Welcome to the Philippines – the land of sweet
smiles, sunny days and getting your head blown off. My guess is that the
Philippine Tourist Board did not put their stamp of approval on this film
– not unless they wanted to keep tourists far away. The film does not treat
the Philippines kindly with remarks such as “You must have eaten too much
Philippino food to be so stupid” or having soldiers willing to sell the
tourists everything they own including the clothes they are wearing. This
film falls into the interesting sub-genre that can be described as “Go
to South East Asia and prepare to be raped, killed or possessed and maybe
Many of the films in this category deal with the
supernatural – black magic and witches – but this one takes a different
tact. This was made in 1990 a year after Tiananmen Square and seven years
before Hong Kong was to be handed over to China. The Handover is on the
minds of many of the characters as they talk about emigrating out of Hong
Kong before it is too late. Here director Eric Tsang and writer Nam Yin
paint a fearful picture of this future world.
They do so with a film that leaves little to the
imagination – subtlety is nowhere to be found here – this has exploitation
written all over it in big red colors, but as broad and absurd as it becomes
I did find it quite involving and harrowing at times. The film is littered
with dead bodies and their deaths are up close and personal. There are
also a couple of rape scenes that had me flinching.
A tour organized from Hong Kong comes to the Philippines.
The group consists of your usual motley crew of different types. The organizer
is Irene Wan and the guide is Eric Tsang. Among the tourists are two grandparents
(Victor Wong and Dang Bik-wan) who are bringing their grandchild, two cops
(Nam Yin is the older one I believe), three triads (headed by Tommy Wong)
two young female adults (the nice one being Cecilia Yui Ching Ching), a
fellow with two mistresses (Joan Tong is one) and a set of twins. Many
of them will be dead by the end of the film – it sort of becomes a guessing
game as to who will be the next to die.
In Quezon the bus is hijacked by a group of rabid
Communist terrorists who demand that the government release one of their
members for the tourists – and to show they mean business they begin the
process of killing the tourists – two by two. In one gripping scene the
Communist leader forces Tsang to take a gun with one bullet in it and aim
it at his group one by one and pull the trigger until he has to point it
at Irene who he has fallen in love with. Tsang is terrific in this film
and in this particular scene he wrenches every emotion possible out of
Eventually, in true Hong Kong fashion they bond
together, break out, steal some weapons and do loads of killing themselves.
Fortunately, they must have seen enough Chow Yun Fat films to know how
to handle the automatic weapons! After watching this I finally realized
what was wrong with the US strategy in the Vietnamese war. Instead of sending
well-trained armed forces, we should have sent busloads of Hong Kong tourists!
My rating for this film: 6.0
Distributed by Media Asia
The transfer is very nice - clean and sharp
with excellent colors.
Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks
The subtitles are Chinese or English or none.
There is a trailer for this film - and ones
for Return of the Lucky Stars, Carry on Pickpocket and Best of the Best.