Big Bad Sis

With the recent Celestial releases of the Shaw’s “The Sexy Killer”, “The Kiss of Death” and now “Big Bad Sis”, the male viewership has had an opportunity to rediscover the unique charms of actress Chen Ping and have made her into something of a seventies HK exploitation action icon. Her equal servings of sensual bravado combined with a mean right fist happily target two of our masculine primal pleasure zones – sex and violence. These films have an interesting and somewhat conflicting agenda – on one hand they could be termed “female empowerment” films in which the women take justice into their own hands to wreak vengeance or right wrongs against the male race – but on the other hand they also play the trash card with more than a few lustful dollops of nudity and perversity.
Chen Ping might not necessarily impress one as an icon on first sighting with her sturdy body, sullen mouth and slightly pudgy rounded face, but she perfectly projects an air of jaded expectations, finely honed survival instincts and cynical street toughness. She is the mistress of the slow burn as events conspire to turn her into an angry killing machine that won’t stop until her need for revenge has been satiated – it doesn’t matter what her odds are or how badly beaten she is. In the pessimistically rancid “The Kiss of Death” after she is raped by five men and receives an incurable venereal disease as a bonus, she determinedly tracks them down one by one and hands out her own form of retribution. In the “Sexy Killer”, she takes on the spirit of Pam Grier’s “Coffy” as she goes after a gang of drug dealers who supplied her little sister and makes her way up the food chain one death at a time. In “Big Bad Sis” she again is forced to renege on the normal life she is striving for to take on all forms of male baddies. She is as tough as a walnut and even harder to crack.
As the film begins rolling the opening credits, it wildly splashes the screen with a frenzied action montage (of events to come) to a steady jazz beat that signals to the viewer that this is pure 70’s trash cinema. A warm glow fills your body. It then settles down temporarily as the narrative begins. An attractive young woman named Fong (Chong Lee) begins her new job at a garment factory. When she goes to the bathroom she receives her employee orientation at the hands of another female worker, Da Lin, who corners her in a stall and tells her “I’ll be your boyfriend and you’ll be my girlfriend” and then begins to maul her. This sweet scene is interrupted by yet another female worker, Sai Chu (Yum Yum Shaw) who breaks in on the party and tells Da Lin to stop. This tough talk though isn’t backed up with any fighting skills and Sai Chu gets pushed to the floor by some of Da Lin’s cohorts and has to look on as Da Lin thrusts her hand down Fong’s blouse. Then Sister Ying (Chen Ping) makes her way into the bathroom. She informs Da Lin that she will be her girlfriend and wants everyone else out of the bathroom. After they depart, Da Lin removes her blouse to begin their “flirting” but instead gets smacked in the face and receives a toilet facial from Sister Ying to let her know just who is the toughest broad around.
This makes Sister Ying a hero in the eyes of Sai Chu and Fong and they eventually persist in getting Ying to take them on as friends and students in the hard knocks of life. First they give Ying a little of their background – these flashbacks leading to some much needed nudity  – Fong has a stepfather who tried to rape her while Sai Chu spent some time as a guest of the city for stabbing a man in his groin after he molested her cousin. The fact that these girls were on an outing in the countryside riding naked on bicycles was perhaps a factor in the man thinking that this was a sure thing. He quickly learned that there are no sure things in life. The two women undergo arduous training as Ying teaches them to use anything at hand as a weapon and to be able to take a good punch. They are quick learners and soon they get the chance to use this new found “girl power” to beat up the stepfather and rescue a co-worker from being sold into prostitution. On another occasion the girls at the factory discover that a rich man’s son is serially seducing the factory girls (on a glass table in a memorably tacky soft-core scene that is often shot from beneath the glass!) in his mod bachelor pad and thrash him as well.
Chen Kwan-tai, Wang Hsi, Yeung Chi Hing and Wong Chung
This is all minor league stuff though and the main event is just ahead. One evening Sister Ying reveals her background as well as her breasts when she unbuttons her blouse to display a large red rose tattoo emblazoned across her chest. She tells them that she had once been a triad dealer at a gambling house and had learned all the ways to cheat the customers. One night though she had a pang of consciousness and helped an elderly man severely in debt win a pile of money. This didn’t sit too well with Big Brother (Wang Hsia) but when he tried to steal the money back from the old man Ying (a.k.a. Big Bad Sis) intervenes with a sharp knife and fights off the gang until she stumbles bloodily into a restaurant owned by Brother Sheng (Chen Kwan-tai) who puts a stop to the fight with a few well placed kicks. Now years later she again comes into conflict with Big Brother and Wai (Wong Chung) who still loves her from long ago when the factory owner (Yeung Chi Hing) is cheated in a game of poker and this time it’s for keeps. The ending is a gritty ten minute action scene that will put your adrenaline into overdrive. It is hyperkinetic and brutal with some terrific stunts and razor edge nervous tension. Director Sun Chung (Sexy Killer, Human Lanterns, Lady in Black) films and edits it all with a keen eye and a fast moving camera that squeezes every ounce out of it. It’s a doozy.

My rating for this film: 7.5


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