The Lady Punisher (HK 1994)

Rating: **
Review Date: 2/19/18
Cast: Sophia Yi, Pauline Yeung, Kwong Leung Wong, cameo by Shing Fui On

A group of drug dealers rape Chui Feng (Sophia Yi) and murder her lesbian lover. Three years later, she runs into the crooks again and makes plans for revenge. Unfortunately, a nosy reporter begins to suspect she's up to no good, and an obsessed fan who lives next door complicates things even further.

It's definitely a sleazy Category III thriller, and starts off with a lesbian love scene and a brutal rape in the first ten minutes. Sophia Yi is fantastic as an agent of vengeance. She's very sexy and pretty, but also incredibly fierce and intense. She comes across as a convincing fighter and her action scenes are rough and hard hitting. There's a brief bit towards the beginning of the film where she starts training at a gym for her inevitable showdown, but then she disappears from the story for nearly thirty minutes while the bad guys run around asserting their badness by doing typical bad guy stuff. When the film finally comes back to Feng's revenge, her tactics come across as a bit odd. For whatever reasons, after cleverly luring the man who raped her back to her house, she decides to have sex with him before killing him. Whether her mind had snapped before then is questionable, but she definitely goes a bit crazy afterwards. Things become even stranger in the final act, when Feng's lesbian neighbor (Pauline Yeung) witnesses her murderous behavior. Feng chases after her in order to protect her secret, but decides to have sex with her instead of killing her. After that, she becomes a willing accomplice and gleefully kills a bad guy just minutes later. Whether she acts out of love, fear, or insanity isn't clear. When the two of them raid the last bad guy's house, they're suddenly armed with guns, and have at least half a dozen of them hidden back home. Where did those come from?

It looks like a typical low-grade Hong Kong sleaze fest from the 1990s, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, the camera work tends to be pretty messy, and the poorly shot sex scenes are nausea inducing due to all of the sloppy camera movement. There's no shortage of sex scenes in the film, and they're all violent and nasty. They also go on way too long and don't seem to serve any meaningful purpose. The action scenes fare a bit better, and I was surprised to see Kwong Leung Wong fighting. He's either pretty good, or has a convincing stunt double. It was hard to tell given the quality of the print that I watched. The only downside to the fight scenes is that they're noticeably undercranked, which lessens the impact and tends to break the illusion. It's a watchable, but unpleasant film, and I can't recommend it unless you're into mean and violent erotic thrillers.