Lady Killer

How on earth did a very young Sylvia Chang wander into this 1977 mixed goulash of a film?  Was she drugged with LSD at a party and then woke up to find she had made a movie? This grungy production combines a pop idol styled story (ie. Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter) full of catchy pop tunes and young starry-eyed girls with this totally 70’s tacky and trashy exploitation angle full of nudity and violence. It makes for a strange but unique viewing experience. One moment you are looking at the adorable face of Sylvia and the next you see a naked woman running down the street and being mauled by strangers.
Robert Lee (was he a real pop star back then?) is a young singer with a guitar on the rise with his Sam Hui like tunes (and his character is named Ah Hui in fact) who catches the eye of a triad bar owner who wants to sign him up. Ah Hui is not interested, but this singer/kung fu expert is tricked into thinking he killed a man – and his only out is by co-operating and joining up with the organization.
The triad bar owner has his fingers in a number of illegal activities – procuring women into the ranks of prostitution being one of them. Another is putting on live shows. His men grab women off the street – take them into a room where they force them to have sex – while outside they are selling tickets to the neighbors to come and watch through the window! All very weird.
Sylvia and her friend (played by the legendary Yum Yum Shaw) go watch Ah Hui play and there are immediate sparks between Sylvia and him – leading Sylvia to spend the night after a bit too much to drink. At the same time Yum Yum is gang raped and taken to a house of prostitution. Soon afterwards Sylvia joins her when she is given the choice between doing this or watching Ah Hui getting tortured. Soon Sylvia is making the rounds (one of her clients is veteran actor and father of Rosamund, Kwan Shan).
One has to wonder where the police are (this takes place in Taiwan) during all of this. The triads are seemingly able to do anything they want with no fear of the cops. The film is littered with loads of sleazy guys doing sleazy things and the dark milieu that is drawn around the characters has a sort of perverse fascination to it. Still, this is by no means a good film though it does hold ones attention at times. One nice thing that the film does is to identify all the actors in English as they appear on the screen – but most of them are completely unknown to me – mainly Taiwanese actors I believe.

My rating for this film: 5.0