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Gigolo And Whore II (1992) Directed by: Andy Chin

It's safe to venture into the sequel to Gigolo And Whore (as close un-PC of a title you can get) first as it has no story-connection. Andy Chin steps in as director, re-teaming with Veronica Yip for a second go at exploring drama territory after a marvelous collaboration on Call Girl 92. Yip however hasn't left her racy image thoroughly behind but Chin admittedly is more clever in the beginning with his excuses to feature nudity. Tongue in cheek half the time as he explores training methods and the world of gigolos with the best one at center, Simon Yam's character. But it's when trying to convert lesbian businesswoman Sherin (Rosamund Kwan) so that her rival Johnson (Alex Fong) can reacquire his company shares, that money desire gets switched for actual love. It's a tad corny and silly but Chin avoids certain traps skillfully. First the whole conversion plot isn't as offending as it sounds and while Yam is watchable in playful comedy mode, he then transfers nicely into the serious aura of the film. This is not Andy Chin at his serious best but despite predictability, performances take up the drama to sufficient levels. Also with Jackie Lui and Ng Suet-Man.

Gigolo Of Chinese Hollywood (1999) Directed by: Chung Shu-Kai

The decline and troubles of late 90s Hong Kong cinema (among other things due to piracy) gets a broad but relevant comedic send up via the producing skills of Wong Jing and for the most part it's an entertaining mix of fun and relevance. Although the character names and obvious parodies on the likes of Star Wars is just that, obvious. Concerning a group of struggling characters out of the movie industry and how they are desperately seeking investors for a new product, the adventure concerns director George Lockers (Eric Tsang), producer Stephen Spellberg (Nat Chan, sporting the Tsui Hark look), writer Ko (Emotion Cheung) and actors Steven Chow (Gallen Lo) and Julia Robots (Suki Kwan), despite the names though and look of Nat Chan, the movie isn't really out to drag the name of concerned people through the mud (not in any obvious way anyway). No the economic struggles and the lows you sink to vs. a world of only a select few righteous characters remains largely at the forefront. Especially so with Emotion Cheung's Ko whose friend has resorted to selling pirated vcd's to survive and the relevance the movie has is that very economic struggle. Harm the super-low industry by stealing to survive. The dig at pretentious arthouse that gets the critics and awards-juries boners is a well deserved one too and even though director Chung Shu-Kai only has a mildly tolerable farce for his second half that involves Simon Loui training the group to be gigolos to secure financing, Gigolo Of Chinese Hollywood shows a keen eye for the current events close to it.

Buy the DVD at:
Yesasia.com

A Girl Fighter (1972) Directed by: Yeung Sai-Hing

Feared criminal Kim Teng-Jiao needs to be stopped and newly appointed policewoman Sima Mu-Rong (Polly Kuan) quickly gets cuffs slapped on him. The road to justice is long though as the official seal needed for the process is stolen and the trip to the crucial Leopard Bay is rife with ambushes and fights. Much of which is setup by the father of Kim. Help arrives in the form of Geng (Tien Peng) who merely wants revenge on Kim and doesn't care about what the law can do...

A fast paced and simple fight-fest, expect no surprises and that includes Union Film Productions coming through with a fine looking, efficient genre vehicle again. While there's not oodles of refined action (the production is one of those Taiwan ones that was a few years behind the great ones), the mix of high flying Wuxia style and quite grounded bouts in addition to the sheer number of them makes for easily digestible viewing. A viewing also anchored by trademark Polly Kuan fury. No surprise there either.

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Yesasia.com

Girl-Gang (1993) Directed by: Yiu Tin-Hing

KENNETH'S REVIEW: You've seen this story filmed before AND for exploitation reasons only before as well! So it's teenage girls drifting away from sunny life to shady life thanks to their own stupidity. No, there's no grand statements about the world around steering them into the wrong crowd and eventually prostitution. Just filmmakers behind the wheel wanting to squeeze as much out of the adult material as they can via bottom of the barrel material at hand (including the "talent"). At a few times quite effectively bleak actually thanks to the low budget but that's just a minor gasp of air the movie takes before drowning in its own crap again.

