ASIAN VALUES DVD REVIEW
When he was
a young actor starring opposite Connie Chan Po Chu in '60s black-and-white
Cantonese movies, Liu Kei (Lu Chi) was always considered a screen
heartthrob. In the '70s and into the '80s, as a Shaw filmmaker,
with movies such as Oriental Playgirls, Adultery Chinese Style,
Sexy Girls Of Denmark and Starlets For Sale, Lui Kei was also
known as the King Of Porn. But the kind of "porn" Liu was making
was really very, very soft porn.
Take 36 Secrets Of Courtship (1982) for example. A title such
as 36 Secrets certainly raises one's expectations - it could have
been a delightful parody of Lui Chia-Liang's 36 Chambers Of Shaolin
and the film's opening certainly gives that impression. Various
young men attend The Macho Man Training Centre to learn the art
of seducing women. Moving from class to class (or chamber to chamber),
they learn the importance of appearing generous when dating women;
and the deft use of fingers, waist and tongue (the latter as in
the need to be a smooth talker).
of the school dies suddenly leaving behind his attractive wife,
Ai Ti; and three men teachers vie to be the next head. A quest
is set and the person who successfully woos his "target" will
be the headmaster. Frankie Wei must court Ling Tai, a tycoon's
daughter said to be staying in a haunted mansion. Veteran actor
Wu Fung must court model Pi Ji Hua (who already has a boyfriend)
and Law Ho Kai has to court Liza Wong, who is already married.
nude scene appears in a dream sequence where Wei dreams he's being
chased by a naked, Afro-haired female ghost. Hopping around like
a kyongsi, her bouncy flesh is a welcome sight that leads viewers
to expect more. Wei is next shown overpowered by the ghost who
is lying on top of him with her tongue in his mouth. He wakes
up from his dream in fright and runs out of the house. While it
does not explain the dream, it later transpires that the "hauntings"
are mere tricks played by Ling, who is a computer expert, and
who is trying to find a brave man for a husband.
concocts an elaborate plot to get Pi into an apartment by offering
her actor boyfriend a chance to act in an international production.
The second nude scene in the film occurs when a topless Pi is
shown brushing her hair as she prepares for a birthday dinner
- talk about being in a birthday suit! In a series of encounters
that is farcically tedious, the drunken Wu finally thinks he has
scored, only to find out the next morning that he bedded Pi's
cousin instead and even proposed marriage.
no mention is made of Law's pursuit of Liza Wong and next, viewers
see the three trying to court Ai Ti, who only wants a platonic
relationship with them and later insists that the three take a
platonic love test. After failing the test, but to prove their
sincerity, the three sign over their share of the school to Ai
Ti, only to realise that she had swindled them. As Law ruefully
comments at the end: "How do people get rich? It's 'cause they
simply love money and go to all lengths to get rich."
Lui must have come across lecherous characters in the movies he
had acted in and what would he do with them if he really had the
power to change things? Judging from the movies he made, not very
much. Liu's idea of an erotic film is to throw in a bit more nudity
(but not too much) and a bit of sex. Sure the ghost sequence is
pleasing and so is Pi at the dressing table. But what about the
attractive Ai Ti? As a comedy, the mix of slapstick and verbal
chaos (or dexterity) is nowhere inspired and, if you've watched
even a couple of these films, the viewer is already ahead of the
that Drunken Fist?
could have been a contender - the title itself is already promising
but the problem is that Liu just didn't go out far enough. He
settled for the ludicrous (what's the big deal about chasing a
model with a boyfriend?), the ridiculous (a platonic love test
that seemed to have wandered in from a Michael Hui movie) and
the tedious - the jokes aren't funny but thankfully there are
no toilet jokes though, in the spirit of things, an intoxicated
Wu doing the Drunken Fist would not have been out of place and
might even garner a couple of laughs.
The 36 Secrets Of Courtship DVD is not available in $ingapore.
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Click here for other Asian Values DVD Reviews:
Sexy Girls Of Denmark
Golden Lotus: Love And Desire
Tuhog (Larger Than Life)
Dreams Of Eroticism
Legends Of Lust
Amorous Woman Of Tang Dynasty
Hong Kong Hong Kong
Kiss Of Death
Forbidden Tales Of Two Cities
The Call Girls