Sex For Sale (1992)

Directed by: Leo Heung
Producer: Wong Saai-Kuen
Written by: Choi Yau-Git & Goo Laap-Saan
Starring: Lee Yuet-Sin, Cindy Yip, Choi Yau-Git, Poon Tak-Chuen & Goo Ming-Wa

Mandy (Cindy Yip) is a Malaysian girl jumping on the chance to work as a prostitute in Hong Kong to earn some money. Looked after by Kiki (Lee Yuet-Sin), they are part of Mr Kan's girls but when KiKi decides to change stables to that of the kind boss Fai, a serious of violent retaliations occur...

Leo Heung's filmography was capped quite quickly, even though it covers 9 years. Started with what wasn't rare in 1992, a Category III movie, followed with a romantic comedy (Love Recipe, 1994) and ended with the fairly pleasing newspaper drama Headlines in 2001. The narrative skill shown in the latter actually shows up here too. Also known as Sex Racecourse, you certainly don't know firmly what mood Heung is planning to present as the opening credits mixes stylish shots of someone washing a horse with more stylish shots of sex... that is actually just a more stylish view into the world of prostitution here. Heung planning to be wildly goofy therefore and to desperately fill the 90 minutes with the audience pleasing, Category III elements of sex? Well, not really. This is by no means a glamourised view into immigrant girls getting into the profession, the nightly trips to the various lobe motels to "entertain" guests but Heung IS focusing on making a movie here. Even in parts a warm and kind one.

Of course Kan is the wild and vile triad pimp but Sex For Sale offers up a few kind characters acting as guards for the girls. Like mentioned Fai but also Kit who Mandy falls for and he's also smart and perceptive to the degree that he gives her a tape of him explaining his likes and dislikes. Smart because during a police raid, they can act as a couple and know likes and dislikes. Smart touches elevate Sex For Sale above many similar, low budget quickies of the time.

Trucking along at a good pace, the push into darkness and violence is also fairly effective. While no big names appear, the craftsmen knows how to stage some basic murders and enhance the dark aura through character actors. Even ones that chew scenery and while it isn't more than a decent time for adults, that it's actually somewhat decent in terms of the charecteristics presented is a surprise. Never thought warmth would exist outside of a commercial take on the story and in fact, it's not even as dark as some of them.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson