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Kick Ass Girls

Kick Ass Girls

(from left to right) Dada Lo, Chrissie Chau and Hidy Yu are the Kick Ass Girls.

Chinese: 爆3俏嬌娃
Year: 2013
Director: GC Goo Bi
Producer: Charlie Wong Wing-Fung, Cameron Hood
Writer: GC Goo Bi
Action: Che Kim-Fai
Cast: Chrissie Chau Sau-Na, Dada Lo Chung-Chi, Hidy Yu, Chris Tong, Tsui Tin-Yau, GC Goo Bi, Siu Fei, Bryan To, Lawrence Chou Chun-Wai, Carl Ng Ka-Lung, Philip Chan Yan-Kin, Emily Lim, La Ying, King Chiu, Matthew Chow Hoi-Kwong, Alton Yu, Bu, Kelvin Kwan Chor-Yiu
The Skinny: Who were the ad wizards who came up with this one? An unfathomable mix of girl power anthem, exploitation film and female fighting flick that succeeds at being none of the above. Co-funded by the Hong Kong Film Development Fund, and possible justification for a class action lawsuit or open revolt by Hong Kong taxpayers.
by Kozo:

Hong Kong Cinema has a long history of fighting female films, with titles like She Shoots Straight and Yes, Madam! qualifying as justifiable classics. Kick Ass Girls should never, ever be considered among them. From writer-director Vincci Cheuk (a.k.a. GC Goo Bi) and distressingly co-funded by the Hong Kong Film Development Fund, Kick Ass Girls is well-meaning but so poorly executed that one wonders what anyone involved was thinking. This includes you, Sammi Cheng, who sang the theme song for this wannabe uplifting action-comedy about girls who are kidnapped by a criminal organization that forces them to fight in the ring. However, the girls take their captors down by dressing in S&M gear and beating up a dozen men. Wow, empowering! Along the way, the girls also reaffirm their friendship, making their triumph over the odds supposedly satisfying. Yep, friendship is magic. For ponies. For the Kick Ass Girls, I’d lean towards a different word, like maybe tragic.

“Career line” goddess Chrissie Chau stars as Boo, proprietor of a boxing gym naturally called Kick Ass Girls. Business is bad, but she nevertheless hires new trainer Miu (Gillian Chung lookalike Dada Lo), a boy-crazy cheerleader who’s always positive even if nobody else is. Boo is unhappy because childhood friend and former partner TT (Hidy Yu) took her boyfriend, though TT would like to patch things up. Unfortunately, Boo disses friendship overtures from both TT and Miu, leading to a predictable freeze among the three. Before they can head their separate ways, the girls are recruited by Zhuge (Chris Tong), who offers them a hefty salary if they’ll serve as her bodyguards for a trip to Malaysia. Boo needs the money because her brother Dice (Tsui Tin-Yau) lost their savings, so the three girls form a temporary truce while they enjoy a relaxed Malaysia vacation that curiously does not involve any actual guarding of bodies. Cue plot twist.

Kick Ass Girls takes a sudden turn into darkness that would be perfect for an early nineties exploitation film. However, that’s not what the movie tries to be, and tonally it’s just way off. The story features a potentially ugly “women in captivity” situation but mines lame gags, trite friendship themes and tired “girls just wanna have fun” imagery during its first half, creating an incongruous mix. Too much time is spent with the girls dressing up, sightseeing or luxuriating in their posh hotel suite in Malaysia – which they aren’t supposed to receive, but get anyway thanks to an unfunny joke that’s stretched beyond reason. Granted, it’s a nice hotel room with an awesome view, high ceilings and a roomy tub for the requisite Chrissie Chau bubble bath scene. One wonders if this whole production didn’t happen simply so the crew could get that hotel room and hold a big party, but that would be incredibly cynical to even suggest.

In the film’s defense, the women did their own fighting and stunts. Of the three, Hidy Yu looks the most able, while Dada Lo and Chrissie Chau require some slow motion to mask their moves. The fighting itself is only OK, no thanks to the lazy story details. Let’s see: The girls are kidnapped by a human trafficking ring that requires them to fight in illegal death matches, but the organization is run by maybe a dozen guys who don’t carry guns and can’t stop three unarmed women. Also, the girls escape their locked cages by wearing chains and leather, which prompts a guard into unlocking their cell to beat them up – I guess because seeing girls wear S&M gear is so infuriating! You could argue that the message here is one of strength and independence, but the film also portrays the girls as obsessed with boys and materialism, and the camera lingers noticeably on Chrissie Chau’s pushed-up chest far too often. This is not your ideal empowerment movie.

Making matters worse is a framing device where Boo is interviewed talking about her business and how she once escaped from a terrible ordeal. The interviews also feature Miu and TT, revealing that A) the girls end as friends, and B) they got out of their life-and-death situation in a happy and healthy state. Yawn. Not that one should expect an obvious commercial film to kill off its pretty protagonists, but a little suspense wouldn’t hurt. What does hurt: a subplot involving a Goth mope (played by director Cheuk), who “finds herself” thanks to Boo’s kindness and a sunny makeover. Said realization comes at a tense moment in the film but it’s so trite that it embarrasses. That Vincci Cheuk gave the most pivotal arc to a character that she plays and presented it so mawkishly…seriously, ugh. A facepalm is too kind for this movie. Cheuk has done decent work before, so hopefully Kick Ass Girls is only an aberration rather than a true indication of her talent. (Kozo, 2/2014)



DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Kam & Ronson Enterprises Co., Ltd.
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Mandarin and Cantonese Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
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