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September 28th, 2000 Issue #14

Hong Kong Digital is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- a film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author of The Hong Kong Filmography.

Temptation Of An Angel
(1999): 4/10

Cover art courtesy Universe.
Chun mut ching yan ji mo han yau waat

Qing mi qing ren zhi wu xian yu huo

Close Lovers: Boundless Temptation

An almost, sort-of naked Yuk Fong. Image courtesy Universe.

It's been quite a while since there was a Category III sex film that was bereft of female nudity -- come to think of it, has there ever been one?! -- and TEMPTATION OF AN ANGEL is fascinating (or, depending on the reason you bought/rented it, immensely frustrating) for the way in which star Yuk Fong (THE CONMEN IN VEGAS) comes so unbelievably close to being nude, without ever really being nude. In fact, this aspect of the film is easily its most notable feature and one can almost imagine director Chu Kai-sang (billed here with the English name Joseph Chi) having to plan out all of the logistics (for those interested in keeping score, we are shown the top half of her behind on two occasions and a few side views of her breasts). The ladies in the audience will be more pleased to learn that buff Ngai Sing (billed here with the name Chow Siu-lung) is a little less reserved -- or, maybe it's just his double. Most of that sequence is so dark, as presented here, it could well be Spencer Lam Sheung-yee for all I can tell.

Yuk Fong and Ngai Sing. Image courtesy Universe.

TV commercial director Fei (Michael Chow Man-kin) is mourning the death of girlfriend Angel Chen (Yuk), and through flashbacks induced by his reading of her diary, we see how their relationship developed and, eventually, faltered when she met handsome gym instructor Roy (Ngai). Against her better judgement, Angel begins to cheat on Fei and subsequently experiences the most arousing sex of her life. Plagued by guilt, Angel avoids Roy for two months but he continues to seek her out and will not stop when asked to. Angel loves both men and her inability to break off with one or both of them leads to tragedy.

Yuk Fong and Ngai Sing. Image courtesy Universe.

To its credit, the film strives to be more insightful than others of this ilk and occasionally is, mostly in a epilogue where Fei and Roy get to know each other, the latter being unaware of what has happened to Angel. However, the majority of the movie is banal and superficial (much is made of Angel's "past" but nothing is ever revealed, making this a pointless aside), and the English translation does not help in this regard. To wit:

Roy: Don't you think life is unpredictable? Some people spend a long time planning their future, but all of a sudden he gets hit by a car. Then his life is over.

Angel: Right, it sucks.

There is a lot to be said for suggestion, even in sex films, and portions of TEMPTATION OF AN ANGEL are indeed erotic. If you are looking for a HK "couples" adult movie, this might just do the trick (there is no sexual violence or sophomoric humor), provided that you and your partner want to also become depressed as part of the bargain. It all wraps up with a message from the director saying "This movie is dedicated to those whose hearts have been broken by their lovers." If Chu really wanted to do these people a favor, he should have made a movie about mature people dealing with the trials and tribulations of life in a mature fashion. And having lots of hot sex, of course.

Emily Kwan Bo-Wai and Michael Chow Man-Kin. Image courtesy Universe.

DVD Specs:

Universe #5310
Dolby Digital mono (2.0)
Cantonese language track only
Optional subtitles in English and Chinese (Traditional or Simplified), and Bahasa Malaysia
8 chapters illustrated in the menu with clips
Letterboxed (1.65:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
Category III
102 minutes

DVD menu courtesy Universe.

As mentioned above, the DVD looks very dark (the video grabs included here have been brightened out of necessity) and, while some of that may be conceptual, it looks more like the telecine operator simply started the movie and then went out for a 101 minute smoke. The disc is in Cantonese only (post-synched by performers other than the stars) and sounds passable; the print displays intermittent wear and dirt marks. There is no theatrical trailer but there are five minute long spots (which are nothing but nudity) for the softcore programs VIRGIN FANTASIES - GOLDEN COLLECTION and 99 HONG KONG PLAYGIRL '99.


Copyright © John Charles 2000. All Rights Reserved.

Hong Kong Digital is presented in association with Hong Kong Entertainment News In Review