Way To Success (1993)

Directed by: Terence Yung
Written by: Philip Cheng
Producer: Otto Chan
Starring: Wong Wai-Tak, Chung Bok-Wing, Poon Tak-Chuen, Cheng Wai-Git, Leung Yee-Lai & Wong Hung

Chu Yat Hung (Wong Wai-Tak) is an insurance salesman facing preassure from fiancee and pending in-laws. Doing well in his field, he's due for a bonus but is setup by his boss and mistress who makes him lose job and everything. Now in debt and starting over as a motel keeper (i.e. working the desk at a brothel), Chu's savvy business-sense kicks into gear eventually as he starts to build his own stable of prostitutes...

A positive comedy about overcoming the odds and becoming the picture perfect image for prosperity, only in Hong Kong would you center this around pimps and prostitution. But it's somehow harmless and way more focused than most Category III comedies of its kind. Director Terence Yung is in it to win it. Mostly he does.

It isn't an extremely broad time (save for a few, select beats) working the shady brothel-scene in Hong Kong movies nor a distressing one. The fact that we are to side with Chu, the fact that the prostitutes of our story (main one being Michelle or Beggar So, because of her filthy manners. Played by Chung Bok-Wing) are all washed away from any tragic fate and all will be ok once money enter the picture... morally it's pretty hard to swallow. But this pleasant nature isn't propaganda. It's just a swell time for adults made by filmmakers who actually gave a crap.

Everyone's asked to bring a little bit of acting in order to logically fit the structure and the focus on the evolving storybeats by Yung is to be commended. Using the III-rating to bring us into the absurd comedy of some of these prostitute-client situations, we get culturally flavoured bits as one woman is asked to sing and dance like Veronica Yip as well as pretty timid looking rape-play. These are silly asides but quite entertaining ones since Yung isn't cranking them to broad levels.

In fact Way To Success keeps an even level and even amuses because of the dedication to the moral of the story that if you pursue your goals with kindness and you got a head on your shoulders, you too will manage a stable of super-nice prostitutes and you'll even get to hold grand receptions because of your achieved status. Funny, possibly satirical because of the drive towards pleasant, adult comedy using questionable methods, it's a minor gem of rare focus during this explosion of Category III movies.

reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson