6 February 2019 | morrison-dylan-fan
"I have great skills for stealing love,just like the way I lightly stole your wallet."
Joining in the Hong Kong/ Taiwan/China ICM challenge by watching the sweet little Musical Caper ditty The Singing Thief (1969-also reviewed) I looked round online for other overlooked films from Hong Kong. Finding his Musical works to be dazzling,I was happy to stumble on a spy flick by Umetsugu Inoue, which led to me putting on a bit of lippy.
View on the film:
Blowing the film wide open with a canon ball through a cake in Li Bing's introduction, writer/ directing auteur Umetsugu Inoue is joined by cinematographer Love Parade (1963) in bringing his eye for Musical numbers over to the spy genre. Book-ending Bing's intro and final scenes as Musical numbers,Inoue scatters the stylisation over the mad-cap chase for the microfilm, in shimmering pinks and yellows riding a wave of quick-fire zoom-ins down hidden side streets, and crisp Dutch angles giving gang fights a slippery atmosphere. Twisting the microfilm with a real relish,Inoue drizzles in wonderfully peculiar colourful edges springing from guitar-playing assassins,a killer with hooks for hands and bursts of bright yellow smoke and the fake MacGuffin being handed along in fluid panning shots.
Getting ahead of the Euro Spy games by having Bing caught in the centre of the web, the screenplay by Inoue brilliantly sinks Bing into the full-scale espionage war by attempts Bing makes to get a friend to correct a mistake, unintentionally drawing them each closer to the double-dealing taking place. Referencing the Cold War by the microfilm containing "atomic energy" details, Inoue makes the film be impressively modern, via Bing being an equal to all the male spies, who she exchanges mishaps and underhanded mind-games to grab the MacGuffin. Chopping down attempts from others to get the film, Pei-Pei Cheng gives an excellent performance as Bing, with Bing striking a great balance between high-kicking quick-wits and lipstick glamour.