Three nubile women detectives tracking down adultery, greed and murder might be an eyeful but in the hands of Liu Kei, the king of crass, it's a real sorry case of misadventure. Stephen Tan reviews.


Imagine a no-holds-barred Charlie's Angels, especially when it comes to sex. That's how James Liu Kei's The Foxy Ladies (1978) has been marketed.


The film opens promisingly with a take-off of the James Bond movies. Instead of having nude silhouettes dancing in the background, you get the real deal in The Foxy Ladies. The credit sequence has nude women doing what could have been floor exercises (you can't really call that a dance) but that's a moot point. If the red-blooded guys in the audience are not captivated by what's on screen, then they are probably in the wrong movie.

Shengfu, who is married to Percy, is out with Mary on a yacht. He invites her for a dive which she refuses and then she proceeds to go sunbathing. So far so good. Next we hear that the young man never surfaced from his dive, is presumed dead and his elderly but mega-rich mother, Mrs Zhou, wants to get to the bottom of the situation. She then seeks the help of a private detective agency run by Frankie Wei, who is aided by Ai Ti, Ling Tai (stars of Starlets For Sale) and Ho Yin.

Once a heartthrob in '60s Cantonese black-and-white movies, Liu Kei quickly moved to become one Shaw's (if not Hongkong's) leading directors of erotic movies. While there is not much sex in The Foxy Ladies, there is a good bit of nudity. Amy, who is a friend of the Zhou family, comes out of the shower to put on a dress; after being drugged, she is stripped and raped by a man she met at a disco; another bathroom scene, this time, it's Ho Yin, who is not shy of showing off her assets, coming out of the shower. Daughter-in-law Percy is stripped before being raped (not once but twice) and, in a flashback, Mary, who is sleeping with Shengfu, wakes up to put on some clothing. And there's a dancing scene involving the three girls, not in the nude, but in their undies (is this where Tom Cruise got the idea for his act in Risky Business?).

It all transpires that Percy, who discovers Shengfu in bed with Mary and is then beaten up by her husband, remarking to Shengfu's friend, Xing, that she wanted her husband dead. Xing, who is in love with Percy, dutifully does the needful with his accomplices. In the process, greed comes into play (as Percy stands to inherit millions) and Percy is also marked for death.


The film really goes downhill the moment the old lady steps into the agency. To introduce his detectives to the prospective client, Frankie Wei has the girls dressed up in trenchcoats and fake moustaches - no points for guessing who that is going to fool. To get to know the members of the Zhou family (the likely suspects), the team pretends to be Taoist priests performing an exorcist ceremony (that ends with a bit of line dancing). And the jaw-dropping moment in the movie - when Ling Tai has to muzzle a guard dog with her panty! But late in the movie, the film makes a sudden turn by venturing into gory, bloodshed territory one is used to see in Chen Kuan-tai Teahouse-type of movies. Forget about logic and common sense here. If there's any interest in the plot, well, that soon dissipates. With The Foxy Ladies, it's obvious that director Liu was not content with being the King of Porn, he wanted to be the King Of Crass as well.

Note: The Foxy Ladies (Celestial) is reissued only on VCD and is not available in $ingapore.

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