The Peeping (2002)

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 08/19/2010

Director/cinematographer/editor Marco Mak was once a protege of the prolific trash film-maker Wong Jing, but apparently took away little of Wong's chutzpah from their times working together. Mak's directorial efforts, for the most part, are decent enough movies that are technically well-made but come off as more than a bit generic, and the erotic thriller The Peeping is another example of this. Despite the titillating cover art, it's basically a glorified version of semi-arty smut like Red Shoe Diaries.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 03/19/2010
Summary: For Voyeurs

“The Peeping” is a political thriller uneasily mixed with softcore pornography, essentially a mystery with a twist ending interrupted by scenes of extremely attractive people simulating sex; often but not always in very dark sets that kept the naughty bits properly obscured. Teresa Mak and Grace Lam were in two other films together, “Electrical Girl” and “Tortured Sex Goddesses of the Ming Dynasty” in which they were the actresses who kept their clothes on. Here they eagerly throw off their clothes and jump into bed while being watched on the cameras of surveillance expert Wu's cameras--the images are being watched very closely by Wu in an apartment down the hall. This is a genre that has been done often but not always well. Roger Donaldson’s “No Way Out” is a good example of one that worked; “Enemy of the State” by Jerry Bruckheimer, with explosions substituted for sex scenes is one that did not.

The non-libidinal action in “The Peeping” is driven by the rough and tumble of Taiwanese political life. Teresa Mak is a rising councilor who is being opposed by a Triad boss who is also a political heavyweight and who needs to get damaging information on him since simply slapping around a political opponent while the news cameras are running is nothing new or scandalous in the political life of the island. Daniel Wu is a typical sleazeball gumshoe in Hong Kong—think of Gene Hackman in “The Conversation” or John Travolta in “Blow Out”—who specializes in video eavesdropping. We first see him planting tiny cameras in the house where an industrialist has installed a mistress, both of whom become unwitting stars of his latest work. Next he shows the tape to the industrialist’s wife, collects his fee and wonders where his next case will come from.

It comes from Taiwan when Grace Lam shows up with an offer too good to be true but also too good to turn down—one million dollars (HK) for a couple of weeks of secret taping of a councilor who turns out to be Teresa Mak. His cameras almost immediately record Mak and Lam getting naked and pleasuring each other. It is an extraordinary sequence for fans of Teresa Mak (like me) and the high point of the film. Unfortunately it occurs about 20 minutes in so there is a long dreary slog to the end.

The political content to the movie is either dull and parochial or incomprehensible. Most the sex scenes are best watched with one’s thumb pressed against the fast forward button. The quadruple cross that wraps things up is predictable that the only surprise is that it goes on for as long as it does—this is a movie that would be served well by the way that so many Hong Kong films are ended; the action is over, run the credits. The final scene with Teresa Mak stumbling through a public apology to no one in particular is a coda that sums up nothing.

“The Peeping” is a fine movie for those with a desire to see Teresa Mak and Grace Lam show (almost) all of their charms but not of much use for anyone else. One warning—Mak suffers a horrific beating and rape, an extremely unpleasant scene although she does a good job of projecting the fear, pain and terror of a sexual assault victim.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 01/08/2006

Daniel Wu is a private detective, master of the hidden camera. But when he gets an unrefusable offer to spy on a female politician in Taiwan, he soon finds himself drawn into a murky world of drink, drugs and "complicated sex relationships"!

I will admit that it was the sight of two pretty women holding their breasts (in case they fell off?) on the cover that made me pick up the DVD box. But! it was the fact that it's a new movie from the Marco Mak/Not A Woman director/team that made me take the box to the counter and hand over $ for it. Sadly, it's a rather disappointing effort from them. Some interesting ideas but rather awkwardly put together. Maybe the lousy subtitling didn't help. Or maybe they just spent too much time on the sex scenes, of which there are a surprisingly high number. Sadly they're rather lame sex scenes - the direction and filming are poor, and they go to absurd lengths not to show anyything very much for a Cat III film. Should have just hired a porn director to shoot those scenes and pay more attention to ironing out plot holes! Oh, and what gives with the awful, awful soundtrack?

It's not a really bad movie, but its definitely not as good as it could or should have been and further evidence that 2002 is going to be the worst year in HK Cinema history. Not really recommended.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 05/07/2005
Summary: In a word, awesome.

In a word, awesome. This is a prime example of the best trash exploitation movie that Hong Kong filmmakers do so well. Great cast works through excellent screenwriting to present compelling, voyueristic experience. 'Adults only' material presented by a filmmaker who learned his lessons well from his mentor, Wong Jing. Theresa Mak turns in a nice performance in her biggest role yet. Daniel Wu has done another fine job with a completely misguided character.

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: xiaoka
Date: 11/30/2002
Summary: enjoyable

if you want some T & A (some, not a lot, its only IIB!) this movie won't disappoint, the entire plot revolves around sex more or less.

the acting is decent, the women are pretty hot (theresa mak, gaaaahh!) and the plot has some decent twists in it that make this movie worth checking out if you're ok with a little sex.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 11/17/2002
Summary: Ummm...........

I thought the movie was ok. Nothing special but it did have a interesting subject matter. Is it worth watching?? Well if your in it for the sex, they are not that good. If your in it for a good movie, well it feels like it could of gone longer. Unexpected ending but it doesn't make up for the rest of the movie. No nipples were exposed in this production!!


Reviewed by: annelam
Date: 08/07/2002
Summary: Peek-a-boo!

I have to admit this. As much as I think HK movies are going from bad to worse, they do have pretty good main ideas. Like this movie, The Peeping. Adapted and spiced from the real Taiwan issue, this story is more interesting than the real one! Teresa Mak actually played the seductress part real well and Daniel Wu did look like the innocent mouse! Interesting twist at the end of the movie but story tends to drag. I'm not an expert when it comes to movies of this genre but I guess it deserves a 4/10.

Reviewed by: mark_limkk
Date: 07/25/2002
Summary: Not too bad.

This movie is roughly base on the recent taiwan sex scandal. The difference is that the plot is much more complicated. It's about betrayal and double crossing each other. The truth is only revealed in the final few minutes of the show.

For those hoping to see frontal nudity of the leading character: Teresa Mak and Grace Lam, you'll probably be disappointed. However, there's no lack of erotic sex scene in the movie. Careful and precise video positioning as well as strategic placement of palms, hands, legs block out the "vital points".

The story's pretty interesting, but I find it a bit unrealistic. Basically the story's is about the 2 female lead weaving a sinister plot to get rid of another rival politician. Daniel Wu is the poor soul who got tricked and killed in the process. Will Grace and Teresa get away with it in the end? Watch it and you shall see!