Friday, June 12, 2009

Movies : The Oldest Profession

Three films that explore prostitution in the usual subtle and tasteful HK style.

Chicken a la Queen (HK 1990)

Chicken a la Queen stars a couple of former teen idols, Loretta Lee and Sarah Lee, playing less fullsome roles than we may be accustomed to. They play young prostitutes on the mean streets of HK, selling their bodies (though we hardly actually see this) and getting battered by their pimps (which we see a lot of). The two girls have a friendship akin to sisterhood yet they have different pimps. One of them is a vile thug who delights in beating his women. The other is kinder... and an undercover cop played by Roy Cheung.

The film is really about the undercover police operation to smash the Triad gang but mostly the film is a string of violent episodes between the pimps and their girls. Girls get dragged along by cars, thrown through tables, whipped, kicked and beaten. Yet somehow seem still more or less unscathed and ready to "work" a short time later. To be honest after the first hour of violence against women it does get a bit samey...

The two pimps have a rather unrealistic relationship, at one stage one is trying to burn the other alive yet a short time later (after a stern telling off by their Dailo) they are sitting next to each other with hardly a nasty look. As already said its a film about prostitution without any prostitution, well except one pretty much unnecessary scene where one of the girls bawks at selling herself to a black guy. Loretta Lee also looks a little too cute to be a brutalised whore.

But overall its a very good film but not a bundle of laughs. If you like hard and gritty violence then you will enjoy this film, if you liked Loretta's previous cutie films then maybe you wouldn't...

Gigolo & Whore (HK 1991)

Low rent HK sleeze romp starring Simon Yam, Carina Lau and Alex Fong.

Carina is a mainlander who comes to HK for her fortune, and seems to think the best way to do this is lying on her back. She comes to this conclusion after she meets Simon, HK gigolo par excellence, and her lunatic cousin who is already a "chicken" or prostitute. So Simon teaches Carina how to sell sex... only snag being she's fallen in love with him. But he sells sex and tells her love is betrayed. Oh well.

Carina then gets the gig of getting Alex Fong to wake from his depression. This she does but Alex falls in love with her. Then Simon realises he is in love with Carina after all. Yay!

To be honest the sequel was better, and thats never a good sign. But why is this a watchable film? FOR THE HK 80S EXCESS!!! The clothes! The cars! The booze! The money! This is when HK was the place to be, where you could arrive penniless and end up rich and drink expensive brandy from the bra cups of women. It never happened for me, but then again i didn't get there until 1998.

Gigolo & Whore 2 (HK 1992)

So the sequel then, silly un-PC erotic HK fare really.

Rosamund Kwan plays a tough rich girl who buys Alex Fong's company and shunts him from his swanky office. To persuade her to sell him back her shares he hires the top gigolo in HK Simon Yam to seduce her. The problem is Rosa is a lesbian...

But the uber stud does turn her back into a woman (don't shout at me, thats what the blurb says) and she sells the shares... but there is one problem : he's fallen in love with her for real. That would be fine except Alex is in love with her too. And to make matters worse the gigolo bar's madam (Veronica Yip) is in love with Simon. But its all sorted out in the end of course amid much mess and hilarity.

Some silly humour and plenty of rumpy pumpy, though i found the film a little boring and rather weird. The picture quality didn't help, for some reason the colours were a bit wrong. Though in low-lit scenes the picture became very red, i suppose thats rather apt.

The HK gay bar was quite strange, it seemed to consist mainly of bitch fights between groups of gay men and women. I suspect this film couldn't really be used as a serious examination of the gay scene in HK...

Fashions : Bright blue baggy suits, ugh
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