3. ROBOTRIX (1991)
Country: Hong Kong
Original Title: Nui Gei Hai Yan
Director: Jamie Luk Kim-Ming
Cast: Amy Yip Chi-Mei, Chikako Aoyama, Billy Chow Bei-Lei, Hui
Unlike the previous two entries, "Robotrix" doesn't pretend to anything
more than nutty, wacky, outrageous, off-the-wall erotic entertainment. Arguably
one of the funniest erotic films ever made, the second of the three Amy Yip
films to be listed here (she does seem to crop up in more than a few of Hong
Kong's better softcore "Category III" entries) sends up so many conventions
of the "cyborg" film genre that detangling them is really futile. Not that genre
splicing is exactly the first thing one thinks of when Yip is disrobing
The story here centers on a mad scientist (Billy Chow) who has attained
immortality and superhuman strength by depositing his consciousness into
an appropriately virile android body. When he's not torturing the kidnapped
son of a wealthy sheik, the rambunctious cyber-whacko is testing his new
plumbing out on unsuspecting hookers. Unfortunately, as is apt to happen
during intercourse with oversexed androids, the hookers all wind up dead.
And so the police summon the services of a Japanese engineer (Hui
Hsiao-Dan) whose equally invincible (and irresistible) female androids (Yip
and Japan's Chikako Aoyama) are employed to try and bait the elusive
madman. Unfortunately, Yip's stint as an undercover hooker proves a tad too
popular, drawing theme park-sized crowds that all but doom that part of the
operation. In the end, though, the women triumph, scoring a proud victory
for, uh, feminism.
As per usual, Yip shows virtually everything she's got except for her nipples
-- the equivalent of putting a beany atop the Empire State Building. Aoyama,
on the other hand, proudly displays hers and, for once, gives the
jaw-droppingly gorgeous Yip a run for her money.
Die-hard cinephiles would undoubtedly take issue with the inclusion of
French director Alain Resnais' ground-breaking masterpiece on a list of
"Asian erotica," but given the criteria, it would be hard to overlook what
remains a landmark in cinematic depictions of interracial relationships.
Written by the esteemed Marguerite Duras -- France's foremost expert on
what goes on when Caucasian women and Asian men get together and take
off their clothes -- this powerful, compelling Oscar-nominated film details a
two-day affair between a married French actress (Emmanuele Riva) and a
likewise married Japanese architect (Eiji Okada). Set in Hiroshima, the film
begins with one of the cinema's most unforgettable inaugural images: the
naked lovers -- known only as "He" and "She" -- entwined and covered in
The film's high-minded and not-so-subtle anti-war statement doesn't date
terribly well, although its visual craft and the stunning black-and-white
photography create an otherworldly, almost ethereal quality that few films
before or since have been able to match.
While the intercutting of explicit love scenes with images of Hiroshima's
nuclear fallout may not sound terribly erotic to some, it is precisely this
artful blend of humanism and eroticism that makes "Hiroshima, Mon Amour"
one of the most uniquely sensual movies ever made. Thirteen years before
"Last Tango in Paris," Resnais and company covered the same territory more
tastefully, more erotically....and without butter.