Flame Of Desire (1993)

Directed by: Wan Ging-Cheung
Written by: Chow Pang-Hing
Producer: Polly Kiu
Starring: Chim Bing-Hei, Fan Oi-Git, Cheung Siu-Lai & Chow Dai-Cheung,

Large part bland porn with an added third of bland murder mystery, still it is hard to get mad at a movie like Flame Of Desire from the busy decade of the 90s as many production companies and filmmakers tried to capitalize on the commercial nature of the Category III movie. This didn't mean of course automatic attendance as evident by the below million Hong Kong dollars take this had during 6 days. So at 81 minutes, Flame Of Desire doesn't fly by exactly but it also does no harm despite being very terrible. I guess I've seen too much and am sedated by this point...

Essentially a whodunnit, centering around a coffee shop and a shady womanizer named Leopard. The woman Ting Ting is murdered and the police are putting together the case. Meanwhile Leopard continues to have lots of sex and tries to be someone in the eyes of the women while also willingly cheating after his charm is spent on them. By the way, he really has none.

Normally a movie is not so much of a bore if features LOTS of sex, especially if you had some recognizable talent and "talent" plus some Charlie Cho perverted madness sandwiched in between but this production is impoverished to say the least. When it's ON so to say, most of is shot in drab looking motel rooms with nothing on the white walls and the movie can't swing itself around to show the natural, gritty way sex can be. It's not a snapshot of reality. It's just terribly unsexy and sexual ecstasy is laughably forced during a masturbation scene in a shower. Come on, Ho Fan at least tried and understood what erotica meant! Director Wan Ging-Cheung may spend time on probably close to 10 sex scenes during the course of the movie but as you guessed, no visual devotion or any devotion are behind them. If anything the aural devotion is there as the stock music is loud and also not fitting for the (attempted) steam in the various scenes here.

Plus any psychology and depth in Leopard is obviously very poorly conveyed. A gambler and possessing insecurities about his status as a man, this is still an ass that apparently reeks of a little bit of danger as women tend to be drawn to him. Some circumstances such as the latter half twist reveals the fact that he (and a partner) drugs and squeezes money out of victims so rightfully, there is a very minor audience reaction here.

Funnily enough, the latter half deals almost exclusively in unveiling the web of secrets and lies that's bound to destroy characters and families and although the mystery isn't riveting and twists a few times too many, admittedly somewhere we're not as bored anymore when the final truth is revealed. It's not enough to light that titular flame of desire (or interest). Flame Of Desire is 81 minutes of less torture than you'd might expect though but that's a verdict that's only going to come from an audience seeking out every production this period of Hong Kong cinema exploitation had to offer... even if it offers nothing but 81 minutes of your time and therefore 81 minutes of overall nothing.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson