Hong Kong Digital
is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- associate
editor / film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author
of The Hong Kong Filmography.
Office worker Amy Cheung (Iris Chai Chi-yiu) goes berserk one morning and tries to stab her boss, Cheuk (Michael To Tai-yu), accusing him of sexual harassment and rape. Eager to keep the matter away from the police, the company launches an internal investigation, headed up by in-house lawyer Joe Wong (Alex Fong Chung-sun). As he speaks with Amy and Cheuk, we are presented with decidedly opposing views of just what happened, a la RASHOMON. The higher-ups (who include the film's producer, Henry Fong Ping) accept Amy's description of the event and Cheuk is suspended without pay, in spite of the fact that Joe believes the man is innocent. He's right: Amy and scheming department head Jacquline Yu (Pinky Cheung Man-chi) are lovers and conspired to bring about Cheuk's downfall, giving Jacquline a better shot at becoming the new CEO. Further to that end, she is working with accounts manager Lawrence (Ken Wong Hap-hei), who is dealing secretly with a rival company their firm is planning a merger with. However, Joe and Jacquline used to be lovers and he knows her scheming and duplicitous nature all too well.
Pinky Cheung Man-chi (left) and Iris Chai
Chi-yiu (right). Image courtesy Winson.
There are plenty of bad movies coming out of HK these days but precious few that are any fun. Billy Tang Hin-sing's DEVIL TOUCH is exquisite, amoral trash that does nothing to boost one's hopes for an industry upswing but succeeds wonderfully within its unadventurous confines. With more and more HK B-movies being produced on digital video for the cost of a fake Rolex, it is a pleasure to view one presented with such eye-catching gloss. The three leads are beautifully photographed (Cheung, in particular, looks stunning) and the bloody violence, mild lesbianism, and false scares unfold in multi-million dollar homes that are to die for. There is also an unexpected bonus in that the plot is credibly structured, with enough twists and turns to hold one's interest on the occasions when nothing erotic or violent is filling the screen.