Monday, November 23, 2009

Pinky Cheung - Photos and Film Review

Here is a little Pinky for your viewing pleasure. In a comment Steve asked (tongue in cheek I presume) for a critical reappraisal of Pinky Cheung’s career! I only wish I could but I don’t have much to say about Pinky other than I enjoy watching her on the screen for her teasing sexuality, her mischievous attitude, her “anything goes” eyes and the fact that she looks especially good covered in blood. She had the misfortune of getting into the movie business in the year of the Handover, 1997, when many film people were scattering to the four winds and the film industry went into the doldrums that it has never really come out of. There was a large decline in the number of films produced and a big drop off in budgets. So in her fifty odd movies, the vast majority of them have been in fairly forgettable low budget horror/crime/exploitation films in which Pinky was often the best thing going for it. She has yet to make it to the next level of stardom, remaining mired in these “B” films but she has still managed to garner some discerning fans like myself! Here is a Pinky fun fact – her character’s name in seven of her films has been Pinky. Lazy scriptwriters or learning disability, I wonder? For me these are her Must See performances for those who want to join the Cult of Pinky:

Raped by an Angel III – Pinky does a strip tease that will fog your screen and also gets drenched in blood. Not at the same time, regrettably.

Horoscope II – Pinky has an evil sorceress move in next door ladling out curses on Pinky and her husband leading to scene in which a baby is yanked out of Pinky’s stomach.

The Dark Rose – bad movie, great Pinkie as she is kidnapped, tied up, thrown into a suitcase, attacked by snakes and then to top if off she has her period. Now that’s a lousy day.

Raped by an Angel 5 – another bad film but Pinky joins a vigilante group of raped women looking for vengeance but still has time for a deep tongue bashing with another woman. Her first on screen kiss with a female but not her last.

Erotic Nightmare – Pinky is the battered tortured wife of a psycho dream weaver but gets her just revenge in the end.

Devil Touch – reviewed below.

Here and here are some Pinky pictures

Devil Touch
Director: Billy Tang

Billy Tang of Red to Kill and Run and Kill fame had lowered the queasy factor considerably by 2002 due to changing audience taste, but he still throws in a few enjoyably gruesome moments in this corporate thriller. One would think that with Hong Kong having become a city of skyscrapers and multinational corporations, that there would be more films dealing with corporate shenanigans but off the top of my head none come to mind. Not that this is a subtle discerning exploration of corporate greed and deal making, but one would not expect that from Tang as he fills the screen with backstabbing, blackmail, ambition, seduction and murder.

A large corporation is in the process of secret and delicate merger negotiations and all the contenders for the top job are trying to outmaneuver one another and if that doesn’t work, then sabotage is the order of the day. Mr. Cheuk (Michael Tiu Dai-yue) appears to be the leading candidate for the CEO job until his ex-secretary Amy (Iris Chai) attacks him in his office with a knife and accuses him of previously raping her. The owner of the company (Henry Fong) brings in Joe (Alex Fong) to shift through the evidence and decide what the truth is. Cheuk claims it was mutual seduction, Amy claims it was a brutal rape – in the end Amy is bought off with a corporate check and Cheuk sent off on suspension. Was he set up or not?

But there are twists within turns as nothing is quite as it seems and no one is to be trusted, especially Jacqueline (Pinky Cheung), an ambitious woman who is determined to break the glass ceiling even if she has to do it with a ball peen hammer, a vegetable slicer or a chainsaw. This is a woman you literally do not want to turn your back on – ever. Pinky brings this film to life whenever she shows up and thankfully she dominates the second half and wrests the film from a bunch of anemic male performances. Pinky is in true psycho mode here and we are blessed not only with a modest lesbian sex scene but also getting to see Pinky in red – blood red that is on a few occasions. It is far from a good film, but whenever Pinky is in it, it is more than watchable.

My rating for this film: 6.0

Not Exactly Asian but sort of Asian Related Watching.

A little bit ago Glenn over on his Blog, A Pessimist is Never Disappointed, made a post regarding Tsai Chin, who played Fu Manchu’s daughter in some six films during the 1960’s in which Fu Manchu was essayed by of course another Caucasian, Christopher Lee. It put me in the mood though to revisit some Fu Manchu movies and I found one in my budget public domain section in the hallway. When I was a kid I vaguely recollect reading some of the Fu Manchu books by Sax Rohmer and of course not knowing any better I became terrified of the Yellow Peril! Though Sax (who apparently really did hate the Chinese) wrote this series of novels beginning in 1912 and didn’t stop until his death in 1959, the threat of the Yellow Peril took on a new urgency in the 1950’s and 1960’s with the Communist China/McCarthy scare that ensued thus creating a perfect environment for a new spate of movies about Fu Manchu. The first Fu Manchu films were silent ones produced in the 1920’s and others followed though his Golden Age in film was definitely the Christopher Lee ones – though quite honestly they are not very good. What I found on my DVD shelf was The Adventures of Fu Manchu and it turned out to be four episodes from a 1956 TV series! They are pretty tatty but still for 1956, they are surprisingly exotic, violent and seductive. Most of the episodes take place in Hong Kong though stock footage is clearly being used for exterior scenes. In each episode Fu Manchu (played by Glen Gordon) with his dwarf assistant and his Egyptian concubine Karamaneh plot to take over the world only to be thwarted by Sir Dennis Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie. Each episode ends with Fu knocking over a black piece on a chess board signifying defeat yet one more time.

The kookiest show was when Fu Manchu teams up with a still alive Adolph Hitler. Who could possibly stop such a dynamic devious duo? Well, as it turns out about 4 guys with revolvers. The best thing about the series for me though was the discovery of another beautiful B actress, Laurette Luez, who plays Karamaneh like exotic catnip to snare white guys. She is a total hottie and doing a bit of research on her I discovered she had a few interesting moments in her life – good friend to Marilyn Monroe while she was still Norma Jean and helped her choose her new name and a litany of broken romances and marriages. Her biggest film was as an Indian woman in Kim where she is romanced by an aging Errol Flynn. She died in 1999.

I have not really been following Korean films for a while and so just saw the sad news that Jang Jin-young died of cancer in September at the age of 37. She broke the mold of most of the cutie pie Korean actresses with all the plastic surgery; remaining attractive but not beautiful, tough but vulnerable in her roles, she always felt real. I was surprised by how many of her films I have seen – The Foul King, Sorum, Over the Rainbow, The Scent of Love, Singles, Between Love and Hate and Blue Swallow. Very sad. RIP.


Glenn, kenixfan said...

"public domain section in the hallway" -- I think we need to see pics of your collection.

A friend of mine just bought his first house. Not much furniture yet but DVDs and CDs on shelves in every room.

How is it that I like Pinky Cheung and have not seen any of those films? I think either Love Cruise or Sex and the Beauties were the first things I noticed her in. Maybe I should check out the exploitative stuff now.

ewaffle said...

I hadn't realized it but Pinky does wind up covered with blood in more than a few of her movies--generally blood and very little else. She is, for me, one of the "Scream Queens" of Hong Kong. If she had started her career ten years earlier her filmography might not have many higher quality (bigger budget) movies on it but it might be twice as long.

Brian said...

Glenn - a while back I actually took some picts of all my dvds scattered thru my apartment but never put them up in fear that it would scare girls off from writing me passionate love letters! Especially when you see that I have tossed out most of my pots and pans and other cooking utensils in order to fit vcds and cds into cabinets in the kitchen. Oddly, I have still have not received any love letters! Maybe I should have a blog on dogs or something? Clearly Asian films hasn't done the trick.

Ewaffle - probably true - its hard to see what other kinds of films Pinky would really have fit into - still I'd love to see Johnny To give her a role as something in one of his films no matter how small. She deserves it for all the beatings she has had to take.

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