Bed Companions (1988)

Directed by: Cheung Ngan-Ting
Written by: Kam Bo Script Team
Producers: Luk Shiu-Yee
Starring: Jo Jo Ngan, Kim Gee-Mei, Charlie Cho, Poon Jan-Wai, Hwang Jang-Lee & Kong Do

I guess the latter half of the 80s, when the Category III rating was introduced, was the tease of what was to come... in particular from constant participant Charlie Cho. Dabbling in comedic slapstick and playing sleazeballs of various kinds like a lawyer in Jackie Chan's Police Story (1985), Cho's long lasting cinematic legacy of course has to do with the lack of shame. Provided with both roles of the shorter sex cameo and lead kind when the heyday of the overproduced Cat III 90s rolled in (where we often remember his giddy self when partaking in an out of body experience just to have sex a la Devil Of Rape and Hunting Evil Spirit), Bed Companions is early Cho and it shows. For once Cho isn't quite Cho and kept, for him, rather restrained plus the whole movie is low on fun, excitement or actual wild filmmaking that often made up for the lack OF it... even if only one minute of unique craziness was shown. So this anonymous package only has one (well two... I'll get to that) recognizable elements to side with but only die hard scholars of the III-Cho AAAAAAANNNND... Hwang Jang-Lee (!) should enter the dormant zone of Bed Companions.

The very loose plot involves somewhat the world of advertising and business, with Cho's Mr. Sung being one high ranked business man who frequents the likes of Korea often and the insides of women. At home longing wife Wendy (Kim Gee-Mei) waits patiently and is building up frustration of the sexual kind. Going as far as seeking out a boy toy in the form of Tom Poon (Poon Jan-Wai - Ho Fan's Brief Encounter), this clashes with the possible romance brewing with Kimi (Jo Jo Ngan) and then a jewelry thief gang lead by Lee Chiu Sin (Hwang Jang-Lee) enters the already barely connected and largely uninteresting plot threads...

Bed Companions comes from the right decade to warrant the detours into a little bit of everything but it can't sit proud to other entertaining efforts employing the stance. This is largely, boring soap opera stuff with a crudely inserted tangent about Wendy missing her husband, stale direction and only mild interest in Charlie Cho's antics on screen. I say crude but for a few seconds one time director Cheung Ngan-Ting almost has us siding with the heartbroken Wendy in a long shot, naked in the shower after being rejected by Mr. Sung. ALMOST heartbreaking and it's the closest we get to character in the film. Remaining interaction is very stale, especially Poon Jan-Wai's and Jo Jo Ngan's initial scenes, something very well illustrated in an awkward cut away of Ngan smiling and let's say she isn't setting the screen on fire.

Looking at Charlie again, clearly we have an ass of a man only caring for asses other than his wife's so it's not different from countless of mentioned roles but Cho isn't portraying his entire sleazy self on the outside in 1988 and even has what could be counted as a tender sex scene here! And when you see him turning down sex even, you know you're looking at the early development of the (sparse) fan favourite.

So the wife goes on a little sexual exploration of her own to be satisfied, to avenge a possibly cheating husband (he is), several characters are lying hypocrites, sex scenes are interrupted by Mainland immigrants and Hwang Jang-Lee and gang (also including Kong Do) kidnap Kimi to have their way with her... it's neither fun or energetic this apparent whirlwind of content. No charisma outside of bad guy extraordinaire Hwang and Cho exists and you of course don't care who's having sex with who, you barely know who anyone is and hell, you wish Kimi would be viciously cut up or raped just to have some sense of energy in the film (in fact, she uses her female strength the exploitation way to get out of trouble). Bed Companions is simply put a brief companion that you'd rather leave behind for full on Charlie Cho whirlwind efforts in the 90s. Cho in the 80s sucked.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson