Lady In Heat (1999)

Written & directed by: Chu Yen-Ping & Shieh Wen-Cheung
Producer: Law Tiu-Wai
Starring: Rebecca Cheung, Kau Ming-Woei, Nomoto Miho, Li Bo, Yang Lin, Lam Yuk-Chi, Yau Kwok-Tong & Chen Kuang-Chien

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Pretty much a given fact that the farther we away we got from Chu Yen-Ping's wackiness and poignancy in the form of Pink Force Commando, Flying Dagger, Island Of Fire, A Home Too Far, he disappeared way into the background. Showing something minor was still there in 1997 when he went back to prison territory again in Jail In Burning Island, Lady In Heat at least doesn't have the annoying kids from the popular Shaolin Popey movies. Point. It doesn' truly have any points of interest either as it's simply a trio of pitches to a movie studio, resulting in a trio of short films within the Category III rated feature.

Pink Encounter (Chu Yen-Ping)
After somewhat correctly teasing us with the title card that there will be lesbian action, it's all eventually as this story sets up the running theme of males (and females) losing their head whenever sex is on the top of the agenda. Bathtub salesman Niu Te-Hwa (Kau Ming-Woei) is paid a visit by a sexy woman (Rebecca Cheung) wanting to try out a tub before she commits to buying. Trying out means running the water, undressing and undressing some more. All while a goofy, sweaty salesman ponders if this is all too good to be true. Rebecca Cheung (who will also feature in our last story) gives a sexy performance, is certainly easy on the eyes but here's material that barely survives the short story format. It's literally just the basic plot synopsis, the sales pitch on screen and the story of the weak male mind isn't news to anyone.

House For Rent (Shieh Wen-Cheung)
A down on their luck couple moves into a house where the rich landlady and landlord aren't exactly living in bliss either. When not at home, he indulges in sex with prostitutes while her frustration (sexual of course) build up. The poor couple has to resort to donating blood and we meet them at a crossroads in their life where this seems to have gone on to the point where there's only survival in the air, not attraction. These scarred characters come together sexually but the name of the game is cheating. Clearly made so that the excuse is to feature nudity, despite that Shieh Wen-Cheung directs solid dramatic material. While somewhat corny and silly beats are on display, the final resolution is actually a work of admirable subtlety but of course it's nothing that will rival any solid dramatic FEATURE director.

Lady In Heat (Chu Yen-Ping)
While no English title card is ever shown, presumably this the longest part of the film is also the main attraction so the title applies. Making his own at times hyper stylized version of Basic Instinct, Chu Yen-Ping shows during a stormy night a sex session involving handcuffs and candle wax ending with the bloody murder of a wealthy businessman. Cop Chia Mei (Nomoto Miho - Sex Medusa) handles the case and suspects becomes the housekeeper (Li Bo) and the the lover of the businessman, Young Liu (Rebecca Cheung). Chia Mei is more drawn to Young Liu (sexually of course) and despite the ongoing murder investigation, lust takes over...

Everything has to happen quickly in these stories so there's little room for new interpretation of the material. Chu Yen-Ping is here to showcase the two women and does so in a manner that is pretty much inappropriate (in terms of what is logical for the movie). Sex-scenes feature wind machines making the leads hair blow in a supposed sexy way while they're indoors, Taiwan is apparently suffering from intense lighting storms at night whenever there's sexual encounters and a silly love montage strays way away from the sleazy, steamy mood of the short. Then again it's well sold, clearly manufactured by a male director (the lesbian night club-scene is a testament to this and on the soundtrack we get quite a selection of filthy songs too) and Chu's selection of females are attractive, alone or together.

It's all not very believable, involving or exciting once the twists have been flashed before us but combine all that with some truly, ultra-genuine WTF-moments created late in the tale, we're at least genuinely amazed by the mad mind of Chu's that take matters (seemingly anyway) into supernatural, symbolic directions. The reaction should be "Huh?" and the project that is Lady In Heat will and should be shrugged off. There's positive and suitable filmmaking available as this is a good ol' exploitation-venture but signs late in the last story confirms that the idea of not being dull should've been put forth earlier in the production.

The DVD (Hoker Records):

Video: 1.50:1 non-anamorphic widescreen approximately.

Audio: Mandarin Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles: Imbedded English and Chinese.

Extras: None.

reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson