Sunday, February 21, 2010

Another Hong Kong Soundtrack Sampling - Viva Erotica

It has been a while since I put up a soundtrack so here is one from the Leslie Cheung/Hsu Chi/Karen Mok film Viva Erotica produced in 1996. That was when I saw it as well and so honestly I recall very little of the music except the rousing surf guitar piece that I think opened the film. The soundtrack CD has a mysterious 24 selections on it which confuses me a lot since the film could not have had that much music - so I think there may be music on the CD that is not in the film but I think the ones I have included were. I thought it was a clever film and a nice step upward for Hsu Chi to appear in an edgy somewhat arty film about a serious director being forced to make a Cat III film for money. Hsu Chi's Mango character is wonderfully vulnerable, ditzy and desirable. Here are six selections from the soundtrack. I'll keep it up here for a week or so and then move it to that other Blog where all the music is being stored by a friend.

The music has been moved here.

Wow - a new Hong Kong review site! I didn't think anyone was crazy enough to do that any more. It's like buying stock in suspenders. It looks like Bullets over Chinatown has been around for a few months but I am as always late to the party. Welcome. Any one who has the nerve to review The Mystery of the Big Boobs is alright by me!

I have continued my gentle tiptoeing through Euro genre films from the 1970's - this time into Italian crime films. Two US distributors - Blue Underground and No Shame - have picked up a number of these films and put out very fine DVD's and at least in my slim pickings so far, made good choices of films. The 1970's was a chaotic time in Italy where crime was an enormous problem - the USA was going through something similar - and this led to a lot of cops and robbers films about society trying to fight back - we had our Dirty Harry, Italy had their share of tough cinematic cops stomping on criminals as well. The production values of the films are topnotch - these are not cheapy knockoffs - with great stunts, loads of realistic shoot outs, frenetic chases on foot, car, motorcycle, helicoptor and even planes, funky music, fascinating location shooting and needless to say some beautiful actresses. Not knowing anything really, I have been very pleasantly surprised at how good these films are.

Heroin Busters (1977), directed by Enzo Castellari - is fairly conventional in plot terms as the police try to bust a heroin ring but it is well executed. David Hemmings (11 years after his classic Blowup) works for Interpol and is attempting to plant one of his men (Fabio Testi, an action star in Italy) undercover in the gang. Fast moving with a terrific ending that is a giant set piece as Fabio is chased by the gang all over town, in the Metro, in a historical site and on motorcycle. Excellent film. And it begins in Hong Kong! English soundtrack only.

The Trailer:

Gambling City (1975), directed by Sergio Martino - is a different kind of crime film, one without cops - just criminals of different shades. Luca (Luc Merenda) strolls into a posh illegal gambling casino in Milan and wins a bucket full of money with some slight of hand. The big boss of the casino notices this but instead of beating Luca up invites him to become one of his in-house gamblers - 10% to Luca, the rest to the house. Only one rule - don't lose. Luca doesn't lose at cards, but instead loses his head by seducing the boss's son's girlfriend (the astonishingly green-eyed and beautiful Dayle Haddon). This leads to all sorts of twists and a grand finale of a chase along the highway with the Mediterranean below. Again excellent. English and Italian soundtrack.

The Trailer:

Colt 38 Special Squad (1976), directed by Massimo Dallamano - is a suspenseful and frantic film with the cops looking for bombers. Inspector Vanni (Marcel Bozzuffi, another stalwart in these kinds of films) becomes obsessed with tracking down a crime lord after he kills Vanni's wife in return for Vanni killing his brother. Vanni forms a special squad of tough guys who are allowed to use the Colt 38 and they are put to the test when the crime lord begins blowing up the city and promises to continue till he is paid off. Not a fat minute thrown in - the film is all business with hair breath chases and shoot outs. Oh, and Grace Jones pops in to sing a song at a nightclub! English and Italian soundtrack.

The Trailer:

Street Law (1974), directed by Enzo Castellari - has a great reputation on the Internet from what I read but was actually my least favorite of these and brought on some impatience on my part. But I admit it was shallow of me - I was looking for a Death Wish knockoff (as the DVD hints at) but actually got a more layered and realistic story. It begins with a bang - a lot of bangs - as we witness Italy falling into a crime state with robberies and murders becoming a daily diet. Carlo (Franco Nero, an action icon in both crime films and westerns) is taken hostage during a bank robbery and afterwards swears revenge. He sets out to get it by tracking the robbers down even though his girlfriend (Barbara Bach in a pretty bland role) begs him not to. But every time Carlo comes face to face with violence he shies off - at times actually cowering - realistic probably but not what I was looking for in an action revenge film. English soundtrack only.

The Trailer:


Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the Viva Erotica songs! It definitely ranks among my all-time favorite HK films. I thought it was brilliant and funny, and a great drama to boot. Not least, the image of Hsu Chi with blue lipstick overacting an orgasm will be seared in my mind forever. ;)

Brian said...

Now you have just seared the image in mine! Just what I needed!