Wild Cherry (1982)

Directed by: Fan Dan
Written by: ?
Producer: Tsai Kuang-Hsien
Starring: Kenneth Tsang, Lo Kwok-Hung, Lily Chan, Goda Hideko, Fan Mei-Chei, Chan Ho-Yin & Fan Dan

One takes a chance on adult material based on era and its well regarded noise sometimes because in 1982's Hong Kong cinema output we didn't have a big softcore erotica explosion like in the 90s. But early 80s could punish cinematically with low budget grit. If organized into a film that is. Wild Cherry isn't and fails to generate tension, drama or erotica. On the plus side, it does all the Hong Kong and Japanese location spotting for you.

Head of a model agency, Stephen (Kenneth Tsang) goes to Japan to scout new talent and he brings with him Mei Wai with the promise that he'll help her become a star in Hong Kong. Letting his focus wander to other or any women instead of her, over in Japan Liu Ying struggles working as a massage girl and her alcoholic mother is in the same profession as well. Dreams of making it big or earning enough to set up your own business hovers around the female characters across the nations...

Establishing pretty early on that he has no clue how to craft curiosity, drama, theme or even close out a movie effectively, Fan Dan (Red Lips and also a supporting actor in the film) puts filler on front street from scene one and it's a bumpy ride downhill from there. Letting Kenneth Tsang's right hand man and photographer shoot a model and then show her the nightlife, you expect a dark tangent here but if the movie does anything surprising it is that it portrays Lo Kwok-Hung's character as a man not looking to abuse his position. Leaving that behind in favour of sparse, flat storytelling, multiple instances of sight seeing, no backstory and only occasionally a glimpse into the kinky side of the professions at hand, those brief flashes of the not so erotic underworld of massage girls also performing sexual favours could've worked for the movie as, albeit cheap, impact.

But instead Fan Dan glosses over most of these scenes, introduces characters and their drama only to leave them behind but instead places his cameras at an actual fashion show featuring Carter Wong doing a kung fu demonstration and a lengthy visit to Ocean Park. Then he decides that the last reel is the time for backstory, melodrama, tragedy, a massage tutorial and a punishing rape scene by the Japanese pimp that we're later supposed to feel has his heart in the right place. At least we GET background but glued together as a travelogue and late breaking melodrama makes no sense whatsoever and has no chance scoring as punishing exploitation either.

reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson