Part-Time Lady (1993)

Directed by: Wong Yau-Sing
Written by: ?
Producer: Cheung Yuet
Starring: Wong Kuen, Suen Tong, Chui Bo-Lun, Chan Pooi-Kei, Tong Chit, Cheung Ching-Yung, & Charlie Cho

The boss of a hostess club (Chan Pooi-Kei) is found dead and the close circle of friends is being investigated by the cops (lead by Darwin, played by Chui Bo-Lun). Several of the women, including Lily (Suen Tong), have an alibi as they employed ex-cop Poo Tien-Liang's (Wong Kuen) taxi the entire the night but the instincts in the former policeman still kicks in and he's now allowed to join the case. A case that may track back to past events...

On the surface very much like many other no budget Category III softcore pornography movies to come out of Hong Kong in 1993. And the surface looks it with dreary cinematography, exterior locations and bland interiors (the living quarters of a crew members I'm sure). Couple that with the requisite sex-scenes lacking vision and surprisingly... Part-Time Lady comes off as somewhat swift and bearable. Because it knows and tries the murder-mystery structure.

For the first hour at least director Wong casually ticks off the beats needed to produce at least a basic whodunnit. Scenes are staged sometimes awkwardly but they do advance matters but there's hardly any gritty, now murderous reality to proceedings. Because simply put, most scenes are shot in dull places and are shot by a crew not capable of elevating. The sex scenes being a prime example of not just being running time-filler but they lack any inspiration when it comes to staging. The age old tilt the camera and improvise applies here and while the ladies put in an admirable effort in order to sell lust, it's wasted effort.

Planting different characters as red herrings (such as Charlie Cho) is a sign of someone being aware of how to string per definition a murder mystery together and by being a short movie too (especially if you subtract the sex scenes), there's the possibility of efficiency. It sooooort of happens as we're curious enough but someone gets impatient by the hour mark. Leading to tons of exposition and difficulty keeping up. But Part-Time Lady does show an interest in being complete and not just patchy and that makes it better than most Hong Kong pornography from this time. It even seems to want to setup the fact that Wong Kuen's taxi cop might be featured in further adventures. It wasn't THAT good.

reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson