Chicken a La Queen


To look at the cover photo, one might think this was going to be an enjoyable romp a la Why Wild Chickens, but in fact it is akin to chewing on broken glass for 90-minutes. Almost from beginning to end it is brutal and nasty with barely a break before someone is getting smacked around again. No doubt director, Lee Hon Tao and producer Clarence Fok were trying to paint a disturbing picture of the life of underage prostitution, but a more subtle hand would have been much more effective. Instead here the constant violence leaves one more annoyed with the characters it is perpetrated on than sympathetic towards their plight.
Loletta and Sarah Lee
Loletta Lee and Sarah Lee (real life sisters) play two teenage friends who have entered the “chicken trade” – prostitution – at an early age because they seem to think that they have no other options. Their days appear to consist of a bleak merry-go-round of servicing clients, getting abortions and fighting. Most of the time they are on the wrong end of these fights – being kicked, punched, thrown, fingers broken, raped and dragged by a car down a pavement street – and yet amazingly they are only momentarily indisposed and ready to report to work the following day! For a film that tries to disguise itself as much as a social commentary as an exploitation flick, it seems rather to miss the point by having these beatings and the one rape to have no mental or physical effects on the girls.
Both work for a slimy brutal pimp who keeps his soccer skills in tiptop shape by using the girls as targets. He has a stable of about 10 girls and retains the services of an older mamasan to teach them the tricks of the trade – how to be models or schoolgirls – and these lessons are nearly the only light moments of the film. Working also for the pimp is Roy Cheung and amazingly he is the good guy in the film – it didn’t happen often in his early films – as he treats the girls well and has a thing for Loletta. Thrown into this mix for reasons that are not all that clear is Shing Fui-on as a cop – which is fine – but also introduced into the film are his girlfriend (Ann Mui – sister of Anita) and his horribly whiny son. I have seen this child actor in some other film and wanted him squashed in that one as well – here when the bad guy is threatening to kill him I was definitely rooting for him to do so.
Roy Cheung and Loletta
None of this works very well as the director clumsily attempts to pull all the threads of the film together in a chaotic ending that makes no logical sense. The final image of Roy mysteriously running down the street carrying one of the girls and then falling over and laying there sums up the idiocy and pointlessness of the film. One would have liked to have felt more compassion for these lives – but it is impossible to do so. Unless one takes pleasure in seeing women humiliated and brutalized it is hard to imagine anyone enjoying this film. There is also a rather embarrassing racist scene detailing one of the girls encounters with a black client. The only positives I can think of for the film is that it does have Faye Wong singing the cover song and Yuen Tak does choreograph one nice action scene.
Ann Mui and Shing Fui-on

My rating for this film: 1.5


The other girls