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Screamin' Steven Reviews: Jungle Cruise

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"If you're lucky enough to have one person in this life to care about, then that's world enough for me." With movie theaters open again, "Jungle Cruise" (which was slated to release last year), comes on the heels of other theme park ride adaptations from Disney like "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Tomorrowland". After the disappointment of "Tomorrowland", it was surprising that Disney would attempt another theme park ride movie.  "Jungle Cruise" stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons and the great Paul Giamatti. With an A-list line up, did this movie succeed? The movie follows Lily Houghton (Blunt) and MacGregor Houghton (Whitehall) who are looking for someone to take them up river in search of "the tears of the sun"  a mythical tree whose petals can cure any illness, heal any injury, and lift any curse .  While this is going on, Prince Joachim (Plemons) and Aguirre (Edgar Ramirez) a

The Import Corner: The Lucky Stars 3-Movie Collection (Eureka Entertainment) Blu-ray Review


The Lucky Stars films are very popular in China and Eureka Entertainment brings us the first three, and most popular, films in the series to blu-ray in grand fashion with new transfers and a host of special feautres.

Studio: Eureka Entertainment
Release Date: July 7th, 1983 (theatrical) (Winners and Sinners)
                           February 10th, 1985 (theatrical) (My Lucky Stars)
                           August 15th, 1985 (theatrical) (Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars)
                           March 22nd, 2021 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 1 hour 48 minutes 54 seconds (Winners and Sinners)
                     1 hour 36 minutes 48 seconds (Hong Kong Theatrical) (My Lucky Stars)
                     1 hour 28 minutes 39 seconds (Export Version) (My Lucky Stars)
                     1 hour 35 minutes 3 seconds (theatrical) (Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars)
                     1 hour 47 minutes 9 seconds (extended) (Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars)
Region Code: B (locked)
Picture: 1080p (1.85:1 aspect ratio) (all films)
Sound: Cantonese LPCM 1.0 (Winners and Sinners)
               Cantonese LPCM 1.0 (alternate) (Winners and Sinners)
               English LPCM 1.0 (Winners and Sinners)
               Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 (My Lucky Stars and Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars)
               Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 (Home Video Mix) (My Lucky Stars and Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars)
               Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 (Alternate) (My Lucky Stars and Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars)
               English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 (My Lucky Stars and Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars)
               Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 (Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars) (Extended Version)
Subtitles: English
Slipcover: Yes (Limited)
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, Richard Ng, John Sham, Charlie Chin, and James Tien
Written by Sammo Hung (Winners and Sinners)
                     Eric Tsang (My Lucky Stars)
                     Barry Wong (Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars)
Directed by Sammo Hung (all films)
Rating: BBFC: 15 (martial arts action and nudity) (all films)


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Posters

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What Are They About?

Winners and Sinners (1983) – Five former prisoners form a cleaning company and endeavour to keep clear of crime, but inadvertently find themselves in the middle of a counterfeit money scheme, and now the Triads and the police are out to get them!

My Lucky Stars (1985) – The Lucky Stars are sent to Japan to help the police apprehend a gang of dangerous criminals and a corrupt cop. Of course nothing goes to plan, and a series of gut-busting and neck-breaking action sequences ensue, leading up to one of the best climactic fight sequences ever filmed.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars (1985) – Tasked with busting a crime syndicate, the Lucky Stars wreak havoc in a holiday paradise with their unique brand of high-kicking justice and outrageous antics.
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Film Reviews

