GHOST PUNTING (1992) review

Ghost_Punting

The fifth and penultimate instalment in the Lucky Stars series, Ghost Punting reunites Sammo Hung as portly and well-meaning Kidstuff, Eric Tsang as borderline retarded Buddha Fruit, Charlie Chin as wannabe-womanizer Herb, Richard Ng as occult-obsessed Sandy and Stanley Fung as misanthropic Rhino Hide. These five jobless, hapless and horny losers, who share an appartment and an ever-thwarted goal to get laid, encounter the ghost of a man who’s been murdered by his wife’s lover, a violent mob boss. They report it to their old friend officer Hu (a cameoing Sibelle Hu, back after My Lucky Stars and Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars), who assigns a squad of beautiful lady cops (headed by Elaine Lui) to get proof of the paranormal encounter. As the ghost is seemingly visible only to them, the five losers use him to cheat in games of poker, and in return help him exact his revenge.

Ghost Punting, like previous instalments of the Lucky Stars series, uses a fairly free form of narrative that jumps from action and violence to comedic antics with almost no transition. The first scene of a man (the future ghost) being brutally murdered on a construction site, is immediately followed by scenes of the Lucky Stars going about their business: Buddha Fruit passes himself off as a blind man to get women’s sympathy and, if possible, grope them, Sandy is on his latest occult pursuit, possessing people, and as usual the rest of the gang plays along to better prank him, etc… If one likes the Lucky Stars’ brand of comedy, that heady mix of the childish, the sophomoric and the politically incorrect, Ghost Punting holds a lot of entertainment value. The absence of Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao, whose cameos brought some punch to the first three films, means the film has less memorable moments on the whole, but it is not felt too strongly, as the five actors’ chemistry is immaculate as usual. Adhering to the formula of these films, the last ten minutes see the comedy give way to bone-crunching action, which is here up to the Sammo Hung team’s usual high standards, but with a supernatural spin that recalls classics from the previous decade such as The Dead and the Deadly and Where’s Officer Tuba. The unsung action actress Elaine Lui gets in on the fighting with expectedly excellent results, in a womano a womano fight against Mondi Yau that is also memorable for featuring an almost uncomfortable amount of upskirt angles on the latter’s kicks. But then again, political correctness and good taste are not what one seeks in a Lucky Stars film.

Long Story Short : A serviceable and fun, albeit unmemorable instalment in the Lucky Stars franchise, Ghost Punting has the gang’s usual impeccable chemistry and a typically excellent final reel of action. ***

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