Thursday, July 18, 2013

Her Vengeance (Ngai Choi Lam, 1988)

Your sister is blind, your ex-brother-in-law has no legs, and you work at a casino in Macao. What else could possibly go wrong with your life? Hey, what's so bad about working at a casino in Macao? My mother worked at a casino in Macao. Oops, sorry about that. I guess I should have made myself more clear. What I should have said was: Your sister is blind, your ex-brother-in-law has no legs, and you work at a casino whose idea of entertainment is can-can dancing. What else could possibly go wrong? Nailed it. Aren't you worried about offending can-can dancers and enthusiasts of can-can dancing? Nope. Sure, I like the fishnet stockings, the garter belts, the constant skirt lifting, and the general legginess of it all, but that music they dance to is beyond obnoxious. It's so grating and repetitive, that it's enough to drive you mad. Well, if you think can-can music is bad, you obviously haven't been told that you have gonorrhea by a doctor with the world's worst bedside manner. First of all, gonorrhea is not AIDS. And secondly, you shouldn't yell, "You've got AIDS!" over and over again at your patients; not only is it uncool, it', it's just plain uncool. On top of that, I've never seen a doctor diagnose AIDS simply by looking at the patient's genitals, so, Her Vengeance is a bit of an eye opener in that regard. But it's also a first-rate rape-revenge thriller; a Category III rape-revenge thriller, I might add. And you know what that means? That's right, wheelchair kung-fu! Why the sad face? Oh, you were hoping for some gratuitous shots of Pauline Wong Siu-Fung's sexy feet. Don't worry, my fiendishly foppish fraternity of fakakta foot fetish fanatics (foo fuch?), this Cat III flick (yeah, I sometimes like to say, "Cat III," it's kinda my thing now) has got you covered. And get this, it's totally central to the plot. What's central to the plot? What's central?!? The lingering close-ups of Pauline Wong Siu-Fung's sexy feet. Man, are you guys that obsessed with feet, that you can't even read a simple foot-related sentence without spacing out?
Okay, where was I? Oh, yeah. Feet. You know what? Let's save the praise for Pauline Wong Siu-Fung's feet for a later date. I know, boo, I'm such a foot tease. In the meantime, let's talk about gang rape and gonorrhea, shall we? 
Welcome to Casino Lisboa, the most happening casino in all of Macao. Come for the slots, stay for the can-can dancing (nine shows a day). Let me get this straight, the can-can dancers lift up their skirts and kick up their feet for the entire show? Don't they do anything else? Well, I guess some of them do the splits. Anyway, five rapists burst out onto the street looking for trouble. How did I know they were rapists? Oh, believe me, they're rapists, all right. You can just tell.
After engaging in a bicycle taxi food fight (would a gaggle of non-rapists behave this uncouth in public? I don't think so), the rapists, Hon Yee-Sang (Billy Chow, Robotrix),  Long Fellow, a.k.a. Army Jacket Rapist (Shing Fui-On), Chan Ging, and Tse Fook-Yiu, enter Casino Lisboa and... Wait, one of the actors who plays one of the rapists is named "Tse Fook-Yiu"? Yeah, so? Tse Fook-Yiu? Did I stutter? Should that mean something to me? No, not really. I don't know why, I just like saying, Tse Fook-Yiu! Well, knock yourself out. Please, Tse Fook-Yiu. I'm begging you. Tse Fook-Yiu!!! This is your last warning, Tse Fook-Yiu!!!
Okay, that's enough of that. Where was I? Ah, yes, the rapists have entered the building, I mean, the casino. The staff tolerate their presence at first, but things start to deteriorate when they begin acting like, well, rapists. Shouting and carrying on in a manner that is unbecoming of the Casino Lisboa name, the rapists are politely asked to leave by an usher. When they dismiss her request, Chieh Ying (Pauline Wong Siu-Fung), a sort of pit boss, takes over. Only problem is, they don't listen to her either. Repeatedly ignoring her requests to vacate the premisses, one of the rapists, the one in the gaudy jacket, slaps Chieh Ying in the face. This action prompts security to step in. Realizing they're not welcome, one of the quiet rapists (who, by rapist standards, is usually the worst rapist), corals his fellow rapists toward the exit.
