Winners And Sinners – Wan Smiles, Hot Choreography

Country: Hong Kong
Genre: Action/ Martial Arts/ Comedy
Director: Sammo Hung
Year: 1985

Rating: ★★½☆☆

WORTH A LOOK

I’m going to be honest here. Cinema City comedies are not my thing. I don’t appreciate the broad, family oriented humor. That said, Winners & Sinners, which started off the phenomenally successful (in financial terms) Lucky Stars series, has an actual script, unlike many of the Lucky Stars flicks, which tend to rely on endless improvisational mugging.

That’s a very good thing, because Winners and Sinners feature some of the most charmless and grating comedians ever, like John Shum and Charlie Chin. On the other hand, Richard Ng and Stanley Fung are only as good as their material.

Writers Sammo Hung and Barry Wong come up with lots of intricately written comic situations, which at least gives the actors something to play.

Our heroes start out as petty crooks. Writers Hung and Wong show how their schemes go wrong and wind them up in jail. Our heroes bond in the hoosegow and once they get out, they form a cleaning company, but accidentally run afoul of a counterfeiting gang.

As I said, the situations these folks get into are thoroughly scripted, but they aren’t especially funny, either. Every once in a while, the corners of my mouth would reluctantly curl upward into a wan smile. Since 95% of the movie is comedy, that’s a problem.

Fortunately, when the brief action scenes kick in, they are quite good. They had better be, considering the choreographers are Sammo Hung Stuntmen’s Association, Yuen Biao, Billy Chan Wui-Ngai, and Lam Ching-Ying, and the performers include Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, Fung Hak-On, Chung Faat, Dick Wei, and more. Now, none of this stuff is at the level of an average Jackie Chan flick, but it still kicks Winners and Sinners up several notches.

But in my opinion, it still isn’t enough to nudge Winners & Sinners into the Recommended column.

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