|The Girls From China (1992)|
|Director:||Barry Lee Ying-Lok|
|Starring:||Isabelle Chow, Pauline Chan, Jimmy Au Shui-Wai, and Charlie Cho|
|The Plot: Chow Ying (Isabelle Chow) is a naive young woman from the mainland who arrives in Hong Kong looking to lead her dream life. However, when she first makes it to the island she is picked up by an uncle who quickly shows himself to be a disgusting pervert. Ying quickly moves out and starts working at a cosmetic counter in a small store. While here, she begins a small relationship with one of her co-workers, a young man named Kent, but Ying isn’t ready to settle down yet. She moves out and takes a few classes in order to learn to sell insurance, and this new direction finally sets her on the path to riches and glory. Ying finds herself seducing potential customers, and after she solidifies a few big contracts, she is finally her own woman. After this, her love life becomes a roller coaster that inevitably leads to Kent showing up in her life again – but he reveals that he is actually a madman who wants to torture the beautiful Ying. Will Ying survive her encounters with this lunatic, or will her new lifestyle drag her into a cesspool of debauchery?
Unfortunately, as much as I find myself delving into the potential-subtext of the movie, I can’t say that I loved Girls From China. It is a movie that definitely has its moments, and it never strays from its sexploitation roots, but the main problems I have with the movie is its ridiculously episodic nature. I am rarely a fan of telling a story through numerous subplots, but if a filmmaker can manage to tie them all together in a way that makes the jumbled narrative work, then all can be forgiven. Unfortunately, this movie is not a fine example of that particular scenario. Unfortunately, The Girls From China is all over the place and rarely keeps up with its own continuity. Between each very “big” moment in the film, the movie loses various characters who are introduced and various actions take place that go unexplained. Somewhere in the middle of the movie, Isabelle Chow gets a brand new haircut in the midst of changing her occupation, but there is no rhyme or reason explained of this. While the character is obviously making a very distinct change in her life in terms of her occupation, the film goes from one scene with her having long hair and then jumps right into a new scene where she is rocking a much shorter hairstyle. Then there are the characters who jump in and out of the movie. The entire reason that Isabelle’s character Ying ever even left her hometown was to come stay with her uncle, but after he attempts molesting her we never even hear about his character again. He is in the movie for around five minutes, if that. Pauline Chan is shown in a glorified cameo, and her character suffers a similar fate. She serves a small purpose in the film, and she is quickly tossed out of the picture.