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古惑女之決戰江湖 (1996)
Sexy and Dangerous

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 06/16/2007

“Sexy and Dangerous” is a wonderful example of how Hong Kong filmmakers can switch genres in mid-scene, in this case from a screwball comedy a hard edged crime drama and still produce a captivating and coherent movie. While a formal and esthetic mess with incongruous and seemingly inappropriate situations coming out of nowhere—the brutal murder of a triad chieftain in a romantic comedy, a goofy switch of identities in a gangster film—the rapid changes of tone allow Wong Jing to solve a nagging problem. The problem is how to keep the different members of an ensemble cast occupied while keeping the movie from bogging down.

Ensemble casts can be tricky. Some are outstanding, including "M.A.S.H." and "Short Cuts" by Robert Altman. Others are not, including "Dr. T and the Women" and "The Company" also by Robert Altman. There have been masterpieces, such as "Twelve Angry Men" and train wrecks like the Blake Edwards remake of "The Man Who Loved Women". “Sexy and Dangerous shows Wong at his best: enough humor, heroism, action, skullduggery and pathos for two movies; a maniacally fast pace so that the viewer doesn’t have a chance to ask “what was that all about” before he is involved in the next outrageous episode; the stars in the cast upstaged by veteran actors with hundreds of roles in their credits. “Sexy and Dangerous makes fun of itself with a few postmodern winks and nods to the camera, the filmmaker and cast never take themselves seriously but are serious about delivering an entertaining ninety minutes. It is a badly flawed and very entertaining film.

Small parts of two scenes, one which is over in a flash the other which takes place at the edge of the frame and away from the focus of the action, show real attention to detail either by Wong Jing or those working with him. The first take place in the girl’s apartment. George's parents are being primed to replace Fai Chick's who are supposed to meet their prospective in-laws but Fai’s mother is in prison and her father is a fugitive. George’s parents, perfectly played by Wong Yat-Fei and Mimi Chu Mai-Mai are less than perfect substitutes. He is a producer of pornographic videos and she is a dealer (and a cheat) at a casino. The parents, George and the girls are having a rollicking time getting to know each other while Marianne Chan Miu-Ying (Fai) does a very funny silent bit. She is confused, a bit outraged, and obviously fearing the worst. Her facial expressions and body language let us know how much is at stake here—it is her fiance’s parents she is trying to fool—and also ground the scene and those that follow in that reality.

The other snippet of a scene may be one that action director Dion Lam Dik-On put together for actor Dion Lam Dik-On who plays Brother One’s consigliore, bodyguard and general factotum. Brother One is threatened by the leader of a rival gang who escalates the level of hostilities by pulling a pistol. Lam slides in front of Brother One and puts his hand in his jacket possibly ready to produce his own gun but clearly willing to be hit by a bullet meant for his boss. He also, for just a second, takes over the center of the frame and becomes the focus of the action, combining bravery and self-sacrifice in his character with a bit of sly grandstanding.

The movie is held together by the courtship of Marble by George, paired with the chaste but obsessive love for her by Brother One. To say that George is a low ranking triad soldier is like saying that plankton is low on the food chain while Brother One is a handsome, charismatic and wealthy gang leader. Brother One feels guilty about abandoning Marble in order to try to save his boss during an assassination attempt while George doesn’t feel guilty or much of anything besides horny although his basic goodness is shown when he refuses to take advantage of Marble after his parents slip an aphrodisiac into her (and his) tea. Marble is one of three happy go lucky prostitutes who don’t spend much time sleeping with customers but who are nevertheless paid well. The distaff side of things is completed by Van Chai, played by the incredibly talented Karen Mok, a very tough and very tattooed enforcer.

In addition to George’s parents other small but important and generally very funny roles are filled by Shing Fui-On who seems to be a tough but (as he puts it) “abnormal” triad leader who buys Marble’s services for an evening, Spencer Lam Seung-Yi as Wai’s father an impossibly pompous and narrow-minded school administrator and Lee Kin-Yan who plays Yan, George’s only underling who decides that the restaurant business is more profitable and less risky than being a gangster.


Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 10/10/2005
Summary: a rousing spin-off

This is a rousing spin-off of Young and Dangerous films that were so wildly popular in Hong Kong in 1996. Director Billy Tang shows some skill in this effort, the most successful film of his early career. Karen Mok plays Van, the female version of Jordan Chan's Chicken[Cock] character. Mok is awesome in this film. Her performance alone is enough for me to recommend this movie.

Loletta Lee plays Marble, a club girl and Michael Tong plays Brother One, leader of the Hung Yee Society. These two star crossed lovers are being kept apart by fate and triad machinations. Tong sports long hair and, gee whiz, he looks like Chan Ho Nam! Francis Ng plays George, a street level triad who is just the opposite of his character in the original film series. As usual, Ng turns in a deliciously quirky performance. Watch for producer Lee Siu Kei in a cameo role in an early scene.

copyright 2001 J. Crawford

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/17/2005

Wong Jing is known for many things, his ability to capitalize on current trends being foremost among them. So it should really come as no surprise that a mere three weeks after the popular Young and Dangerous came out (a film which Wong also had a hand in producing) that this knock off premiered. Though not part of the Y&D series in any way, S&D is obviously trying to capture the same audience, down to using some of the same actors and displaying similar themes, with brother(sister)hood being the most prominent.

Even though the plot (which follows a group of rascals/hostesses led by Lee) might lend itself to exploitation, S&D is more of a serious crime drama. Though there are plenty of shots of the ladies looking very good, the emphasis here is on telling a story and not T&A. Thankfully, most of the cast is up to the job. Karen Mok gives one of her best performances as the cropped-haired enforcer Van, and Francis Ng does a unique turn as the weaselly George, who wears his "49" shirt (the number signifies the lowest rank in Triad society) but then turns almost into a hero near the end. There are a few clunkers, such as Michael Tong (who plays a Ekin Cheng ripoff, right down to cheesy long hair and even worse dialogue), but overall the young cast does a good job, pulled forth by Billy Tang's tight direction. The action isn't as violent as some of Tang's other films, but it does fit the movie well and keeps it going.

If you enjoy the "young Triad" movies or haven't yet checked out the genre, Sexy and Dangerous warrants a viewing. While nothing revolutionary, it is a solid crime movie that should provide some good entertainment.

[review from]

Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 10/11/2003
Summary: You Could Do Worse

A group of tough gang girls battle rival gangs, jealous girlfriends, and broken hearts. This is intended to be visually stimulating, not intellectually, and it is. Loletta Lee looks particularly good as Marble, the leader of the informal gang, though that's about all she does (not that that isn't plenty enough!). Unfortunately for me, there's a lot of fast dialogue and my eyes were focused on the subtitles most of the time.

It seems a little silly to speak of the quality of the acting in a movie like this, but Francis Ng gives a stand out performance in playing against type as George, a low level triad with visions of grandeur and nothing to back them up. And, as always, Karen Mok impressed me, taking what little the writer gave her and making something of it on her own.

I think this was designed as a spinoff of Young and Dangerous (though there are no references to it), a kind of "The girls of Young & Dangerous." If you want an excellent look at the girl side of the Y&D world, get Portland Street Blues. This is more the fluff look. It takes itself seriously (though there are a lot of comedy scenes), but if you don't it can be enjoyable. 7 out of 10, based Francis Ng and Karen Mok.

By the way, the Mei Ah DVD I got has absolutely no extras. In fact there isn't even a menu. If you're going to get it, save a couple bucks and buy the VCD.

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 01/11/2002

Run of the mill young triad offering, made to cash in on the popularity of the Y&D movies. However, this Billy Tang-helmed film has a few good things going for it, including the excellent cast, with good performances by Karen Mok and Loletta Lee. Francis Ng is the standout, however - he steals every scene he's in...

The film starts out slow, but picks up considerably once the villains (Aids, and Lurcher -- you gotta love those English character names...) are introduced. The plot moves along in predictable fashion, never steering from the Y&D formula, but the interplay between the girls is fun to watch, and the inevitable big showdown at the end is effectively staged. Recommended, if you like the genre.

