The DVD re-release of “Blue Jean Monster” has been long awaited by cult film fans, having earned itself quite a reputation over the years as a bizarre bad taste mixture of police thriller, gory horror, slapstick comedy and domestic drama. Thankfully the film, which was presumably titled to tie in with the 1988 Hollywood police thriller “Blue Jean Cop”, delivers exactly as promised, being a unique slice of cinematic lunacy which probably couldn’t have been made anywhere but Hong Kong. This is no less than should have been expected from director Ivan Lai, who has been responsible for his fair share of over the top nastiness with such dubious classics as “Ancient Chinese Whorehouse”, “Daughter of Darkness” and “Erotic Ghost Story III” to name but a few.
The film starts off fairly sensibly as a Hong Kong cop called Tsu (played by prolific character actor Shing Fui On, who should be recognisable to fans from his appearances in “God of Gamblers” and “The Killer” and who usually plays villainous roles) is brutally killed by a bunch of vicious thieves, only to be revived by a bolt of lightening and a cat with glowing red eyes. The unfortunate man decides to make the best of his second chance, swearing to try and do two things, namely to catch his own killers and to stay alive (or at least undead) long enough for the imminent birth of his son. Hampering him in these modest aims is the fact that he soon realises that his body is decomposing, and he is forced to take a series of odd measures to patch himself up, something which inevitably starts to take its toll on his already strained relationship with his wife (Pauline Wong, another familiar face from the 1980s who featured in a number of popular series including the “Mr Vampire” and “Rich and Famous” films). Meanwhile, his two friends Fung and Gucci (Gloria Yip, also in cult favourite “Story of Ricky” and who recently returned to the screen with “Magic Boy”) stumble across his ghoulish secret and decide to help him out in the expected bumbling fashion.
Probably the main reason why “Blue Jean Monster” is such a wild affair is that it focuses not so much on the obvious cop out for revenge theme as it does on Tsu’s domestic life and problems. Director Lai manages to wring all manner of wacky slapstick gags and leering sexual humour out of his attempts to adjust to his odd situation, and the film reaches new heights of absurdity with scenes of him trying to fill in his gaping wounds with cookie dough and desperately attempting to get life sustaining electric shocks from anywhere he can, something which often results in bursts of crazily speeded up footage. Possibly the funniest and most astoundingly tangential aspect of the film comes with a subplot relating to his inability to perform sexually, which leads his wife to worry that he might be gay thanks in no small part due to a series of farcical misunderstandings involving the weedy and annoying Fung. Naturally, her solution to this is to try and re-energise his heterosexual desires and his interest in her through engaging the services of a generously endowed prostitute called ‘Death Rays’, in a wacky scene designed solely to show off the talents of the one and only Amy Yip.
Amazingly, despite the fact that it is for large stretches of its running time comedic in tone, the film is also packed with bloody high octane action and gunplay, and in this respect it plays out almost like a demented parody of Paul Verhoeven’s classic “Robocop”. As well as providing plenty of explosive thrills, if anything this pushes the film even further into the realms of the insane, with the viewer being suddenly asked to take Tsu and his frankly half-assed crusade to catch the villains seriously. This does make for a number of priceless moments as the poor man lurches from murderous monster to hen pecked husband, frequently launching into melodramatic speeches about honour and revenge.
These bizarre shifts in tone only make things all the more enjoyable, and “Blue Jean Monster” certainly stands as what could politely be called a unique piece of filmmaking. An absolute must see for all fans of weird, far out trash, it serves as a great reminder of just how wildly inventive Hong Kong cinema could be and that good taste and sense are by no means prerequisites when it comes to sheer entertainment value.
Kai Ming Lai (director)
CAST: Fui-On Shing … Tsu Hsiang
Pauline Wong … Chu
Amy Yip … Death-rays
Gloria Yip … Gucci