WINNERS AND SINNERS is a blast! That is a very simple statement to make, but its true. The film knows what it wants to be and does everything it can to be that. The cast is really great with everyone playing off of each other like they have known each other all their lives and the jokes land so much more than they miss. There are long jokes that go on and on, building to a payoff that gets bigger and bigger and it is nice to see a film do that. So many films nowadays tell jokes in a rapid fire manner, WINNERS AND SINNERS goes for the "tell one good joke over ten unfunny jokes" approach and it works. Nowadays, there is no build to a joke. They just tell it and move on. In fact, there hasn't been a memorable comedy in at least two years. That's really sad. Anyways, WINNERS AND SINNERS is a very funny film that also has some really great Sammo Hung fight scenes. Watching these fight scenes made me wonder what the STAR WARS prequels would have been like had Sammo taken George Lucas up on his offer to do the choreography. They would have been a lot more brutal, I can tell you that. The only thing that I wasn't all that thrilled about was the inclusion of Jackie Chan here. He really isn't used all that much and his scenes feel tacked on. Sure, there is the rollerskate chase, but that could have been cut from the film and it wouldn't have changed much. Still, the film is a lot of fun and highly recommended. 

MY LUCKY STARS pales in comparison with WINNERS AND SINNERS. That film had a life to it that MY LUCKY STARS just doesn't have. It has some pretty good fight scenes, but the comedy is all wrong. I blame Eric Tsang for this. He is not very funny. He reminds me of Patton Oswald in that they both look very similar and are not funny. WINNERS AND SINNERS had all kinds of jokes. Some were smart jokes, others were slapstick. Here, all we get are the slapstick kind and I could have done without them. It felt like the film was dumbed down for a wider audience. There is an extended sequence where the lucky stars try to get close to a female cop that has been assigned to help them. They decide to have one of the group hang out with the girl while the others dress up like ninjas and tie the two together. It felt really creepy and the gag goes on for what seems like forever. The humor never gets better than this. I longed for something like the sequence in the first film where Richard Ng believes he is invisible and the gang goes along with it. That sequence goes on for a while as well, but it's actually funny without being creepy. That sequence also involves a female, but she is in on the joke, so there is nothing creepy about it. I guess the fight scenes are good, but there aren't very many of them and they are over pretty quickly. Skip this one. 

TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LUCKY STARS is a much better film than MY LUCKY STARS, but it still falls short of being as good as WINNERS AND SINNERS. The film is a lot funnier than LUCKY, but still features a scene where the gang tries to see a woman naked. This time they start a fire in front of her room and get her wet so they can see through her clothing. Then they submerge her in a bathtub, with a straw so she can breathe, and ogle her while she is under the water. This scene made me cringe. Had the scene been about one of the gang doing something stupid like the invisible scene in WINNERS, then it could have been a classic, but because the comedy is sexual in nature, and aimed at an unsuspecting female, it comes off as creepy. I don't even know if I would have found this funny as a kid. That being said, the film has some really great fight scenes and there are some really big laughs throughout. I just wish that they had not done that scene. Take it out and the film would have gotten a recommendation from me. With it in, I can't recommend the film unless you just skip over the scene.

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Video/Audio

All three films have been given brand new restorations with WINNERS AND SINNERS  and TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LUCKY STARS given 4K restorations while MY LUCKY STARS is given a 2K restoration. All three films look amazing. I have seen the first two films and I have to say that they have never looked this good. They have looked pretty decent, but these restorations really bring the films to life. Each film has a nice level of film grain, something grain haters are really going to hate, but this film grain brings about some serious levels of detail. Taking away the film grain would have been a bad idea as it would have taken away the detail. Colors are striking at times, but are always full. Blacks are deep and inky. 

Each film is given a slew of audio options and they all sound great. I love the inclusion of the different audio mixes from various releases as they offer different takes on the same material. 
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Extras/Packaging

Each film contains a wonderfully informative and easy-to-listen-to commentary track from Frank Djeng. This guy knows his stuff and delivers the information in a way that never gets boring and is always engaging. 

WINNERS AND SINNERS contains two Sammo Hung interviews that are pretty informative if a little repetitive, an appreciation for Sammo from people who have worked with him throughout the years, a live Lucky Stars performance at an awards show(?), an outtakes reel, alternate end credits from the Japanese version of the film, and a slew of trailers.

