Winners and Sinners (Wu fu xing): Special Collector's Edition (1983)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 8-Mar-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Comedy Audio Commentary-Hong Hong Film Expert Bey Logan
Trailer-UK Promotional Trailer / Original Theatrical Trailer
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Teapot Tango - Director/Star Sammo Hung
Featurette-The Man Behind The Legend - Reflections on Sammo Hung
Trailer-Hong Kong Legends Trailers
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 104:09
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Sammo Hung
Studio
Distributor
Contender Ent Group
Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Sammo Hung
John Sham
Richard Ng
Charlie Chin
Shui-Fan Fung
Cherie Chung
Jackie Chan
Philip Chan
James Tien
Paul Chang
Pat Ha
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes, A big cigar for the bad guy
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Also known as Five Lucky Stars, Winners & Sinners is a very funny action comedy from prolific director and leading man Sammo Hung. While some of the jokes may be lost on non-Cantonese speakers, for the most part Winners & Sinners relies upon physical comedy that easily translates across cultures. Winners & Sinners revolves around five petty criminals who meet in prison. They are a diverse, quirky group to say the least. Vaseline (Charlie Chin) is a suave con man, Teapot (Sammo Hung) is the fat dumb one, Exhaust Pipe (Richard Ng) is totally eccentric, Curley (John Sham) is manic with frizzy hair and Larry (Stanley Fung) is the straight man (The Three Stooges references are deliberate). When they are released from prison they start to live together and establish the Five Stars Cleaning Company. The first half of the film has the other four competing for the attentions of Curley's sister (Cherie Cheung). Then the next stage of the plot starts when a stolen briefcase containing counterfeiting plates is accidentally left in their cleaning van and two gangs of criminals want it back. This leads to some wonderful kung fu action.

This outline of the plot makes no reference to the Jackie Chan character. He plays a trouble prone detective in the Hong Kong Police Force but his scenes have nothing to do with the main story. Instead, his character is an excuse to stage a couple of fights and the most spectacular stunt in the film when Jackie on roller skates chases thieves through peak hour traffic and under a moving truck, causing a spectacular car pile up. This film is however noteworthy for the fact that until Winners & Sinners Jackie Chan had only appeared in period films - this was the first time he is in a film set in contemporary times.

Winners & Sinners has a wonderful ensemble cast. Sammo Hung plays his fat, slightly dumb, put upon character to perfection (his capture by the police in the opening sequence is a real hoot) and Cherie Cheung, for once in a Sammo Hung film, is more than decoration. Charlie Chin is smug as the con man but the comedic standout is Richard Ng whose deadpan delivery is hilarious; none more so than when he walks around naked thinking he is invisible (this does make sense in the film!). Ng was nominated for Best Actor in the 1984 Hong Kong Film Awards but didn't win. While the film does have some slow periods, it is generally fast paced and any slower section is quickly followed by a generous helping of slapstick comedy or kung fu action.

Also known as Five Lucky Stars (the first of the "Stars" trilogy that featured essentially the same characters, the others being My Lucky Stars (Fuk sing go jiu 1985) and Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Stars (Xia ri fu xing 1985) I do not count the very inferior Lucky Stars Go Places (Zui jia fu xing 1986) as part of the series), Winners & Sinners is a very funny action comedy from prolific director and leading man Sammo Hung. While some of the jokes will be lost on non-Cantonese speakers, for the most part Winners & Sinners relies upon physical comedy that easily translates across cultures. It is a good natured romp from start to finish that proved very popular at the Hong Kong box office. It is easy to see why. Jackie Chan fans may be disappointed by his limited screen time but if you enjoy physical comedy or Sammo Hung you will enjoy Winners & Sinners.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

Winners & Sinners is presented in a ratio of 1.78:1, which is close to the original ratio of 1.85:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced. This is a 20 year old film that looks pretty good for its age although colours are generally soft, especially in the outdoor scenes, while contrasts are only OK. Skin tones are natural although blacks are a bit murky and brightness levels do vary. Other than mild grain, however, blemishes are absent so while not a perfect print there is nothing seriously wrong.

Lip Sync is marginally better than in many Hong Kong films of the period but it is still only approximate.

The English subtitles are in a clear white font. They appear to be timely and do not contain any glaring errors. They are closer to the English dub than is usually the case and give the general sense adequately. The hearing impaired track adds only minor extra information.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

Audio is a choice between Cantonese and English Dolby Digital 5.1. Both are very front oriented with only minor ambience and slight music in the surrounds and no panning effects. The sub is silent throughout. If anything, the Cantonese track seems to have more depth and is recorded at a slightly higher level although the English dub is OK for a change. In both tracks vocals are clear and either track is more than adequate for the film.

The music is by no means memorable but it is effective in supporting the comedy scenes and does not detract from the mood of the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Audio Commentary by Bey Logan (Hong Kong film expert)

Bey Logan gives his usual encyclopaedic commentary in which he names everyone, even those in minor parts and gives their history and where they are now. He also discusses locations, product placement, other trivia and which scenes were cut for international release. He explains why the film is considered to have spawned the Hong Kong action comedy genre. An entertaining commentary.

Trailer Gallery

UK Promotional Trailer (1:42 minutes). Original Theatrical Trailer (4:11 minutes).

Teapot Tango - an interview with director / star Sammo Hung (13:30 minutes).

Sammo speaks in both English and Cantonese (subtitled) specifically about Winners & Sinners, including his influences, his intentions, the various characters in the film and the influence of Charlie Chaplin. As usual Sammo is an engaging speaker.

The Man Behind the Legend - reflections on the legendary Sammo Hung (20:01 minutes).

This feature is a number of people talking about Sammo's personality with some anecdotes, plus film clips of Sammo in action. But if you want to know about his career or influences this is not the place. Interviewed are Bobby Samuels, Elaine Lui, Monica Lo, Guy Lai, Cecilia Yip-tong and Richard Norton, hardly household names.

Thanks.

One silent screen thanking the person who provided a cover image for the film is hardly an extra.

Also Available.

Trailers for other films in the Hong Kong Legends series. A text screen details the DVD specifications and special features before the trailer. All trailers are in excellent condition. Included is Battle Creek Brawl (1:36 min), The Postman Fights Back (1:39 min), The Canton Godfather ((1:14 min), City Hunter (1:31 min) and Skinny Tiger, Fatty Dragon (1:42 min).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The Region 1 release of Winners & Sinners has additional audio options (Cantonese DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital 1.0, English DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1) but no extras. A Hong Kong region 3 release has a range of language options (Cantonese DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0, Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0), a Sammo Hung interview, stills and a trailer. The UK Region 2 release is identical to this Region 4. A draw between Regions 2 and 4 unless you must have the original Cantonese 1.0 track on the Region 1 release.

Summary

Winners & Sinners is a wonderfully entertaining film from prolific director and leading man Sammo Hung that combines very funny physical comedy and high octane kung fu. It is presented on a DVD with acceptable vision and sound and reasonable extras. If you enjoy physical comedy or Sammo Hung you will enjoy Winners & Sinners.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews
The DVD Bits - Ray N (the bio is the thing)

Comments (Add) NONE