The Peeping

Hong Kong is of course famous for its fight choreographers, but sadly the plight of the “hidden breast” choreographer is not nearly as well known. They ply their craft almost in the shadows with little mention – no lifetime tributes – no film awards – only the satisfaction of a job well done. One can only guess at what training had to take place to reach their position – hours of studying shapes, movement and camera angles – beginning perhaps as an eager trainee and over the course of countless Cat. III films they slowly learn just the right position to have the body in, the use of flower vases at critical moments and how to casually have everything covered but still revealing just enough to leave the audience titillated and hoping for more. Regrettably, no credit is given to the “hidden breast” sifu of this production, but in many ways he is the star of this film as he manages to keep all the vital bits covered in some highly intricate and quick moving sexual situations. That he manages to do so even with a frantic female coupling is simply a testament to his great skills and I say hooray to such sensitivity and for not pandering to cheap thrills. Damn him to hell!
Whenever a Hong Kong mainstream actress decides that it is a good career move to reveal her assets along with her talents it invariably receives a lot of press attention – as is of course the point. This was true when Loletta Lee went the Cat. III route in the early 1990’s, when the innocent Irene Wan bared it in All of a Sudden in 1996 and even recently when the not so innocent Sophie Ngan showed her eye popping charms in Naked Poison. This time the hubbub revolved around Teresa Mak a reasonably popular actress since the mid-90s and probably best known for her shaven headed punk character in Streets of Fury. So when a friend who has a popular Hong Kong website (but will remain nameless) wrote me to see whether I had seen The Peeping and I replied “what on earth for”, his simple and convincing answer was “Teresa Mak is suppose to be naked in it”. Well it doesn’t take much motivation to get me to go to Chinatown and this was certainly enough.
So the question that no doubt inquiring minds want to know immediately is whether Teresa Mak does indeed reveal her two rather voluminous points. Well yes and no. She certainly spends a large percentage of the film in a chilly state of disrepute but our master sifu magically uses every trick he has learned to keep the important parts ever so slightly and frustratingly covered. A hand, an ear, a shadow, a sudden turn or twist of the body always manages to beat the camera to the punch and leaves the viewer thinking – maybe the next shot – but oh no – our sifu never lets down his guard. Not only for Teresa does he perform this arduous duty but for the other two occasionally unclad actresses (Grace Lam and Jenny Yam) as well. For a film that has more sex scenes than a night at Bob Guccione’s it is really rather odd that they play it so coy, but coy it is.
The film has all the track marks of an American straight to cable production and it seems to me that in fact a number of films with a similar plot and usually starring the likes of Shannon Tweed or Tanya Roberts were just that in the early 90s. Daniel Wu is a Hong Kong snoop – professionally that is – he and his assistant Samuel Leung are hired to spy on spouses suspected of doing their partners wrong. This is accomplished by placing tiny cameras throughout the house and capturing it all on celluloid. Daniel likes sticking to the dirty but safe business of divorces, but one day a mysterious woman (Grace Lam) makes him an offer he can’t say no to – a million HK$ to spy on a woman in Taiwan and get the goods on her. It turns out that she (Teresa) is a Taiwanese legislator who enjoys throwing kinky parties, rolling into bed with lovely women and asking strangers “Is there a problem with your dick?” No doubt just your average female politician in Taiwan.
Wu soon has enough material to open a video store on 42nd Street, but instead he begins to fall in love with his clandestine subject and wants to protect her – don’t ask me why – maybe she reminded him of his second grade teacher or maybe he just wanted to be in the middle of the next intimate tete-e-tete between Grace and Teresa. Not that you could tell with Wu – he has the personality and chemistry here of a wilted vegetable – even with Jenny and Teresa thrusting their hidden breasts against him he looks like he would rather be in health store eating yogurt. Director Marco Mak just doesn’t bring much to the table here but empty promises and the film is a letdown from his The Blood Rules and A Gambler’s Story.

My rating for this film: 5.5