The Lucky Stars film series features a total of seven official entries released from 1983 through 1996 in Hong Kong. They share cast members who sometimes carry over as characters, sometimes not, and they mix genres with both action and comedy vying for viewer attention. The first three remain the most popular as all three star — and are directed by — Sammo Hung, who’s joined in supporting fashion by Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao. Eureka Entertainment has recently released a collection of those first three complete with beautiful 4K/2K restorations, and we check out the set below. Keep reading for a look at The Lucky Stars 3-Film Collection.
Winners and Sinners (1983)
Teapot (Hung) is a gentle thief who just wants to be left alone as he steals his way through life, but bad luck and poor choices — he’s a thief, remember — land him in jail. He meets four other criminally minded souls, and the five becomes fast friends. Upon their release they decide to go straight and form a cleaning service, but it’s not long before their attempts at legitimacy land them in trouble with some serious gangsters hoping to corner the market on counterfeit US dollars.
Fans of Hung, Biao, and Chan will probably find this first Lucky Stars feature to be a disappointment as their action antics are kept somewhat to a minimum. Chan plays a cop who crosses paths with the guys, and Biao appears briefly as another officer, but neither have a lot of time here. Instead, the comedy takes center stage — which wouldn’t be an issue if it was actually funny. Tastes differ to be sure, but the intended laughs here come from generic hijinks and their inept horniness. Women are manhandled and leered at, and it’s all a bit icky. The brief bits of action we do get are still thrilling of course as Chan and Hung are masters at the craft of fighting, but there’s definitely not enough of it to carry the running time.
Eureka Video’s new Blu-ray release makes it a winner, though, as the brand new 4K restoration delivers a beautiful picture. The Blu-ray also includes several archival extras. The interviews are focused exclusively on Hung and are from different stages of his career, but there are some interesting insights within.
- Sammo Hung on Winners and Sinners [5:49]
- Teapot Tango: Interview with Sammo Hung [13:30]
- The Man Behind the Legend: Sammo Hung [20:00]
- Lucky Stars live performance [8:02]
- Outtakes [4:57]
- Alternate Japanese end credits
My Lucky Stars (1985)
Muscles (Chan) and Ricky (Biao) are cops on the trail of a dirty cop, but when they chase the man to Japan they find themselves facing off against yakuza members too. Ricky’s abducted, and seeing no other option, Muscles calls in the Lucky Stars to help. They’re in no rush to help the police, of course, but after applying a little blackmail pressure — and adding a female police officer into the mix for them to lust after — the guys agree to help crack the case and rescue Ricky.
The film once again remains led mostly by the comedic hijinks and pervy antics of the five guys, but the action gets a boost this time out with more fights along the way. The addition of Sibelle Hu into the mix as the policewoman is a nice touch despite throwing her initially to the wolves, and she gets to partake in the third-act action delivering some solid beat downs. Michiko Nishiwaki joins too as a female villain and gets in some mighty licks of her own. That said, the film belongs action-wise to Hung and Chan whose fighting skills dominate the big end set-piece in the villain’s hideout beneath an amusement park. It’s worth noting that Hung takes over somewhat as the group’s lead character here too, and it’s to the benefit of the film. He’s once again the most kind-hearted and “normal” of the bunch, and seeing him eat up some of their screentime is a positive.
Eureka’s new disc offers up a sharp 2K restoration of the film and has never looked better. The extras are once again all of the archival variety, but in addition to an interesting interview with Nishiwaki the other highlight is an export version of the film with a handful of changes.
- International Export Version [1:28:29]
- Interview with Michiko Nishiwaki [20:44]
- Clown Prince: Interview with Sammo Hung [18:00]
- Alternate Japanese end credits
- Music video “Anachronism” [2:02]
- Outtakes [9:42]
Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars (1985)
Muscles and Ricky are once again on a case that requires outside assistance, and against all logic and semblance of good taste they call in the Lucky Stars to help. The guys are tasked with protecting a young woman who has information damaging to a criminal enterprise, and while they harass her and take any opportunity to press their bodies against her the cops pursue the baddies. Eventually everyone comes together for one last blowout.
The final film in the Lucky Stars trilogy follows the others’ pattern of blending a little bit of action with a lot of squirmy sexual harassment continues here. Happily, we also get a young Andy Lau and Michelle Yeoh in early roles too. While silliness remains — an absurd assassination via men on parasails stands out — the film goes a little harder too as we get more than a few deaths along the way. The cops shoot and kill a few bad guys, some witnesses are burned alive in a car, and it’s all unfolding while one of the perverts tries using a voodoo doll to seduce a woman. So yeah, they’re still at it. Chan and Hung both get in some solid action beats en route to the ending, and as with My Lucky Stars above, Hung once again takes lead of the gang.
As with the other two films, Eureka gives this third in the trilogy a restoration — 4K this time, an upgrade also applied to the included Taiwanese cut of the film. The extras include two interviews including one with the great movie villain, Richard Norton.
- Extended Taiwanese version [1:47:09]
- A Life of Laughter: Interview with Richard Ng [21:02]
- Gentleman Warrior: Interview with Richard Norton [32:48]
- Outtakes [3:46]
Fans of the films, of any of the three, will absolutely want to pick up The Lucky Stars 3-Film Collection from Eureka. The extras may not add anything new to past releases, but the new restorations are massive upgrades and are alone worth the price of admission. The films themselves remain the same mixed bags they’ve always been — a little bit of fighting, a whole lot of cringe — but if that’s a bag you’re already comfortable with this is a must-own release.
The review copy of The Lucky Stars Collection provided discs only, but the official release also includes a limited variant for the first 2000 copies featuring a slipcover and booklet.