Lady Punisher

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“Lan, our relation is abnormal.”

lady punisherThis obscurist Hong Kong revenge flick is a little different, mainly because the couple at the heart of the film are lesbians. Admittedly, this is largely for crass, exploitative purposes: the dialogue quoted above, pretty much confirms the makers want to tut-tut disapprovingly at the love that dare not speak its name, while simultaneously depicting it in salacious detail. Such is the nature of Cat III in the mid-90’s, this seems to want to be something like Naked Killer, released two years earlier to this in 1992, but just doesn’t have the desire to go for the full delirious insanity, necessary to pull the concept off. Particularly in the middle section, it drags horribly, with the story diverting off into the usual triad drug-smuggling, betrayal and cop investigations that we’ve seen a million times before.

Quite what our heroine (Yi – some sources call the actress Tsui Man Wah, who may or may not be the same person!) is doing during this time isn’t clear. She initially seems all gung-ho for it, after her girlfriend is raped and murdered during a holiday in Thailand, and even takes out a pimp, whom she sees smacking around one of his employees. But then, she seems to forget all about her vengeance, until one of the perps comes strolling into the dress shop she runs – looking to make a bulk purchase, bizarrely. She lures him back to her apartment with the promise of dressmaking tips or something (okay, it’s more the something), and kills him. To help with the rest of the gang, she enlists the services of a female neighbour, who has been courting her with flowers, creepy phone messages and generally behaving more like a problem than a solution. But, whatever. This is a Cat III movie, and people exercising common sense is not something to expect. Especially where lesbians are concerned.

Down the stretch, this does finally manage to generate some energy, with a final confrontation which is not unimpressive. However, it’s definitely a case of too little, too late, and this is one of those “forgotten films,” where you can understand exactly why it ended up on the discard pile. I’m in agreement with history on this one.

Dir: Tony Liu
Star: Sophia Yi, Tommy Wong, Gong Hiu-Hung, Shing Fui-On

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