Pink Thief
Taiwan 1982
Directed by Yueh Chien-Feng .


A group of illegal immigrants escape gangsters in China to start a new life in Hong Kong, but are taken advantage of by the locals to such an extent that they cannot make an honest living. They switch to petty crime: shoplifting, bill shirking, pickpocketing, anything they can to earn enough to eat something that night. Hsiao-Tieh(Lu Hsiao-Fen), the only girl in the group, shows off the kung fu her mother taught her and picks the Chief Detective's pocket, just as he was looking for a new mole to infiltrate the criminal "Eagle" gang. They are reluctant at first but are convinced to help after the chief promises not to deport them. And besides, the No. 1 hitman of the Eagle gang is the same man who raped Hsiao on her way over to Hong Kong, and she is determined to settle the score.

PINK THIEF wants to be a serious investigation of the trouble illegal immigrants face in Hong Kong. At the same time, it wants to admire Hisao-Fen's clevage and show her fighting other girls in a hot tub. The latter wins, because when this picture ends you may quickly forget how the coolie is payed 1/5th the salary of resident workers, but you will not forget when Hsiao-Fen is lying down on a circular bed wearing her nightie when three women burst in and bully her -- one wearing a leopard-patterned leotard, the others wearing skimpy red one-piece outfits and black capes.

Tin Fung, old school kung fu villain, plays the leader of the Eagle gang, Hao. Though he is fun to watch, the role requires him to do little other than order other people around and look menacing, both of which he does well. Choi Wang is the upright and loyal "Elder Brother", but his character is strictly one-dimensional. Really the only performance worth watching is delivered by the star, Lu Hsiao-Fen. Also of note is her gorgeous figure and her tight shirts that on occasion have V-necks that extend down almost to her navel. However, I should note that although the Ocean Shores VCD version of this film indicates it should not be sold to anyone under the age of 18, there is no nudity of any kind, nor is the violence particularly extreme. "Adult themes", you may want to call it. The rape that opens the film is the most violent part of the film (and also exposes the most flesh), but it is not pleasant and the film as a whole would have been better off without it.

PINK THIEF borrows liberally from the soundtrack of PLANET OF THE APES. Turns out that music goes with anything, a chase, a good beating, a stealthy creep across a courtyard at night, a rape. Who knew? Probably it also makes great music for a wedding, baby shower, or a prom dance. I'll try to get it on the program the next time I'm at one of these events and let you know the results.

Rating: Marginally Recommended (Marginally Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on January 29, 2006.


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