Picking Up Girls (1994)

Written & directed by: Lau Siu-Gwan
Producer: Yip Mei-Ling
Starring: Otomo Rena, Charlie Cho, Dennis Tang, Chan Pooi-Kei & Tsui Man-Wah

Reportedly strung together from a few different sources (other Category III softcore porn movies presumably), if you didn't know that then Lau Siu-Gwan's (star of other cheap movies such as Body Lover) Picking Up Girls should still be viewed as an experiment in stringing together the bare necessities to get a bare naked ladies type of product out on the market. Bad in most respects and barely directed, it still offers up minor fun with its various outrageous storylines.


The story of the perfect Shaw family breaking down because of their sexual perversions respectively, Mr. Shaw (Charlie Cho) is the boss of a company but works mostly with a colleague a blackmail scam in order to get new, attractive female employees into bed. The wife (Tsui Man-Wah - Temptation Summary II) is sexually frustrated as the husband won't put out and sets into motion a sexual fantasy about being raped by a robber. The daughter (Chan Pooi-Kei) is a police woman searching well equipped male suspects to take advantage of and finally there's the model photographer son (Dennis Tang) who beds nearly every woman he shoots and every woman he sees. Otomo Rena (Erotic Ghost Story III) plays one that has a gangster boyfriend coming out of jail soon...

In my eyes it comes off as a way more coherent cut & paste product than the likes of IFD or Filmark ever managed to achieve when they inserted ninjas into theirs but my personal viewing of Picking Up Girls comes with incoherency and sections feeling very crude due to it being a censored and cut Mandarin print. There is some nudity still left but most sex scenes are either totally absent, only decides to show the initial start or cut to midact for a few seconds. The III is warranted and deceptive but still, Lau Siu-Gwan has reels of film still left intact that amuses thanks to aforementioned plot.

It's pretty much a dark sitcom setting for the family. The meet in the mornings and eat like animals (Simpsons style really) and then it's off to separate adventures of highly questionable morals. That Charlie Cho would get a chance to inhabit a sleazy role like this ain't no surprise or no eyebrow raiser but when we see the daughter copping a feel, it's a point where Lau Siu-Gwan gets us on board. A new angle, reversing what we expect out of exploitation. Of course, the scenarios or the settings are far from striking and it's a pretty drab looking film that looks more painfully, low budget gritty than sexy but dopey humour in the form of the Tsui Man-Wah rapist fantasy that backfires is highly amusing.

In less cut form (I wouldn't know if the Ocean Shores release of the Hong Kong version actually is cut but it's bound to have lot of the nudity), Picking Up Girls, if very cut & pasted, could've worked as a greatest hits compilation of sexy, kooky, dark stuff but the Mandarin version cuts a few intentions short obviously. That said, it's an easy mix to digest and Lau Siu-Gwan has directed (or assembled) a rather suitable product for a market that got flooded with class carrying the III rating and flooded with the cheapest kind imaginable. This comes from the latter camp and it's striking in its own way, cut or not.

The DVD (Scholar):

Video: 1.70:1 non-anamorphic widescreen.

Audio: Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1.

Subtitles: Chinese and english (burned in)

Extras: None.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson