Winners And Sinners (1983) Review

Opening on the capture of four contrasting criminals who all end up in the same cell along with a fifth con, Winners and Sinners follows the unlikely heroes as they try and live a life on the straight and narrow by forming a cleaning company together but fail miserably with hilarious and high kicking consequences.

Directed by martial arts legend Sammo Hung who also stars in the movie as the skilled yet under confident Teapot, the film is a semi-prequel to My Lucky Stars and Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars both made in 1985 and both seeing the concept and cast return all be it confusingly as different characters.

In Winners And Sinners aside from Hung the misfits that make up the Five Stars cleaning company include car thief Exhaust Pipe (Richard Ng), charming con man Vaseline (Charlie Chin), plan ready Ranks (Stanley Fung) and rabble rousing union organiser Curly (John Shum) whose sister Shirley (Cherie Chung) also joins the crew.

After a series of random jobs and giggle worthy encounters the gang end up getting mixed up with wealthy crime boss Jack Tar (Fist of Fury and The Big Boss star James Tien) who has a counterfeiting scheme going that is set to make him millions. Interrupting an exchange the idiotic lads end up with a suitcase full of fake money and Tar’s printing plates all of which he would do anything to get back.

What follows features all out carnage at a fancy party, kidnaping, dodgy deals and a massive warehouse brawl against Tar and his gang as the Five Stars frantically fight to stay alive and out of jail but in the end it seems luck and each other is all they have to hold on to.

Packed with action and laughs Winners And Sinners story is extremely disjointed coming over more like a series of skits or sketches from a crazy 80’s sitcom than a fully formed film. This feeling is enforced further with the incongruous if enjoyable musical moments that pop up along the way including an entire montage and theme song for the Lucky Stars and a street performance of Rod Stewart’s Young Turks by a blind busking family which is just as strange as it sounds.

None of this stops the film from being highly entreating however and in terms of laughs stand out moments include a four way competition to win over Shirley’s affections at a crowded street market and a great gag with Exhaust Pipe believing he has made himself invisible while parading naked around the house as the rest of his friends play along, all to embarrass the fool further.

Sammo Hung is a master fight choreographer and along with Yuen Biao who worked as one of the film’s action directors, Winners And Sinners gives the audience some sensational set pieces featuring the immense talents of the fantastic Jackie Chan.

Chan plays an accident prone police officer who gets caught up in the case and the Lucky stars lives much to his own annoyance. Two of the best sequences see Chan fighting alongside Hung to foil a restaurant robbery and a crazy roller skating scene opening at a competition and progressing to a car chase unbelievably with Chan’s wheel footed cop in hot pursuit. The pack of stunts that follow are as insane as the set up with the chase ending in a huge pile up that must be seen to be believed.

With all three films released together for the first in the UK with brand new 4K restorations by Eureka Entertainment, The Lucky Stars collection comes with a ton of extras including extended versions, archival interviews and brand new audio commentaries on all three films by Asian film expert Frank Djeng.

A perfect purchase for martial arts fans far and wide Winners And Sinners and the The Lucky Stars set is a great combination of action and entertainment featuring two of the most talented actors of the genre. Believe me it would be a sin to miss out on such a cracking collection.

Movie Rating: ★

★ ★ ☆ ☆ 

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Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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