WINNERS AND SINNERS

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Winners and Sinners Cover Life is generally comprised of winners and sinners, right? Winners get all the luck, all the women, and all the cash. Whereas the sinners get no luck, no women, and no cash. Tough, but true I am afraid to say - just like Director: Sammo Hung; and Actors: Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, and James Tien. But only in the year 1983, and for 101 minutes


Winners and Sinners


THE STORY:
Say 'Hello' to the Five Lucky Stars – five criminally minded buffoons whom meet up for the first time in prison for the very first time. Now there is the unruly civil rights agitator, Curly (John Shum), who looks like a cactus. Then there is the jewel thief, Vaseline (Charlie Chin), who is a bit of a ladies man. Next there is the vehicle parts swindler, Exhaust Pipe (Richard Ng), who is a bit of a clown really. Plus on top of that, there is also the rude leader, Rookie (Stanley Fung), plus the portly house breaker, Teapot (Sammo Hung), too.

Once released from prison, this clownish quintet promises each other that they will make their fortune by forming a cleaning company together. Whereas another prisoner who is also released on the same day, Jack Tar (James Tien), prepares his up and coming criminal endeavor of trading counterfeit US and Hong Kong currency with another crime boss.

Moreover, where the Five Lucky Stars have to hitch a bus ride back to Curley’s house, and met his beautiful sister, Shirley (Cherie Chung). Jack on the other hand goes back to his stately mansion, escorted by a parade of red sports cars.

The git.

Still, we don't give a toss about Jack, right? And all the Five Lucky Stars can seem to do, is wash and makes silly jokes.

We want to know about rough and ready cop, Jackie (Jackie Chan), don't we? Who brashly intercepts Jacks currency swindle, and mistakenly drops this cash into the van belonging to our five crooked comedians.

Yipppee!

However, they don't know that they have this cash! All they know is that Jack wants them to clean his mansion for an up and coming party he want's to host. Worst still, is that when the 'Five Lucky Stars' crudely infiltrate this party - just to expand their business with Jacks wealthy guests - they are additionally unaware that Jack knows what they have in their possession.

Oops!

Obviously a climatic fight takes place at a Jack’s home, and then later at a warehouse as well. Though I suppose that is why what next transpires is a right pain in the dish-cloth with no mistake. As ploys are revealed - cops get a shield - identities are appealed - and Five Lucky Stars friendship is finally sealed.




THE REVIEW:
I am sure that you have heard of the game '12 degrees to Kevin Bacon' before - where two actors names are picked out of a hat, and you have to vocally associate these 'two stars' together one filmic reference at a time. Well, one day, I was playing this game with a couple of mates of mine, and the two actors names drawn were Angelina Jolie and Marlon Brandon. Immediately, my mates looked at me with curiosity etched upon their faces, wondering how many 'steps' it would take for me to join these two star's together. But I did not fret at all - no way - all it took me was one step - 'Richard Ng'. He starred with Angelina Jolie in the film 'Tomb Raider' - and he starred with Marlon Brando in the Charlie Chaplin film 'A Countess From Hong Kong'.

POW! Richard Ng - the man who made me win this game - as well as being one of the actors in this film 'Winners and Sinners'.

Though, how can I describe this film to you? Hmmm! Firstly, I suppose I could state that this movie is a mad-cap crime caper involving a bunch of clownish Kung-Fu criminals - plus PC Jackie Chan. Secondly, I could say that this film is a rather acquired taste - to put is lightly. And thirdly, I can firmly state that I like this taste - because I am a nut.


Balls to Winners and Sinners


Please note, I am not sure that this can be said by everyone you know - as sometimes my taste can be very broad at times. So if your not one for Chaplin-esq slap-about buffoonery, or early eighties Hong Kong Comedy Cinema, then I am afraid to say that this film is defiantly not for you.

You see, the hint of plot which carries this film along, is only held together by the five main protagonists – each playing a caricature of a caricature - and only then when the story is allowed to proceed. Now this is not to say that this film solely broad - though in many cases it is. Rather, this film is one hundred percent unadulterated fun – and should only be moderated by this, and this alone.


The Cast of Winners and Sinners


Personally speaking, Sammo Hung and his gang exhibit a very 'Carry On' style of performance, pulling faces on queue – falling over on mark – and any other systematic clownish behavior required for these type of antics. Moreover, the martial art’s on display is top notch as well – with both Sammo and Jackie displaying their usual physical prowess as per usual. Plus, in addition to this, I would also like to mention both Richard Ng’s and Charlie Chin’s clown-fu too – as it has to be seen to be believed.


Cleaning with Winners and Sinners


Now I could go on and say more about 'Winners and Sinners', but if I did, I do not honestly feel that it would help put it in it's best of light - because as I said previously - it is of an 'acquired taste'. So instead, I will give you some unusual facts relating to this film: (1) Richard Ng's wife was the hairdresser who cut Bruce Lee's hair whilst he was living in Hong-Kong. (2) Charlie Chin was the lead in a film called 'Rumble in Hong Kong', where Jackie Chan played that main bad guy. Please note, it was one of Jackies earlier film roles. (3) James Tien refuses to talk about his time working with Bruce Lee - because he feels that it is distasteful to cash in on Bruce's good name. (4) Sammo's Chinese nick-name translates into English as 'Double-Fat'. (5) The 'Karaoke sequence' in this film was omitted in the original version - it involved the Rod Stewart song 'Young Turks' being performed at a market stall. (6) Although John Shum has crazy looking hair and looks like a loon, in fact, he is a political activist - and he uses his stage acting savvy to aide him with his liberal leanings. (7) Stanley Fung, the man with the mustache, is known for having no sense of humor. (8) The character's names in this film are different in the Hong Kong version - each one is labeled as if they were a herb. And (9) Click on this...




A fun film which is light on combat and broad on humor - bananas to say the least.

THE RATING: B-