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Yesasia.com

The Girls From China (1992) Directed by: Barry Lee

To the catchy sounds of Canto-pop with the English verse "I, I, I was born in Beijing", we're lead into a John Chong scripted, cheap Category III drama. John is now at Media Asia, usually getting executive producer credits on movies not at all like The Girls From China. The on-screen treatment by director Barry Lee concerns the rise of a naive Mainlander (Isabelle Chow - Sex And Zen), financially and career-wise. She learns to use the city, leaving a trail of men behind. Many of them perverts and one a bit on the insane side...

Incredibly obvious with his intent of featuring jokes for Chow's character usually reserved for Amy Yip, Barry Lee goes goofy and unpleasant on us as he paints the picture of Hong Kong's perverse men getting in the way of a determined Mainlander. Certainly on the lower end of the moviemaking scale, I give director Lee credit for showing an intent to tell his story more often than not straight but the execution of it is a fair bit from ok despite. It's just flat material, made a little bit more colourful by some elaborate sex scenes. Lead Chow also shows some signs of acting chops but looking at her filmography (that also included eye catching titles such as Sleeping With Two Sisters and Peach Sex Noxious Star), that potential well of talent probably never got a chance to shine. Pauline Chan's participation was played up when promoting the film but it's barely a supporting role.

Eastern Heroes re-titled the film to Whores From China when released on video in the UK.

Girls Gang (1993) Directed by: Peter Ngor

Released in 1995 but with a 1993 copyright on the print, Peter Ngor's brutal drama raises eyebrows from time to time but isn't much of an effective portrayal of the four girls. With the usual written arcs about coming from abusive homes, you can't and Ngor also refuses to root for any of these numb teenagers. Numb in a sense that they've never been programmed with traits such as respect, humanity or knowledge of when they're being duped. So they're all going to hell, willingly early on even and ultimately Ngor doesn't make this much of an interesting cinematic exploration. Admittedly the cast of unknowns (Ngor is the most prolific of the performers!) have a certain fresh energy that lends itself well to the parts and Girls Gang is certainly an effective, tough watch when it concerns itself with being a bloodbath. Watch Spacked Out instead however.

Girls In The Hood (1994) Directed by: Alan Lo

It indeed was a time in the mid 90s where films about disillusioned youth, preferably girls, hanging out on the streets, doing drugs and having casual sex was a profitable moviemaking (Fruit Chan's Made In Hong Kong and Lawrence Lau's Spacked Out later displayed quality in this regard but not for the masses). Coupled with the fact that the Category III rating was well in use (although audio censoring could run rampant throughout a film), movies like Girls In The Hood could easily be made. Having said easily, I also mean cheaply and without much directorial focus, as evident by director Alan Lo's work here.

The template as per usual deals with youths coming from broken or abusive homes, knowing nothing but the street behaviour around them and as a consequence of that, they grow highly unsympathetic when projected on-screen. Which is fine and Girls In The Hood is indeed structured as a drama/social commentary...and as a softcore porn film. But Alan Lo doesn't rise above the drama genre trappings or the exploitation ones and delivers one shoddy product. It's barely sincere attempts at themes, depth or plot so this is just one downward spiral from beginning to end, referring mainly to the quality of the filmmaking.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com
Yesasia.com

Girls Of The Night (1972) Directed by: Ding Sin-Saai

Produced by Jimmy Wang Yu and directed by Taiwan veteran Ding San-Saai (whose last film was also Jimmy's last to date, The Beheaded 1000), the fall of a tiny little empire is portrayed in Girls Of The Night. That empire is a hotel for prostitutes, new and old, all located on the outskirts of town. Enter innocence in the form of Ah Jiao (Ling Yam) but this virgin is tricked into believing she only has to make a temporary pit stop before being re-united with her lover again. There are also dreams of love within the group where director Ding asks if that love can even and should be allowed to exist. Jarring jumps in the narrative begins representing signs of a very episodic product where much seems to be said but zero means anything. Even episodes of sadistic, war-damaged Japanese customers and Ah Jiao being drugged for her debut with a one possessing great psychosis doesn't turn into any kind of status. Not even laughable or suitable for the exploitation crowd. The unbearable 100 minutes continues to drag itself in the mud, giving us escalated melodrama of the ridiculous kind (no characters, no character-drama...simple little equation) and undercranked action that seems more like a commercial afterthought further sinks the attempted, valid nature of Girls Of The Night BELOW zero.

