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The Peeping Tom (Chik juk ging wan, 1997)

Ivan Lai

Hong Kong

96 mins, color, Cantonese (English subtitles)

An extremely violent and vicious HK outing about a deranged serial killer (as opposed to a sane one, I suppose) who has a thing for great legs. Although most men do have a thing for a great pair of legs, most men also prefer them attached to a body. Chang Ho Nam stars as the Ray-Ban sporting psychopath, who falls for the cop girlfriend of the detective who is investigating the serial murders. In contrast to Western films of the sort, but in keeping with the wholesome Hong Kong traditions, most everyone dies in a very gruesome and violent way. The film boldly resists any attempt to stuff meaning into its 96 minutes. Every wrinkle on the plot is just a pretext to show more nekkid bimbage and when the script people ran out of excuses, they threw in some more terminally inept chicks to have sex with the pervert. It's all good clean family fun with plenty of T&A and enough full-frontal to give MPAA a heart attack.

One the bright side, there's Jade Leung, who portrays the beautiful but clueless object of desire, and Miho Nomoto, who brings the best of the Japanese pink. Although it seems from the film that every woman's first task is to undress under any circumstances, during the split second that Chang's attention is turned toward Jade, Miho manages to put on panties and a bra before attacking him. After knocking him off with the baseball bat, she tries to free Jade. You just know the guy isn't dead and you can't help but wonder whether rape, torture, and murder warrant at least a couple of more wacks on the head(s). I guess the script people indulged in too much of the sponsor Jack Daniel's product and wouldn't be bothered about a trifle like this.

The film isn't enough HK but is also far from mainstream, so I am hard pressed to put it anywhere. In terms of fine Asian babes, it's great, in terms of violence, it's sick enough, and it terms of content, it's below zero, so it is a winner. I don't know if I am going to see it again any time soon, though.

April 9, 2001. BLS