The Sexy Killer a.k.a. The
When her baby sister overdoses on drugs given
to her by a slimy pusher, big sis gets angry – real angry and she needs
to do something about it. Complaining to the fuzz won’t bring any relief
because most of them are in the pockets of the Man and so she decides to
take matters into her own capable vengeance seeking hands. During the day
she wears white – the white of a nurse’s uniform and she does her best
to save lives – but come nighttime she wears slinky little outfits and
does her best to take lives. Her main asset is her curves that she willingly
displays in order to bring her attention like a going out of business sale
at the local cathouse. She knows she has to get close to her intended target
– as close as two people can be – the easier to kill them – and she knows
the weakness of men and zeroes in on it like a rabid dog going after raw
“She had a body men would die for - and a lot
of them did!” “They call her Coffy and she'll cream you!” Those were of
course taglines for the great Blaxploitation classic Coffy starring the
awesome and majestic Pam Grier. Though Grier had been in a few “women in
prison” films already, it was her angst-ridden revenge minded character
in Coffy that made her a star – that and her voluptuously often-revealed
body that is. Made in 1973 with a grizzly stew of violence and oodles of
nudity, it became a big hit on the grind house circuit and led to a number
of similar female action films following on its heels. Hong Kong, of course,
had its own tradition of action heroines, but wrapping them into a volatile
cocktail of funk, sex, drugs, perversity and nudity was still very unusual.
This 1976 Shaw Bothers film makes little effort to disguise its pedigree
and is often a step-by-step remake of Coffy.
The Sexy Killer jumps on the exploitation angle
with glee as it peppers the film with a continuous stream of delicious
and at times nonsensical scenes of sleazy sex and satisfying violence.
Sex and nudity are everywhere - don’t just kill someone - have them
do it bare breasted as if that is the most natural thing in the world.
Though the film has a sluggish middle section it still scampers along with
zest and it usually isn’t too long before some nudity or killing is being
splashed across the screen in lurid fashion. Instead of Pam Grier, this
film stars Chen Ping who was one of the premier erotic actresses during
the 70’s and seemingly spent much of her career screen time on her back.
Though she willingly reveals as much flesh as Pam does, she doesn’t bring
the sexually seething anger to the screen that Grier was able to and this
reduces the raw unrelenting passion of the film to some extent. The film
makes up for this deficit though by upping both the killing and the naked
breast count and giving the film a much more stylish look than the low
Chen’s sister is hooked on heroin and low-level
dealer Wong Pau Gei convinces her to trade her virginity for a desperately
needed fix. He brings her to his boss (Tien Ching in one of his most flamboyant
and fey performances) as an unwrapped present, but afterwards she overdoses
and almost dies. Chen decides that this won’t go unpunished and begins
to track down the people responsible for it. Dressed in white hot pants
and red boots, she easily convinces Wong to bed her for the night but instead
of having his way with her he finds himself on the wrong end of a bracelet
turned deadly blade. This doesn’t satisfy her craving for revenge though
- she wants the Big Boss (Wong Hap) to feel the sharp end of her anger
as well. With his liking for easy women and leather straps, Chen plots
her strategy and seduction to meet his needs - and hers.
Her childhood friend, Yuen Hua, is a cop – one
of the few honest ones on the force but his attempts at tracking down the
drug dealers are met with a vicious attack that lands him up in the hospital.
Being a star at the time, the producers feel the need to give him almost
equal time as Chen and this slows down and dull downs the middle section
of the film, as it turns conventional for a while. Coffy also had this
cop character, but wisely keeps his part much smaller and keeps the focus
always on Grier – this film would have been better served if it had done
the same. Chen has a boyfriend – an anti-drug spewing politician (Sze Wei)
who is secretly neck deep in corruption with ties to the Big Boss. In the
end it is Coffy – I mean Chen - who has to face the gang on her own with
only hatred and a lot of firepower by her side.
Director Sun Chung has a nice feel for exploitation
atmospherics and this would have been happily at home in the ballyhoo grind
house movie theaters of Times Square in the 1970’s with its catfights,
drug dens and bordellos. His filmography shows a penchant for these types
of films in his early career with titles like Sugar Daddies, Big Bad Sis
and Lady Exterminator, but in the late 70’s he turned more towards kung
fu with The Avenging Eagle, Notorious Eight and The Kid with a Tattoo.
He did though make a classic return to exploitation in 1982 with the legendary
gut churner Human Lanterns. In 1987 he made one of his last films – another
with a female revenge motif – Lady in Black that has Brigitte Lin going
after the man who left her for dead with a psychotic fury.
My rating for this film: 7.0