Marco Mak's horny thriller is based on the real-life scandal
of Chu Mei-Fung, a Taiwanese politician who found her sex
life bootlegged onto VCD and sold for pennies. The filmmakers
have made sure to protect the innocent (?) by changing the
embattled politician's name to Kwai Fung-Ming, and even
went so far as to attach the standard legal boilerplate
stating that any similarity the film has to real people
and events is purely coincidental and unintentional. My
analysis of their sincerity would be: Viva Hong Kong!
King of the Multiplex Daniel
Wu stars as Calvin, a Hong Kong private eye who specializes
in divorce cases. He's hired by mystery woman Wong (Grace
Lam) to head to Taiwan for a one million HK dollar job.
The specifics are shady, but Calvin heads to Taiwan anyway
with girlfriend Cindy (Jenny Yam) and assistant Sam (Samuel
Leung) in tow. Once they arrive, he meets hot Taiwanese
politician Kwai Fung-Ming (Teresa Mak) in a men's bathroom,
which leads to a baffling exchange on the workings of male
genitalia. Calvin proceeds to wet himself while Kwai becomes
amused. But, does that amusement extend to the audience?
Wong eventually reveals that
Kwai is the target of the job, and as Calvin gets deeper
into the job he becomes more and more "involved".
What that means is he spends a lot of time staring at TV
monitors and swallowing mightily like he's aroused. Somehow
he grows to care for the seemingly victimized Kwai, leading
to the inevitable sweaty love scene and clashes with current
girlfriend Cindy. All the proceedings are trashy enough
to keep a person's interest, but the ultimate lasting effect
will probably be one of head-shaking annoyance.
Despite the possibilities
of a satirical or even scathing look at the real life scandal,
The Peeping goes the low-brow route with promises of
titillation and copious flesh. Daniel Wu removes his shirt
for the tenth consecutive film and practices his "lustful"
look by bugging out his eyes. Sharing skin-baring duties
with him are the three female leads, who reveal everything
except actual "points." Director/editor Marco
Mak earns his wings by slying cutting around every possible
point-revealing moment, and the girls' parents were probably
The Peeping received great
HK press coverage for the "daring" performance
of veteran starlet Teresa Mak, but her appearance here is
not unlike the vintage Chingmy Yau/Wong Jing collaborations.
Except, there were times when Chingmy Yau actually acted
in those films, and Mak doesn't really do the same here.
Some of that could be the fault of the shallow script, which
resorts to laughable moments (Cindy and Kwai compare chest
sizes in a bathroom-set "breast-off") and poor
subplots (Sam loved Cindy first, but now she only loves
Calvin) to get a rise out of the audience. Some actual dialogue
or plotting would help, but The Peeping is an obvious
piece of exploitation that never capitalizes on its subject.
As such, it just goes through the motions, hoping that the
flesh-teases and occasional surprises will qualify this
as a good time.
Of more interest would be why certain
people even made this film. It's likely that Teresa Mak
and Jenny Yam did the film for more exposure (no pun intended),
but what was Daniel Wu thinking? His work in Princess
D and Love Undercover would indicate that he
doesn't need to stoop to cheap exploitation like The
Peeping and Devil Face Angel Heart. Wu might
be capable of better things, so hopefully this journey into
crappy B-grade cinema won't ruin his future chances.
If he continues along this path, then he should probably
look at Mark Cheng's career to get an idea of where he's
headed. (Kozo 2002)