Girl With A Gun (HK 1982)

Rating: *
Review Date: 4/28/07
Cast: Ying Hsia, Alan Tam

Given my taste in movies, how could I pass up a title like this? Even if VCD is the only format it's available on. Life is tough for Pi-Ho Liang (pretty Ying Hsia). Her parents were killed in a horrible accident and she's become a withdrawn mute since then. Additionally, the world in which she lives in is overrun with sexual predators, and literally EVERY man in the movie wants to rape her. One fateful day, she is sexually assaulted TWICE on her way home from work. The second incident takes place in her apartment and she somehow manages to defend herself by bludgeoning the armed rapist to death with a clothes iron. Then, like any sensible girl, she decides to chop up the body with a hacksaw and stuff it into her refrigerator. She also stashes the attacker's gun into her purse for self defense, and within days she's forced to use it against another overly amorous suitor. The following day she gets picked up at a Shakey's restaurant by a sleazy photographer who invites her up to his studio for who knows what. That's when everything changes, and with a sly grin Pi-Ho shifts from being the victim into the being the predator. Beaming with satisfaction, she murders the slimebag in cold blood and heads back home. Having had a taste of killing and finding it to her liking, Pi-Ho goes the next step and starts dressing up as a hooker to lure men off the street into her deadly game of .45 caliber retribution. She eventually reaches the breaking point at her boss's house (played by Alan Tam), where she goes on a shooting rampage and guns down as many people as she can before the police arrive and take her away.

Unfortunately, the low production values and overdone B-movie conventions make this remake of "Ms. 45" (1981) a sub-par thriller at best. This film is also prudishly tame given the nature of the material, and contains no onscreen sex, blood, or graphic violence. Laughably, whenever anything bloody or grisly happens (like when Pi-Ho is stuffing her dismembered attacker into the fridge), the film jarringly shifts to negative color, as if the sight of red is forbidden, or too much for sensitive audiences to handle. (or maybe it's just an indication that they didn't have a special effects budget) The soundtrack is hilarious, featuring tacky covers of "Ghostbusters" and "Like A Virgin", and every time Pi-Ho kills someone, a cheesy Canto-pop ballad sings out "where is my happiness, where is my youth?" Danger lurks around every corner in Hong Kong, and at one point Pi-Ho is chased by a street gang into an amusement park which is controlled by another street gang. The gangs can be identified by the fact that one gang wears suspenders and the other gang wears headbands. Too funny. Lounge singers, pimps, photographers, dock workers, street thugs, dirty old men, and slippery business associates all fall before her steel vengeance, the roar of gunpowder releasing the pent up rage and anguish that her voice can't. While it can be marginally amusing at times, it's a shame that it's made so poorly. And just what the hell is Alan Tam doing in a film like this?!?