If you got into Hong Kong films in the last couple of years, you'd be forgiven (I guess) for not being familiar with the rape/revenge genre. These fine flicks, a staple of the late 80's and early 90's, traded in deliberately nauseating but stylish rape imagery, its grisly, traumatic aftermath, and the obligatory revenge. Usually, the revenge was far bloodier and more permanent than the rape itself. Traditionally, the rapist and his cohorts came to a sad end. If you want to get sticky with these beauties, I suggest a mini home movie festival. Be sure to include Red to Kill, Love to Kill, Her Vengeance, The Untold Story, Peeping Tom, The Rape After, Dr. Lamb, and Diary of a Serial Rapist. Most of these have been lovingly praised on this blog. I won't call them guilty pleasures as I experienced no shame enjoying them. Hopefully, you won't either. If you do, perhaps this blog is not in your future stars.
Juno Mak is a glutton for punishment in Revenge: A Love Story
If a return to Hong Kong-style rape-revenge gets your engine revving, please consider Ching-Po Wong's Revenge - a Love Story (Fuk sau che chi sei; 2010), a cracking, marginally improbably rape-revenge sickie with a generous helpings of perversion. Not surprisingly, I loved it. In addition to the traditional elements of this unfairly maligned genre, you get a Japanese porn actress (the mouth-watering Sora Aoi) leading the cast's vagina brigade, and you get a subplot involving fetus buns ripped from pregnant ovens. It would be spoiling matters to reveal the plot's specifics, but I'm going to step out on a limb and recommend this baby with minimal reservations.
As noted above, credibility does get its muscles strained towards the end, but my irritation faded when I wisely decided to accept that if you'd been stabbed and filled with bullets on several occasions, you'd still be capable of kicking rapist butt, anyway. You'd have a few minor abrasions and you'd limp like a three-legged mutt, but bullets and torture wouldn't prevent you from achieving your sociopathic goals.
Actress Sora Aoi has a healthy adult film career in Japan
The film's lighting and post-grading are sensational thanks to the talented Jimmy Wong, who also shot the delightful Extreme Ecstasy: Sex and Zen, the 3-D must-see. Juno Mak, who plays the film's hero and victim by association, is superb in a physically demanding turn. The film's fight choreography is solid, the gore is splashy, and the bad guy is one foul muthafucking see (c) you (u) next (n) tuesday (t). Where Revenge A Love Story rises to the upper ranks of its above-mentioned brethren is in its balls-to-the-wall portrayal of a sickeningly evil villain. This guy made me physically angry as he proposed raping a traumatized young woman and carried it out over and over again (in a police station, by Crikey!). Are the rape scenes full-on, you ask? They're not Red to Kill, but they're filmed to muster maximum outrage from the audience and they're lit like an expensive TV commercial for vomit.
Accolades must go to production company 852 Films and producers Andrew Ooi and Josie Ho for soldiering forth with yet another graphic horror pic that ignores China's recent influence on Hong Kong's movie production. Since the communists took back Hong Kong, their filthy, conservative influence has been felt in the colony, and films possessing the gruesome, lurid, graphic content that was once celebrated by the Category III rating have been as rare lately as penises at a lezbo gangbang. I reviewed 852's last film, Dream Home, in a recent blog, and, despite my admiration for it, had several reservations about its muddled structure. Revenge-A Love Story has no such structural deficits, and manages to unfold in a novel way thanks to a script that knows what it is and a director who squeezes maximum dramatic juice from its creative nipples.
The Panorama Blu-Ray, recently released, sports a dashing, low contrast transfer (which suits the film's muted color scheme), and includes four mini movies centering on different aspects of the project.
I assume broader distribution is imminent. If it isn't, someone fucked up.
Some recent criticism that the film is hypocritical (rallying against violence while writhing in its excesses) is old news to me and predictable. Most rape-revenge thrillers are "guilty" of having it both ways. In fact, it's virtually impossible to make good exploitation without the moral outrage. The two have always gone hand in hand.