Reviewed by: ewaffle
I went to a thriller and a skin flick broke out.
Reviewer Score: 1
Gates of Hell begins and ends as a not particularly intriguing crime thriller. A young couple from Hong Kong is on their honeymoon in San Francisco and are doing typical out of town (in this case way out of town) touristy stuff: taking pictures at the Golden Gate bridge, riding cable cars, goofing around with street performers and spending too much money. At the same time and unconnected to them trouble is brewing between Italian and Chinese mobsters. A turf war is avoided but the Italian mob boss is too disrespectful of his Chinese counterpart who decided that it is time to not only move in on the Italian territory but also to take control of the lucrative video pornography business that their rivals control.
Unrelated to anything but still weirdly remarkable is that the Chinese bosss girlfriend becomes aroused, possibly orgasmic, while watching him swing a sword around. Other than the possibility of losing a limb this is about the safest sex in which two people can engage since they are about 20 feet apart. This also may be to establish the Asian boss as more insane and therefore more dangerous than the more run of the mill Italian mobster.
The two stories come together when the husband goes to a strip club on the last night of the honeymoon, his wife being indisposed by her menstrual cycle. This goes beyond weird, of course, but there he is with a couple of guys he met while on a tour, being hustled by a gorgeous American born Chinese who speaks perfect Cantonese. She gets him drunk or drugs him and her confederates roll him. They are upset that he doesnt have any money left so they take his hotel key to rob his room where they encounter his wife and kidnap her. These criminals are part of the Chinese gang and plan to use their latest victim as an unwilling prostitute or performer in pornographic videos.
The husband, played by Chan Kwok-Bong (listed as Chan Kwok Pong in the credits) returns to their room to find his wife missing and the room ransacked. He doesnt speak English, knows no one in the city and is faced with a shattering loss. The husband returns to the club to entreat the bar girl to help him find his wifeto tell him what happened the night before, essentially trying to recruit her to help find help find his wife. He is tossed out by the bouncers who are also the guys who robbed him. He winds up posting pictures of his wife in various spots around town (in the tradition of fish out of water movies he somehow knows his way around the city) and inexorably returns to the strip club. He approaches one of the strippers who have been roughly thrown into a car by a thug and she tells him if he will help her get away she will help him find his wife. This is where the movie could finally get interesting but the focus switches to the porn business, specifically showing the filming of two actresses having sex in the back seat of a limousine. If one is offended, bored or just doesnt like pornography much of the movie from this point on will be offensive, boring or unlikable. Whatever the reason, I found it unwatchable although I did manage to see a very bloody shootout between the two ethnically based gangs, won by the Chinese.
I skipped to the end of the movie where there was a confrontation between the Chinese mob boss and the husband in a warehouse. The mobster is finally dispatchedI assumed that all of his underlings had been dealt withand as the unreadable final credits roll the honeymooners are safely in a cab on their way to the airport and a flight back to Hong Kong.
While this has largely been a plot summary, there really isnt much more to say about Gates of Hell. There are no interesting characters, (other than the girlfriend of the Chinese boss and I dont think she has any lines other than moans) no discernable thematic content and a lot of gratuitous porn that may have been dropped in from another movie.
Not recommended, even with a heavy hand on the fast forward button