The Fruit Is Ripe 3 (1999)

Written & directed by: Cash Chin
Producers: Cash Chin & Martin Lau
Starring: Jay Fong, Jimmy Wong, Shirley Cheung & Karel Wong

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Peach (Jay Fong) is an angel sent to earth with a task of re-igniting the love between Urchin (Jimmy Wong - Don't Tell My Partner) and Wei (Shirley Cheung). All it takes is a "I Love You" and Peach is done but it's going to be an uphill struggle with Urchin as those words are frightening for him to say. Returning to his home island, Urchin takes up fishing and re-connects with Wei and her husband Ronald (Karel Wong). Ronald is a land developer looking to turn Urchin's fishing pond into a sea world and he cheats on his wife but along the way the seemingly simple task of Peach's turn difficult as she develops feelings for Urchin and vice versa...

So to clear the possible title confusion within this unrelated series, 1993's Crazy Love (aka Fruit Is Ripe) saw Loletta Lee (aka Rachel Lee) shed her clothes and go on a journey of love enlightenment (actual journey, it wasn't just for sex). The Fruit Is Swelling (aka Fruit Is Ripe 2) was essentially the adults only version of Big but with some added sweetness and wild sex in a refrigerator with Elvis Tsui. Cash Chin returns for The Fruit Is Ripe 3 as writer/director/cinematographer and concludes the loose trilogy of sunnier Category III material with expected sweetness but way too much flimsiness and it starts with the casting.

The balance in Cash Chin here is between the romantic and the conveyer of adult entertainment and while that's fine, there's glaring problems with the casting of Jay Fong. Sure, the one time actress may have the looks, smile and potential childish charm of Peach but that potential not rearing its head sinks many crucial sections of the film. Yet Cash Chin rebounds somehow without relying on Fong and instead his trusted veteran Jimmy Wong. Although the logic of Peach not having a good sense of direction never rings true as she finds low life hoodlum Urchin pretty quickly, even Urchin seems to shed his criminal persona easily to instead go back to Lamma Island and it's not all due to possibly getting tail via Peach. Despite the sketchy transition, the back and forth romantic feelings, feelings being born turns out to be kind of basic and sweet beats by the time Chin has played his cards.

Even sex scenes take a backseat to merely feature some short ones of adultery, an almost rape scene but Chin is pretty shameless though about a shower scene with Jay Fong (again, he switches seats between the romantic and adult movie director. Gotta please the market too). The back to roots story, learning of feelings and awakening of feelings becomes pretty well anchored eventually and much of this is due to Jimmy Wong, albeit basically only, having a dopey charm about him that is believable. A confused state he's in as well, something that doesn't lead to sex scenes used as padding because if anything, Cash Chin has structured his movie well in that regard. The sex comes when deserved, when a bit beautiful and as a reminder of past regret. We're not talking depth but serviceable beats.

The components are of the expected kind of course but Cash Chin has never made his talent pool look like they're in grungy Category III sex flicks. No, the village cinematography in this one is fine, the finale in a typhoon well staged and again, being two filmmakers is a choice that makes The Fruit Is Ripe 3 go out on a note where we're smiling at the pleasantness of it all. The female flesh may be the selling point but the male indecisiveness and dopey charm ultimately carries it. Thanks Jimmy Wong.

The DVD (Mei Ah):

Video: 1.70:1 non-anamorphic widescreen.

Audio: Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1, Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0, Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1 and Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0.

Subtitles: English, traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese.

Extras: The Mei Ah Databank (containing a sparse cast & crew listing and the synopsis) and trailers for the film and Sealed With A Kiss.

 

reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson