“I don’t want to be a eunuch” (to Nadeki, “Pink Panther”)
Other elements of what film theory has termed the “monstrous feminine” are also present in some of Nadeki’s parts. In “Pink Panther,” a motorcycle-riding, denim-clad Nadeki barks orders at her female gang and spews vitriolic remarks about men, marriage and society. When she’s tied up and almost sexually assaulted, she’s actually wearing more clothing than at other points in the film. Retaliatory justice is swift, sometimes castrating (literally), and lethal. Not stopping at dismemberment, Nadeki’s character “Wang Fu-nan” also bites one of her assailants on the face. The castration symbolism of this act (that Nadeki also performs in “Killer Angels”) is acknowledged by film theory. Consequently, it represents a distinctively abject action that distances the character performing it from typical heroic traditions. Consider the prominent female action performers of Chinese origin in HK cinema – and their male counterparts. Their characters typically do not bite others in the face.
Such devices both excite and subvert by pairing
female gendered performers with the behavior and symbolism of occasionally
more deviant or taboo actions that are typically gendered male. Violation
of taboo evokes primal emotion, but not necessarily in ways that advance
a meritorious social agenda.