Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Kiss of Death(Du Nu,1973)

For the first movie review, I figured we'd go
outside of the box a bit and cover this offering
from the Shaw Brothers, 'The Kiss of Death'. Made
in 1973, the main stars are Chen Ping and Lo Lieh,
both studio icons, Lieh more so due to his role in
'King Boxer'(Five Fingers of Death stateside).

Chen Ping plays Ling, a young woman in Hong Kong
with no family. She works hard in a factory to
live. One evening, she's attacked by four thugs
who take her to a roof and rape her. It's not
until a day or two after that she finds out that
she's gotten a STD. Ashamed, and feeling alone,
she goes to work as a bargirl in a club run by
Wong Ta, who's crippled but still commands respect.
Ling finds out with the assistance of one of the
other girls that she has 'Vietnam Rose', one of
the more lethal forms of venereal disease. After
seeing her boss dispatch a few hooligans easily,
she begs him to learn his kung fu. And so, Ling
begins her deliberate revenge on the four rapists.

This film, directed by Ho Meng-Hua is one the first
for Shaw Studios to employ a mixture of violence,
female nudity and sex which defined some of their
films during the 1970's. It wouldn't be out of the
ordinary to compare them to the Pinky violence films
in Japan; in a few shots one can see the influence
with regards to camera angle and action. Plus they
weren't shy about a few long closeups of breasts.
Also, Ping winds up fighting in some interesting
outfits, especially the disco shorts and high boots
combo at the end. Makes you think twice about who
you approach at happy hour doesn't it?

Despite these elements within the film, Chen Ping
gives a great performance, handling her role as a
poison ivy very well. Fellas, be warned: her way
of delivering justice involves a blow to the crotch
with a medical instrument. And we're not talking
Q-Tips. The first time I saw this movie I kept
jumping up and flinching. Lo Lieh does well here too
as the cool and collected club boss. One scene to
watch out for is his first fight scene. Straight
brutal. And I'll end this off with a bit of trivia..
Shaw Studios wanted a different English title for
this film, which was 'Vietnam Rose'. It was dropped
after protests because a name like that could be
seen as slanderous given the amount of illegal
immigrants and relocated Chinese nationals that
were escaping the war in Vietnam at that time.