Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In short: Hero Dream (1992)

aka Naked Huntress

After some altercations with Thai smugglers in his home town, Hong Kong cop Ho (Chin Siu-Ho) takes it to be a brilliant idea to pack his freshly pregnant wife Kiki (Carrie Ng) into an airplane and go on vacation in Thailand with her.

More or less by accident, something that belongs to the powerful Chiu gang lands in the couple's luggage, and faster than you can say "it's just a mix-up", said gang kidnaps Kiki.

Obviously, the only thing Ho can do now is to pick a machine gun, a bazooka and a car in rally colours from a neighboring pocket dimension and try to break his wife out. Not surprisingly, she doesn't survive the attempt. Ho swears vengeance (not against himself, against the Chiu gang), and falls in with a gangster named Lok (Chin Kar-Lok) and his transvestite friend Fa who work for a competing gang of transvestites lead by a woman with slight sadistic tendencies named Yi (Michiko Nishikawa), but are a tangled up in some internal problems that are as pointless as they are complicated there.

In the end, Fa will sacrifice himself/herself for the hero he loves like a good movie transvestite, Lok and Yi will fight the final fight with Ho and our hero himself will have found a new girlfriend before his wife's body is even cold.

Hero Dream is an incredibly sloppy film, missing useful transitions or needed explanations (how does Ho get his weapons? how does a certain character in the final fight die?). There's a good chance the whole mess didn't have a script at all but was just made up during shooting based on genre traditions aka cliches and the food the director ate the evening before a scene was shot.

Besides not having anything like a coherent narrative, the movie also suffers from a tendency to just stop its plot dead and incorporate an overabundance of gratuitous nudity and overly long sex scenes that aren't too pleasant to look at.

On the plus side, the film's action scenes are driven by the curious form of insanity that started to hit Hong Kong cinema in the 80s, where no stunt seemed too dangerous to do and no idea to outlandish to realize. This is the cheap-skate version of it, of course, but still, once the action gets going all this violent and relentless movement helps one forget many of the film's flaws.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the way Hero Dream portraits its transvestites and transsexuals. While the transvestite sacrificing herself so that the hero can live isn't exactly a great direction to go in, it is still a lot better than the contempt most other film's outside of explicitly gay cinema show them. At least these trans people are treated as humans with as much dignity as a cheap action flick like this has to offer to anyone.


No comments: