Angel or Whore

Director: Lai Jun-git
Year: 1990
Running Time: 93 minutes

A provocative title is practically all this dreary fantasy film has going for it – other than an exercise that may be of some value to the women readership out there. Its lack of energy is palpable as it drags itself to the finish line as if in slow motion. According to the HKMDB this was the director’s solo effort and we can at least be thankful for that. In ancient times, a certifiably loony and evil Hsia Hau Chian (played by Pai Ying for a pay check) has aspirations to conquer the world. Now we all have our own reasons for wanting to conquer the world – mine is to be daily spoon fed Haagan Daz Chocolate Almond ice cream by Maggie Cheung and Hsu Chi – but Hsia has other reasons – he was once a dragon when they ruled the earth and he wants to bring back the good old days.

Pai Ying and Emily Chu
He doesn’t seem to be making a lot of progress towards this goal as he lives in a cave and has two minions beneath him – and fortunately for all of us his evil machinations are thwarted by a character called 18 Fairies (the winsome Emily Chu gets this small role) who is able to disassemble into eighteen different people – sadly none of them can fight a lick and nearly all die before they finally pull Hsia into the well of death where he has to go directly to Hell. The big concept in Hell is that you are given a pill to forget your past life so that you can be reincarnated afresh – but the clever Hsia spits it out and so comes back to earth still wanting the whole enchilada. Let’s hope they have better quality control when George Bush and Dick Cheney have their turn.
Matthew Wong and Sheren Tang
Hsia returns to earth a few hundred years later (still in ancient times) with a few changes – his hair has turned gray (damn Hell for that) but he has much better digs as he appears to have moved up considerably in cave dwelling status and he now has some hotties as minions – now he is getting the point of ruling the world – but he still has the same evil laugh. Out in the real world events are taking place as well. Stonehead (Matthew Wong – who has a certain Jaycee Chan look about him – what was Jackie doing in the late 70’s I wonder) has left his small town to find his way – this after bashing the local casino owner and pharmacist not to speak of an old lady who wanted to kill him – and wanders into a more cosmopolitan town – cosmopolitan because it has a brothel. He accidentally comes upon some comely maidens practicing a work exercise – holding a melon between their legs and when they have the strength to break it they are ready for business. When he hears that in two nights they are going to “break one in” he assumes they mean melons and shows up to help – of course they mean virgins – in this case the lovely Yuk (Sheren Tang who has been a mainstay of TVB for years but recently appeared as Dragon’s mom in Dragon Tiger Gate.
Yes, her big day has arrived – what she has been trained for all her life – but before entering her enthralling life of whoredom she goes to a fortune teller to see what destiny holds for her. You can imagine her surprise when she discovers that she isn’t even human but a fairy who has to go kill Hsia. Ouch. One minute a burgeoning career, the next a long road trip with a really irritating companion. Because of a red pimple on Stonehead’s back, he is destined to come with her and help fight evil. The drawback for him is that she has to remain a virgin. So why am I coming along I would guess he is asking himself? And the viewer is sort of asking themselves the same question – why did I stick with this film until the bitter end. To that I have no answer. Just because I have his picture here I should mention that veteran actor Ku Feng must have gotten lost and walked through the set one day.

Ku Feng, Sheren and Matthew

My rating for this film: 2.0