Girls Without Tomorrow 1992 (1992) Directed by: David Lam & Wong Chi

First there was Girls Without Tomorrow (aka Call Girl 88) and now this in name only revisit with David Lam still at the helm examines the doomed women in the hostess genre once more (and by the way, a Call Girl 92 was made the same year...just to make easily things comfortable and clear for us). Largely more of the same but not as extremely distressing as the 1988 movie, Lam's co-director Wong Chi also writes some fairly typical melodrama and arcs here. He centers events around Mama Hung (Petrina Fung) in Temple Street whose biggest concern is her daughter the aspiring actress (Vivian Chow) feeling shame, putting blame and hiding her past from the media. A veteran turning authoritarian on the scene (an engaging Carina Lau) acts as support while also being the object of desire of Onn (Ekin Cheng), one she liberated from virgin status. Pauline Chan plays the one prostitute that goes downhill the fastest, trying to support her friends and family back home in the Mainland but also taking part in the more depraved acts in her strife for more money. Finally, virgin character played by May Lo gets shown the ropes by slightly wimpy pimp essayed by Andy Hui and she grows into the role fast...

Pretty much episodic journeys, all detailing familiarity as it touches upon family relations, feeble future aspirations (considering they're whores only in people's eyes), depravity (in particular in men), the clashes you have with the triad world and some inevitable crushing emotional defeats along the way. It's not a flattering picture directors Lam and Wong paints of the populous and what prostitutes put up with. If clients aren't fat, old or Arabs, they're suave with a penchant for pouring alcohol, chili sauce, milk or what have you over Pauline Chan's body (and some whipping to cap it off too). But while there's no really above average drama coming out of Girls Without Tomorrow 1992, the fact that the casting generates an attractive frame and the director's actually do inject some slight hope into the character fates means it's a fairly smooth ride that is far, far from genre material that should be ashamed of itself. Some unexplored sub-tangents involving the characters of Waise Lee and Ekin Cheng represents sloppiness however and is evidence of just a few tads too much of a crowded movie.

Buy the DVD at:
HK Flix.com
Yesasia.com

Girl With A Gun (1982) Directed by: Richard Chen

Taiwanese variant of various efforts that turned up in the 70s such as The Last House On The Left and I Spit On Your Grave (although ultimately more patterned after Abel Ferrara's Ms. 45 reportedly) but Girl With A Gun is definitely more subdued, which turns out to be its greatest weakness. Attention is spent on Liang Pi-Ho (Ying Hsia admirably trying to add subtle life into the material), mute since childhood after losing her parents and why she snaps into murder mayhem with the titular gun. In her case, it seems like a half-assed robbery and a mild (for the genre) attempted rape is enough to randomly scatter bullets. Liu Ga's script speaks of literally a lack of faith (a fairly poignant moment involves Liang watching a deaf-mute group doing "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands") and director Richard Chen certainly tells us something. Not enough however. Because cheap tricks such as repeating the theme song 20 times in the film, inverting colours to suggest whatever and lack of gritty effect hinders Girl With A Gun almost completely. Select moments, in particular Liang's final act of violence towards the end may be chilling but late good work doesn't give the film buoyancy.

Several scenes on the Ocean Shores vcd lack subtitles but it's a very sparsely told film anyway. A lifeless Alan Tam co-stars.

Buy the VCD at:
HK Flix.com
Yesasia.com

Give & Take...Oh Shit! (1994) Directed by: Dang Wing-Yiu

Simon Loui's character gets thrown out by his vicious girlfriend and ends up taking on a VERY different social status than before. That of the beggar but together with a group of seemingly crazies (Victor Wong, Joe Junior and Elvis Tsui), he gets a new outlook and direction in life...

The world's most boring opening credits perhaps signals something clever but director Dang Wing-Yiu thinks he's more clever than he is as it turns out. Hence no proper execution needs to be done apparently. The movie just have to speak out loudly and via disjointed weirdness such as any scene with Elvis Tsui and his dog, there's apparently a social critique on display. Done with both somber and hyperactive reasons in mind, as the beggars teach Loui's character what a proper profession this is, he gets subjected to the "good" intentions by the salvation army, dumb police and people in general. The Hong Kong medical care isn't spared either but director Dang's moodswings within the film does him no favour as a satirical storyteller. Carrie Ng as Miss Yellow looks and feels straight out of a David Lynch movie too. Produced by Jacob Cheung.

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