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Fox Home Entertainment presents
My Lucky Stars (1985)

"I want to round up some of my old buddies from the orphanage."
- Muscles (Jackie Chan)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: December 29, 2003

Stars: Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung
Other Stars: Yuen Biao, Lam Ching Ying, Yuen Wah, Chan Wui Ngai, Sibelle Hu, Michiko Nishiwaki, Richard Ng
Director: Sammo Hung

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for martial arts violence and some crude/sexual humor
Run Time: 01h:36m:01s
Release Date: December 30, 2003
UPC: 024543102441
Genre: martial arts


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- C+C+B D-

DVD Review

Jackie Chan fans take note, because while Chan is featured on the cover art for this 1985 martial arts/comedy directed by the great Sammo Hung, it is Hung who is really the star here. Chan pops in for the opening sequence, and then to wrap up the big final act, and while he does contribute some dazzling martial arts moves, My Lucky Stars is really a slapstick comedy where Hung plays Kidstuff, who is recruited by his old pal Muscles (Chan) to help rescue a kidnapped detective from the clutches of an evil gangster. Kidstuff assembles a wacky gang of oddball misfits from his past, culling them from mental hospitals and the like, in order to train with the lovely Inspector Woo (Sibelle Hu), before teaming up with Muscles to save the day.

Hung, with an odd-looking Moe Howard haircut, is the chubby de facto leader of his nutty group, and there is much slapping, tripping, falling, and general hijinks that ensue, including a rather funny bit where the guys pretend to be ninjas in order to take turns being tied to Sibelle Hu. It is silly, low-brow stuff, bordering on the inane, but the quirky and likeable cast ham it up admirably and do their best to work with the goofy scenarios, like the character who is constantly trying to use ESP during his fight scenes.

By the time the group eventually teams up with Chan's Muscles, it's time for the flashy martial arts sequence to unfold during the final act, and that is where a guy like Chan truly excels. Who cares if the punches all sound like styrofoam being cracked, or someone whipping a naugahyde couch, his moves are simply amazing, and as ridiculous as they are, he is an enjoyable presence to watch perform; he even gets to battle some sword-wielding geishas while wearing a theme-park mascot costume. There is also a great sequence where tiny and demure Sibelle Hu holds her own against sexy body builder Michiko Nishiwaki, for a terrific girl-on-girl battle that ends with one of the film's best comic moments.

Personally, I'm not the world's biggest fan of Hong Kong martial arts, and while I appreciate the skills of people like Chan and Hung, I usually am dulled by endless scenes of kicking, leaping, and twirling. My Lucky Stars dumbs things down a little, throwing in some simple-minded comedic elements amidst the signature fight scenes, and the appeal of this film comes more from their cornball antics than anything else. Depending on your tastes, your mileage may vary.

If you go into this expecting a serious martial arts film you will be sorely disappointed, but not so if you're just looking for a couple of laughs, as well as a smattering of Chan's frenetic moves.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Sporting a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, the print used by Fox for this release looks very lifeless, with colors appearing slightly muted, and in some cases a bit washed out. Nicks and fine grain were visible, and though this may be an improvement over earlier video releases of My Lucky Stars, the transfer here is starting to look its age.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Cantonese, Englishyes
DTSCantonese, Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Kudos to Fox for providing audio tracks in 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS (both in English and Cantonese), but too bad it is akin to overkill. Not much in the way of rear channel activity, and in spots the audio upgrade from mono comes across a little unnatural and artificial sounding. Punches still sound like styrofoam being cracked, and dialogue is on the tinny side. The 5.1 and DTS do make the score sound fuller, however.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
2 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Other than a pair of trailers for My Lucky Stars (labeled "new" and "original"), and some previews for City Hunter, In The Line of Duty 4, Hong Kong 1941, all that's here are 20 chapter stops and optional English subtitles.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Don't let the cover art fool you. This is really a Sammo Hung project, with Chan more or less just bookending the film. This is slapstick chop-socky comedy, with Hung playing Moe to a cadre of sidekick stooges, working to help their old friend, played by Chan.

The odd elements come together in spots (it is sometimes actually rather funny), but My Lucky Stars forsakes extensive martial arts in favor of the bumbling and cartoonish antics of Hung and his gang.

 


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