MY LUCKY STARS contains the English Export version of the film which is shorter. We also get an interview with Michiko Nishiwaki, another interview with Sammo Hung, alternate Japanese end credits, and more trailers. 

TWINKLE, TWINKLE, LUCKY STARS starts out with the Extended Taiwanese version of the film, sourced from the same 4K restoration as the theatrical version. It is presented in Mandarin only. Following this we have two legacy interviews: one with Richard Ng and the other with Richard Norton. Both interviews are filled with information (where they were born, how they got started in the business, stories from the set) and worth listening to. Outtakes and trailers round out the special features. 

Winners and Sinners:

Special Features:
  • Audio Commentary by Frank Djeng
  • Sammo Hung on Winners and Sinners (5m 49s, SD, 1.33:1)
  • Teapot Tango: Interview with Sammo Hung (13m 30s, SD, 1.78:1) In Cantonese with English subtitles
  • The Behind the Legend: Sammo Hung (20m, SD, 1.78:1)
  • Lucky Stars Live Performance (8m 2s, SD, 1.33:1) In Cantonese with English subtitles
  • Outtakes (4m 57s, HD, 1.78:1) Japanese with English subtitles
  • Alternate Japanese End Credits (2m 9s, HD, 1.78:1) 
Trailers and TV Spots
  •  Hong Kong Teaser (43s, HD, 1.85:1) In Cantonese with English subtitles
  •  Hong Kong Trailer (4m 8s, HD, 1.85:1) In Cantonese with English subtitles
  •  English Trailer (2m 40s, HD, 1.78:1)
  •  Japanese TV Spot (15s, SD, 1.33:1) In Japanese with English subtitles
  •  Japanese Trailer (2m 30s, HD, 1.78:1) In Japanese with English and Japanese subtitles
My Lucky Stars:

Special Features
  • Commentary by Frank Djeng
  • My Lucky Stars: International Export Version (1h 28m, HD, 1.85:1)
  • Interview with Michiko Nishiwaki (20m 44s, SD, 1.78:1)
  • Clown Prince: Interview with Sammo Hung (18m, SD, 1.78:1) 
  • Alternate Japanese End Credits (2m 16s, HD, 1.78:1)
  • Music Video (2m 2s, SD, 1.66:1) In Japanese with English subtitles
  • Outtakes (9m 42s, HD, 1.78:1) In Japanese with English subtitles
Trailers:
  • Hong Kong Trailer (4m 22s, HD, 1.85:1)
  • English Trailer (2m 36s, HD, 1.78:1)
  • Japanese Trailer (2m 23s, HD, 1.78:1) In Japanese with English subtitles
Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars: 

Special Features:
  • Commentary by Frank Djeng
  • Extended Taiwanese Version (1h 47m, HD, 1.85:1)
  • A Life of Laughter: Interview with Richard Ng (21m 2s, SD, 1.78:1)
  • Gentleman Warrior: Interview with Richard Norton (32m 48s, SD, 1.78:1)
  • Outtakes (3m 46s, HD, 1.78:1)
Trailers and TV Spots 
  • Hong Kong Trailer (3m 48s, HD, 1.85:1)             
  • English Trailer (2m 28s, HD, 1.78:1)
  • Japanese TV Spot (15s, SD, 1.33:1) 
  • Japanese Trailer (2m 6s, SD, 1.78:1)
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Overall

Despite my misgivings with two of the films in this set, I have to say that I had a lot of fun going through everything. The picture and audio are just amazing and the special features set here will make any martial arts film fan happy. Eureka has really gone above and beyond for this set and they should be praised for this. I have a feeling that this set will appear on my "best of" list at the end of the year.
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Menus/Extras

Winners and Sinners


My Lucky Stars


Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars
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Films

Winners and Sinners


My Lucky Stars


Twinkle, Twinkle, Lucky Stars
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Packaging

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