Monday, April 13, 2009

Movie Review: My Lucky Stars

Well, here's another "Jackie Chan" movie that isn't really a Jackie Chan movie. Unlike some of the earlier movies I've reviewed, though, this isn't a case of a pre-fame Jackie Chan supporting role being promoted as a starring role. This time around, it is basically Jackie doing a favor for friend Sammo Hung. Hung was developing a movie series around the Five Lucky Stars, a group of four comic actors (and Sammo himself being the fifth), and he got some of his friends (Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao among them) to appear in supporting roles to boost the movie.

My Lucky Stars is the second movie in the series (I don't have a copy of the first, Winners And Sinners). The plot line is simple: Jackie and Yuen are cops working a case. When Yuen is taken prisoner, Jackie (or "Muscles" as he is called in the English dub, and that isn't the worst nickname in the movie) decides that the police force is infiltrated and wants to bring in some outsiders. So he calls in the Five Lucky Stars, who are former orphanage brothers of his who have become con-men and criminals. That they have no particular skills (other than Sammo) to bring to bear on this case is apparently beside the point.

So after a pretty nice opening set piece when Yuen is kidnapped, we then switch over for an hour to the wacky hijinks of the Lucky Stars. To call this comedy a little broad is to call Rosie O'Donnell a little broad. Actually, to call much of it comedy is to call Rosie O'Donnell a comedienne. Lots of mugging for the camera, lots of bad slapstick, lots of juvenile sexual humor (courtesy of the attractive police detective assigned to assist). There's a couple of chuckles here, but almost all of this section of the film is a complete waste.

It's too bad, because the action sequences at the beginning and end of the film are actually pretty good. They are set in an amusement park and take good advantage of the setting, with men crawling around on rides, battling each other on outside stairways and sidewalks, and (in the best design work in the film) fighting in different rooms in a haunted house exhibit. As usual during this phase of Jackie's career, there is great stunt work (in particular, a nice car jump over a conveniently-placed car carrier) and some well-choreographed fight scenes. It only amounts to about thirty minutes out of a ninety-minute runtime, but what's there is very good.

But since it's only thirty minutes, and since the rest of the film doesn't have much to recommend it, I can't give this film more than two stars. I think I'll have to give a pass to the follow-up, Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars. Instead, we'll head back to Jackie Chan in the director's chair with Project A2.

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