Hong Kong Show Girl

Reviewed by YTSL

For the first, and hopefully last, time, the people at one of the places where I rent Hong Kong videos got the numbers wrong and I didn't check to see whether I had been given the right film until I got back to my place.  With hindsight, small wonder that they looked at me funnily when handing over the tape of this rather obviously low quality as well as budget and hardly well-conceived Category III movie...

While watching -- and...okay, this (re)viewer will confess...fast forwarding through sections of -- HONG KONG SHOW GIRL, I must admit to wondering what I actually do consider a worse crime for a film (especially a CIIIer):  I.e., to be appalling or boring?  My conclusion, at least for now, is that it's pretty damn bad when the product is tedious to view PLUS there are sad revelations concerning the making of it.

In any case, the portends are not good when a movie starts off with what is meant to be a sexy, teasing dance (the "artistically filmed" barely clothed woman is undulating like anything), only for the (re)viewer to notice her having not the greatest of figures and think that it is going on for way too long.  Things actually get worse after that:  What with our being "treated" to another uninspired extended dance number (this time, involving many dancers dressed as spiders or something, who are supposedly actually performing or just rehearsing (I honestly couldn't tell), at a nightclub) following an insipid poker game played and some entirely unconvincing hot air blowing -- by two supposedly menacing men (one of whom comes in the form of Elvis Tsui Kam-Kong).

Cutting to the chase:  (At least) there is more effort detectable in the generally pedestrian dance sequences -- bar for one spirited piece which lead actress, Betty Chan Yi-Ming, performs in a disco -- then the enactments and simulations of sex (and, yes, the expected rape).  And none of those are as well choreographed and filmed as the fights, which do abound in this 1996 box office failure (it lasted for only 4 days in Hong Kong cinemas and ranked 92nd out the 114 local films that were screened that year) and could be said to be quite impressive for an ostensible love drama...But think about it though:  What does it say about something named HONG KONG SHOW GIRL when the fights -- rather than the sex, story, particular show segments or the overall show -- are this very disjointed (the filmmakers even threw in one of those non-English subtitled Cantopop music video montages!  Don't they realize how incongruous and sick it is to simultaneously listen to sappy music and watch a trussed up woman being injected with drugs?) yet predictable offering's best parts?

And what does it say about the people behind this lame piece when its featured actress openly asserts the following (which are excerpted from Wolverine's News of the Week:  February 12, 1997

"Last year when I was making HONG KONG SHOW GIRL, it was made by this Fok X film company.  Although they didn't use force to make me do the scene this time, there were one or two scenes that were vastly different from the original plan, so in the end I was unhappy and have no fun making the film...Sometimes being an actress is really bad...There was one scene in which I have to wear a swimsuit and dance provocatively.  During the official shoot, 3 or 4 cameras were all pulling into my 'important areas' for close ups.  When I complained to the director and the boss, they would use group pressure, making me feel like I was holding everyone up from quitting time, the atmosphere and environment at the set forces you to do the scene..."

"...[S]umming it all, I feel that Fok X film company really is a mess...Actually while making that film, it wasn't just me who was pressured, the Filipino girl in the film was in an even worse situation!  As the shoot went on she was exposed more and more...In the beginning the film company didn't say it was a category III film, later a lot of those elements were added.  Finally the film was rated category III, I had a lot of nude scenes, which actually were done by body doubles, but suddenly I became a category III actress. The more I thought about it the madder I got."

My rating for this film:  1.5.