funny. His little scene about trying to be invisible was great.

Having seen the other Lucky Stars movie first, I was a bit lost. Now I understand what is going on. The main stars are all sent to prison for different, individual crimes. They form a friendship while there and are all released on the same day. Jackie is a cop who knows Teapot (Sammo).

Somehow, the group of newly released criminals get accidentally invloved with some counterfeit plates and the fun begins.

Jackie and Sammo collaborate in a small fight scene in a restaurant that turns out to be pretty good, and Yuen Biao makes a cameo very quick fight scene with Jackie. Jackie has a cool rollerskate chase scene in the middle of the film which is classic J.C. and Sammo does a fine job fighting the bad guys at the end. Overall it’s a decent film, but it’s not a Jackie film. He only makes a few appearances.

However, I am rating this film as a whole, not just on Jackie’s part. It’s definately worth the money.

The Great Hendu’s Rating: 8.5/10


By Aloho

I’d like to give this a 0/10. It was a brainless stupid slapstick waste of time. However, There are some cool things:

1) The red cars – the tops come off. I want one.
2) Under the truck rollerskating stunt and 50 car pile up.
3) The “I’m invisible so I’m gonna walk around naked” scene.
4) This one is hard to explain. It’s the scene at the main villian’s house where one of the guys is about to take on two guys. Then another good guy comes with another opponent. And all this stuff happened. I blinked, so I missed a little.

Aloho’s Rating: 4/10


By Eirias

I don’t think Jackie Chan’s ever given a performance I enjoyed more. It lampoons his own image, (though it was made before that image was established). He plays his usual daredevil cop, but he’s incompetent — risking his neck to catch two thieves only to cause a 50 car pile-up, beating up innocents, and generally getting himself swiftly demoted through the ranks. His story barely intersects with the main one, concerning Sammo Hung, Richard Ng, and a whole slew of other character actors you’ve seen before (if you’ve watched enough of these movies), all of whom are good, and all of whom are funny. This comedy part, for once, is very funny, containing several elaborate set pieces, and leaves room for some real sweet character development of Sammo.

Sammo’s character knows kung-fu too, so when the plot appears, to everyone’s surprise, he kicks everyone’s ass until the cop’s get their, and it’s all great fun. Chan gets to fight Yuen Biao (in a cameo), and does the single most amazing stunt I’ve ever seen him do, involving a semi and some roller-skates, followed immediately by a bit with a mini-van. A lengthy set-piece featuring a naked man who thinks he’s invisible goes in my book as one of the funniest of all time. The flaws that bothered me in other Sammo action/comedies don’t bother me at all here, because this film hangs together, works as a whole, and doesn’t belittle any of its characters, even as it makes fun of their quirks. At the end, it’s rousing, and a triumph for the underdogs.

Eirias’ Rating: 8/10


By Andrew

And the oscar goes to… Richard Ng for his portrayal of an idiot who thinks he is invisible in a supporting role. No, this flick couldn’t win too many awards, although it’s slightly better than “My Lucky Stars”. Jackie really didn’t do much in this film. That would be OK with me if the movie was better, but his character was a moron too. Try taking Kevin Chan of the Police Story series and dividing his I.Q. by 3. Then give him the manners of a 2nd grade kid and the voice of a post pubescent chain smoker and you get the Jackie character of this film. It sounds like Eric Cartman did the voice of Jackie in this one.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s decent fighting and a few good sight gags, but this film was just not what it could have been. Some things are truly amazing, like the massive car wreck (you can actually see people inside some of those cars when they crash) and Jackie kicking that stuntman out the window and over a retaining wall. That doesn’t make up for poor acting in general and the plot discontinuity. Watch for Yuen Biao’s cameo.

Andrew’s Rating: 5.5/10

 

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About JJ Hatfield

Freelance Photo/Journalist Founder and Director of two non - profit humanitarian organizations Writer and film reviewer. I love books, music, the arts and of course films!
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3 Responses to Winners & Sinners | aka 5 Lucky Stars (1983) Review

  1. Hmmm… the version you saw, is it that same english dubb that ended up in Bruce lee The Legend documentary? (does Jackie sorta sound like a stoner/surfer guy?)

  2. JJ Hatfield says:

    I’m not sure if it’s the same one. He is “interrogating” some guy and sounds well…..kind of skreechy loud the dialog was so bad………. This may be in the “Deadliest Art – The Best Of the Martial Arts Films” I think it was narrated by John Saxon but it seems to have disappeared for the moment.Yes I suppose it could be considered surfer guy. If you ever hear it you won’t forget it if you hear it again. Just one more reason I decided I better learn Cantonese and Mandarin fluently or go with subtitles. I went with a little knowledge and mostly subtitles and never looked back!

  3. masr11 says:

    i want to know……what is the title of the song in winner and sinner 3….
    i think its good song…..please who is the singer and the title……,thank,s masri ,indonesia

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