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September 22nd, 2000 Issue #12

Hong Kong Digital is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- a film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author of The Hong Kong Filmography.

Raped By An Angel 4: The Rapist's Union
(1999; China Star Entertainment Group/Jing's Production): 3/10

Cover image courtesy China Star.

Keung gaan chung gik pin jui hau go yeung

Qiang jian zhong ji pian zui hou gao yang

Final Extreme Story, Final Lamb

Athena Chu Yan. Image courtesy China Star.

For part of his 1998 production slate, prolific producer Wong Jing tried producing quickie sequels to a trio of early 90s films that had successfully been sold to some Western territories. While SEX AND ZEN III and CHINESE TORTURE CHAMBER STORY II fizzled, Aman Cheung Man's RAPED BY AN ANGEL 2: THE UNIFORM FAN turned out to be one of the few success stories in a very dismal year for the industry. In contrast to the other two, this film had distinct advantages: a highly controversial poster (which had the local chapter of the Girl Scouts up in arms) and the promised sexploitation debut of perennial good girl actress, Athena Chu Yan. While these factors no doubt boosted attendance, Wong's shrewdest move was to tone the film down from Category III to IIB (which is the HK equivalent of PG-13, though just about all films with this classification would get either R or NC-17, if submitted to the MPAA), thus allowing anyone to get in. He and Cheung had RAPED BY AN ANGEL 3: SEXUAL FANTASY OF THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE in theatres four months later and, even though the take for that one was over 75% lower, Wong ploughed ahead with this fourth installment, which he wrote and directed himself.

Ben Ng Ngai-Cheung. Image courtesy China Star.

CIA agent turned HIV positive sexual predator Daniel (Ben Ng Ngai-cheung, essentially playing a more civilized version of his monstrous villain from RED TO KILL) uses his wealth and collection of high-tech gadgets to prey on unsuspecting women. After arranging for the prison breakout of notorious rapists "Rain Killer" Chan Kok-wan (Ankle Leung Chi-on) and "Tuen Mun Rapist" Ko Sheung-wai (Mang Fai), Daniel invites the men to ravage the two women he has chained in the basement. He next sets his sights on Kwan Shi-han (Suki Kwan Sau-mei), the romance novelist next door, but, first, preys on her movie star friend, Icy (Yeung Fan).

Yeung Fan. Image coutesy China Star.

Desperate for a lead, the police (including Nick Cheung Kar-fai and Athena Chu Yan, the latter reprising her role from part 2) consult a semi-reformed deviant known as "The Human Milk Drinking Doctor" (Anthony Wong Chau-sang, in an all-too typical role), who used to prey on lactating women and now controls his sexual urges by working as a porno theatre projectionist (!). In a virtual replay of the original's climax, Shi-han decides to use herself and two friends (Yuen King-tan and Sherming Yiu Lok-yi) as bait to bring Daniel and his perverted pals to justice.

Suki Kwan Sau-Mei. Image courtesy China Star.

As can be plainly seen, it is all but impossible to do a synopsis of this picture without making it sound like the most invidious concoction since BLOOD SUCKING FREAKS. However, while the film has been trimmed in a few spots to secure a IIB, it is not nearly as prurient or offensive as its target audience might hope. In fact, even though one could accurately classify this a rape comedy, RBAA4 is so torpid and witless, most viewers will be offended only by the sheer thudding inanity of it all. In addition to just about every cliche to be found in contemporary HK cinema (a doltish cop hero who forgets his gun on the one day he needs it, nightmare flashbacks to previous entries, comedienne Yuen King-tan doing breast jokes, etc.), the film has more than a few absurdities (like a writer heroine who doesn't compose a single sentence). At one point, Daniel even eludes the police in a manner that was previously utilized by a character in Wong's GOD OF GAMBLERS' RETURN; in that film, it was joke, here it's an insult. Still, RBAA4 remains of note if for no other reason than as a reminder of how much the HK movie industry still differs from the west. There, RBAA4 is a major studio picture with name talent released in dozens of theatres; here, it would not be produced outside of a small corner of the porn industry and probably be available only on mail-order video.

The Chinese title indicates that this installment brings the series to a close and yet Billy Tang Hin-sing's RAPED BY AN ANGEL 5: THE FINAL JUDGMENT showed up earlier this year. What gives? Well, the Chinese title for that one identifies it as a sequel to RBAA 2: THE UNIFORM FAN and translates into English as "Uniform Seduction 2: Underground Court!" This time, Wong Jing passed the reigns on to Lee Siu-kei and, while a trifle better from a cinematic standpoint (Billy Tang's movies almost always have good visuals, if little else), RBAA5 still offers no improvement in terms of scripting or storytelling.

VCD Specs:

China Star #VRC90019T
Digital Mono
Cantonese Left Channel/Mandarin Right Channel
Chinese and English Subtitles
Letterboxed (1.90:1)
Category IIB
83 minutes

Athena Chu Yan and Nick Cheung Ka-Fai. Image courtesy China Star.

The disc has pronounced artifacting throughout much of the running time and the wavy picture instability is sometimes comparable to what one sees on a rainy night at the drive-in. The original transfer (which presents the 1.85:1 feature at a slightly overmatted 1.90) is passable, though contrasts are quite harsh at times. The source material looks brand new (as it should, considering that the VCD appeared less than two months after the movie hit theatres) and, while the edits made for classification purposes may not be visually obvious, they certainly make mincemeat of the soundtrack. China Star also offers this on DVD and that version carries the Category III rating on the cover. However, Tim Youngs of Another Hong Kong Movies Page reports that there is no additional footage and the rating appears to be nothing more than a marketing ploy.


Copyright © John Charles 2000. All Rights Reserved.

Hong Kong Digital is presented in association with Hong Kong Entertainment News In Review