Ghost Punting (HK 1992)

Rating: **
Alternate Title: Five Lucky Stars Ghost Encounter
Review Date: 10/2/22
Directors: Samo Hung, Ricky Lau, Eric Tsang
Cast: Samo Hung, Stanley Fung, Eric Tsang, Richard Ng, Charlie Chin, Elaine Lui, Mondi Yau, Ho Chin, cameos by Sibelle Hu, Wei Ying Hung

The Five Lucky Stars are up to their old tricks, but this time a ghost is involved. The ghost wants revenge against the evil drug dealers that killed him, and he agrees to help the Lucky Stars get rich and seduce women in exchange for their assistance. Naturally, this repeatedly backfires with comic results. Policewoman Elaine Lui is put on the drug dealer case, and her fight against Mondi Yau is one of the film's highlights.

Sadly, like the other Lucky Stars films, the characters are unlikable and the misogynistic humor is deplorable. The first 75 minutes are a serious drag and Samo Hung is inexplicably absent for the majority of the movie. Apart from one fight scene early in the film, he only shows up in the last fifteen minutes to take out the bad guys as only he can. His action scenes are amazing as always, but it's not enough to save the film or warrant slogging through the rest of it in the first place. Also typical of the series, the women are extremely attractive and constantly degraded by the devious and scheming leads. The only new element in the formula is the ghost angle, which sadly doesn't live up to its potential. It's a mean and cynical film that revels in the awfulness of male behavior, and the plot is as tired and worn out as the actors appear to be.

Despite the fact that Elaine Lui is not an action actress and that she's publicly stated that she hates action roles, her action scenes are quite good and I always enjoy watching her fierce intensity and no-nonsense attitude. Mondi Yau also gives an excellent performance, and now I want to track down more of her work. "Ghost Punting" is a difficult film to recommend. If you're familiar with Samo Hung's work and a fan of his style, then you know exactly what to expect. It's certainly not his best work, but the action is top-notch.