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 06/15/2001
Summary: Surprisingly .... Excellent

I put off watching this one for a long time. Just another spinoff/ripoff of Young And Dangerous, right ?

There are plenty of parallels with and motifs from Y&D, as well as a few of the same actors. But S&D is at least as enjoyable and, in some areas, even better. For instance, a lot of this film is simply hilarious ! The antics of the girls with George, and George's lecherous parents provide much of the amusement.

S&D is pretty much an ensemble piece. Given this, it is remarkable how many of the characters manage to be more than one-dimensional. The standout is Francis Ng as George, a bragging buffoon with a sentimental nature, very much the opposite of Ugly Kwan, his role in Y&D. I certainly can't imagine Ben Ng's character treating Ugly as nadly as he treats George. Ng does a star turn with his character, playing very much against his normal nasty villain type. This is now my very favourite Francis Ng performance.

Perennial good-girl victim Lily Chung also plays against type as the vindictive bitch named Aids (!). She even gets to dish out punches and kicks in a wild fight scene, as opposed to being on the receiving end. Although it could be argues she ends up still being a victim, it's a refreshing change to see perhaps HK's sexiest woman (my opinion) showing that she really can act.

Of course, Karen Mok too does a great job of a somewhat limited role. Less successful is Loletta Lee, who looks lovely but basically wears the same expression throughout and pretty much sleepwalks through her part. George refers to Tersa Mak's character Little Star as "Big Tits", again displaying the Hongkie liking for stating the bleeding obvious. Unfortunately, Teresa suffers from the same restrictions as Loletta here, and her character is as underdeveloped as her bosoms are overdeveloped.

As I mentioned above, Wong Yat Fei and Mimi Chu are a scream as George's mum and dad. Their antics are worth renting the video aone, as is Francis Ng's performance.

Even Michael Tong does okay. Poor guy was given the brief to cover a part equivalent to Dior Cheng. I can just see the director saying to him "Look ! You're trying to be Dior. Try to act more wooden". Despite this impost, Tong manages to show quite a bit of emotion, and make his character a little more than one-dimensional.

At his best, producer Wong Jing is THE master of giving the audience what they want, and by the bucketload. Along these lines, I'd compare S&D with Wong's God of Gamblers Return, as one of Wong Jing's best achievements. It's pretty shallow, somewhat of a soap opera, but seems to cover a lot of feelings and human interactions, and it whips along at a cracking pace. Despite some of the above reservations, this one is highly recommended.

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: hktopten
Date: 12/21/1999

Fun but pointless exercise in female triad recruitment. Francis Ng Chun Yu continues to shine playing the opposite of his character in Young and Dangerous with George. Loletta Lee is somewhat convincing as Marble, but still not as great as Karen Morris doing her female version of Chicken. All and all a decent film, but I just can't understand why these supposedly independant woman are so dependant on man.

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

An offshoot of the immensely successful Young and Dangerousseries, which generated sequels in litters. Long-haired adonis Brother One of the Hung Yee triad society is one of the biggest, -- and most honorable -- gangsters in town. Now that he's accumulated a small fortune, he wants to get back together with Marble (Loletta Lee), his estranged girlfriend, who seems torn between him and a frankly pathetic guy named George, who lives next door and has his own lamentable gang of two or three. Marble is part of an all-girl gang (most of them cuties) who wear skimpy, shiny nylon clothing and double as hookers in between cigarettes. She's tough, but sorta sentimental, too. Troubles come in the form of rivals for Brother One's business in Tsimshatsui, who orchestrate a series of deceptions and revenge murders to overturn his small empire. The plot first leads you to the notion that you're watching yet another seriocomic revenger, then comes up with a series of interesting plot twists, changes of alliance, and fights that appear out of nowhere -- not to mention laugh-out-loud gags. In other words, it's another low-budgeter what does a few things well without the detractor or being a triad recruitment epic.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 6