Friday, June 12, 2009

Movies : Leslie Cheung & Rowena Cortes

HK actress and singer Rowena Cortes was quite popular in the early 80s, here are a couple of her films where she made a great pairing with Leslie Cheung.

Energetic 21 (HK 1982)

In many ways an annoying film but Rowena Cortes is in it so i will forgive anything.

Leslie Cheung is a street racer who drives a Porsche 911. In the first part of the film you see how he and his buddies hang out and basically do very little (i like these guys). There are a couple of strange tangents (well it is a HK film) including a faked demonic possession that ends up in a fat girl getting pregnant. No really. I'm not making that up.

Rowena, who plays the sister of one of Leslie's friends, also gets into some scrapes including fighting girls over a dress and accidentally getting her boyfriend beaten up on his driving test. Leslie's mum brings a gwailo home but Leslie doesn't like it as its filthy apparently.

Then in the second half of the film things really get going. Another gwailo is accidentally killed in a fight and the guys suddenly start acting incredibly stupid. They begin running around like headless chickens and even turn on each other as the Police close in. In the end they are holed up in a supermarket, the Police have them surrounded. So how did it all go wrong? It is a HK film about young people, it always goes wrong.

So what is this film about? Its an entertaining romp with some good car stunts thrown in, especially a cool stunt-a-rama with some gokarts. My only beef with the film (apart from Rowena not getting enough screen time) is that the guy's characters seem to change utterly after they kill the guy. They turn from being some layabout losers into psychotic madman. Oh well.

The film is about how youthful optimism and exuberance can turn into disaster so easily i think, so it portrays that message well. For a decent slab of early 80s HK idol cinema you couldn't do much better than this. It has it all all : young beautiful people, hot 80s sports cars, cheesey nightclubs and HK 80s cool. Fantastic.
Teenage Dreamers (HK 1982)

Elaine Chow and Rowena Cortes are high school students doing what HK schoolgirls always seem to do in movies - throw coke (as in cola) around and shoplift in japanese department stores. Then their school links up with a boys school to do a joint production of Romeo & Juliet. Elaine gets the part of Juliet to play opposite schoolboy hunk Leslie Cheung's Romeo. But she can't get the final dramatic scene right... until she falls in love with her Romeo for real.

They meet secretly in Macau, they frolic on the beach, he pulls down her top and then we cut to the waves crashing on the shore... Now real lovers their final scene in R&J is a hit. But then he splits up with her before the opening night...

Cute and very vivid early 80s HK teen flick. The colours are fantastic, you even get to see/hear Rowena singing on the beach, fantastic! There are plenty of teen/fun frolics but nothing too cheesey.

Lemon Cola is the chinese title.
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