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Monday, June 28, 2010

My Lucky Stars

Title: My Lucky Stars

Year of Release: 1985

Date Viewed: June 27th, 2010

MPAA Rating: PG-13

The opening scene of My Lucky Stars is nothing but a big tease. It begins with an exciting fast-paced car chase and then later a foot chase between your standard cops and robbers. The movie doesn't even bother introducing its characters or even telling you who the bad guys are. It just throws you into the action. Not saying that's a bad thing, mind you. But this scene sets up the completely wrong tone for the movie. The action is business serious without any hint of its true humorous nature.

Then one of the cops (Yuen Biao) gets abducted by the villain and the plot is finally given some attention. His partner nicknamed Muscles (Jackie Chan) arranges to have one of his closest friends nicknamed Kidstuff (Sammo Hung) released from prison so he can help track down the jewel thieves that are holding his partner hostage. Kidstuff is also instructed to reunite all of his friends that grew up in the same orphanage and who also have similarly weird nicknames: Herb, Rawhide, Roundhead, and Sandy. Together they are known as the Five Lucky Stars. They are certainly lucky to get anywhere in life, given how incompetent they are with everything.

So what is so special about these lucky stars that makes their services so necessary to acquire? Beats me. They are however essential to the movie because it depends entirely on their comedic routines to carry things forward. So after an exhilarating start that promises an epic chase thriller, the movie degenerates into comedy that matches the quality of prime time sitcoms. Maybe that's a little harsh. At times, the comedy is entertaining. One scene that stands out is how each of the Lucky Stars have a chance to get closely tied up to an unlucky female after repeatedly staging a robbery in her home. It's outrageous that she falls for the same trick more than twice but that's what you get with far-fetched material that doesn't take itself seriously.

Then after five or so simple-to-elaborate skits, the movie remembers that it needs to resolve the plot. Jackie Chan's character returns after nearly forty-five minutes of absence to infiltrate the bad guy's hideout inside an amusement park and kick some butt. Despite limited screen time, Chan is given enough room to put on a good show for the fight crowd. At that point however, it's too late. The movie already wasted enough time with these lucky stars to really make us care who wins in the end. I think even Three Stooges shorts are faster at advancing their stories.

At best, My Lucky Stars is simply a vehicle for Sammo Hung to show off his directing skills. There is not enough inspiration here for it to have any chance at cult status. Normally I wouldn't mind a silly comedy like this. My sense of humor is weird enough. I just wish the movie didn't kid around with itself and had stuck to one game plan. It isn't even inconsistent enough to be considered a "random" comedy. Just one that could have been a lot better.

Rating: 4

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