A Chinese Torture Chamber Story
Director: Bosco Lam
Producer: Wong Jing
Stars: Lawrence Ng, Yvonne Yung Hung, Elvis Tsui
A servant (Hung) and her master (Ng) are framed by Ng's wife (who is jealous of the attention he is giving Hung) for the murder of Hung's husband and must go to court to prove their innocence through enduring a series of tortures.
Despite its' title, A Chinese Torture Chamber Story's emphasis is not on torture (though there are several gruesome sequences, inculding the severing of a penis and the old "bamboo under the fingernails" bit), but rather on sex. Like its' spiritual forefather (also known as "the movie Wong Jing swiped the idea from") Sex and Zen, most of this movie's running time is dominated by people in period costumes boffing each other -- and like Sex and Zen, it gets old real quick, especially in this case, since none of the actors are terribly attractive. In fact, a few of them are downright ugly. Wong Jing is normally dead-on in picking the starlets for his movies (Chingmy Yau anyone?), but he must have lost a lot at the horse track before making this movie, because honestly, these are some of the most plain-looking people I've ever seen in this type of movie.
When A Chinese Torture Chamber Story isn't boring, it's often disgusting. For instance, there are several "gags" involving male ejaculate -- one subsituting blood for semen -- that are just plain gross. There's a line between shocking an audience and just alienating them, and Bosco Lam crosses it here. That's a bit suprising, since both Lam and Wong have been involved in some of the true Cat III classics, films that pushed the boundaries of good taste without becoming overly nauseating. In the movie's defense, there is one pretty good scene (that often gets brought up in the newsgroups) involving Elvis Tsui and his wife doing some weird wire-fu sex. I wouldn't go so far as to call it "sexy" or "erotic," but at least it's interesting without being sleazy, something which the rest of the movie really fails to do.
If you want to see a shocking movie, try Lam's The Untold Story. If you want to see a sexy movie, try something like Clarence Fok/Wong Jing's Naked Killer. A Chinese Torture Chamber Story tries to be both and fails, going too far in some areas and stopping too short in others. Unless you're really desperate to see some naked Asian people, you're best off avoiding this.
Back to Movie Review index