As they're leaving, however, the tubby rapist gives Chieh Ying the stink-eye. Or, as its known in North America, the Charles Bronson "This ain't over" face." After buying ten bucks worth of chestnuts, Chieh Ying makes her way home along the cobblestone streets (you really get a sense of the influence the Portuguese had on the island's architecture during her walk home). Hearing one of her discarded chestnut shells go crunch as result of being stepped on causes Cheih Ying to pick up the pace. Unfortunately, she is overpowered by the five rapists who drag her to a nearby cemetery to do that dastardly thing they do.
I'm surprised Cheih Ying bothered to show up for work the very next day. Or maybe it was a week later. Either way, while backstage with the can-can dancers Cheih Ying feels a pain in her pussy. She doesn't have AIDS (the doctor who diagnoses her is clearly a quack), it's more likely gonorrhea (he even tells her that her hymen is slowly decaying). Nonetheless, after beating the doctor up with his microscope, she declares that she will have her revenge.
Egged on by her blind sister (Elaine Kam), Chieh Ying hops abroad the next ferry to Hong Kong with the intent of killing some rapists (she is able to track them down thanks a lighter one of the rapists dropped during the cemetery gang rape). The lighter leads her to Kimberley Street (an actual street in Hong Kong), but there are no rapists to be found. After being unable to find a place to stay, Chieh Ying stays at this guy's apartment, let's call him, Chieh Ying's non-boyfriend (Kelvin Wong Siu), who always seems to be running into her. Even though he acts like he's stalking her, he seems harmless.
How do I know he's harmless? Excellent question. There's no seminal fluid on Chieh Ying's feet when she wakes up after spending the night on his couch, that's how.
While getting some grape juice at the 7-11, Chieh Ying thinks she spots one of the rapists. Following him to the San Francisco Night Club in the city's Wan Chai District, Chieh Ying approaches the guy she thinks is a rapist and introduces herself by hitting him over the head with a bottle. Only problem is, he's not one of the rapists. He's just a guy who happens to look like one of the rapists. Embarrassed and about to be slapped silly by the non-rapist, Hung (Lam Ching-Ying), the owner of the club, steps in to help Chieh Ying.
After smoothing things over with the non-rapist, Hung, who just happens to be Chieh Ying's sister's ex-husband, offers her a job (one that involves cleaning puke off the club's jukebox). Though, Hung does tell her that vengeance isn't a good idea, and that she should really think about going back to Macao. However, she's come too far to give up now. Besides, who wouldn't want to be Sit Chi-Lun's roommate? She's a major hottie. Oh, and just for record, Sit Chi-Lun plays a...wait, is she a prostitute? I'm not sure. Well, anyway, she works at the San Francisco joint know what? Let's call her an escort. Yeah, I like that.  
Just to show what an uphill battle Chieh Ying has ahead of her, we're shown the rapists robbing an armored van using the old banana in the tailpipe trick.
You'll notice that none of the rapists use guns during bank van heist. Which is odd, especially in a town made famous by the likes of John Woo and Ringo Lam. In fact, there are no firearms at all in this movie. Instead, Chieh Ying uses scissors, homemade spears, acid, a pickaxe, and a MacGyver-esque crossbow to dispatch her enemies. And, of course, she uses her shapely Cantonese gams to lure at least one of them into submission.
Don't forget wheelchair wheels. Oh, yeah. How could I forget that. He may not look like it, but Lam Ching-Ying's Hung is a badass. What do you mean he doesn't look like a badass? He's Lam Ching-Motherfucking-Ying! I'm sorry, but in my mind, he's just the guy from Roboforce. Either way, he rocks in this movie. Even more than Pauline Wong Siu-Fung's shapely Cantonese gams? Well, let's not get crazy. Nonetheless, the sight of the Lam Ching-Ying's grey-templed, double amputee night club owner kicking ass in a wheelchair was off the charts in terms of unexpected badassery.
You heard right, Lam Ching-Ying does the majority of his ass kicking whilst in the seated position. There's even a training sequence where Lam Ching-Ying prepares for battle (he has since agreed to help Chieh Ying take on the rapists) on the rooftop of some building.
Bleak yet hopeful, well, it's not really all that hopeful. Let's try that again. A bleak film that contains brief moments that could be construed as being hopeful, Her Vengeance is a pretty straightforward rape-revenge movie. That being said, unlike most rape-revenge movies, this one was has wheelchair-fu and Cantonese gams.

video uploaded by ColdBishop

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