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The Peeping
Year: 2002 "Why did I make this movie?"
Daniel Wu and Teresa Mak
Director: Marco Mak Chi-Sin
Writer: Not a Woman (But Hai Lui Yan)
Cast: Daniel Wu, Teresa Mak Ka-Kei, Jenny Yam Kong-Sau, Grace Lam Nga-Si, Samuel Leung Cheuk-Moon, Philip Keung Ho-Man
The Skinny: "Ripped from the headlines" plotline is occasionally intriguing, but the preponderance of useless subplots and stone-faced acting make this a trashy loser. Starring Daniel Wu. 'Nuff said.
Review
by Kozo:

     Director 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 quite grateful.
     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)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
image courtesy of Universe Laser and Video Co., Ltd.
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