THE FANTASTIC WATER BABES
(Chut Sui Fu Yung)
Jeffrey (or as he is billed here Jeff) Lau is one of the dabblers in this field. I cannot say I have much of a liking for his films, which are filled with frenetic slapstick and/or often feel like they have enough plot happening in them for at least two more films. The Fantastic Water Babes doesnt have a terribly inspiring premise a romance set around a high-school swimming competition. The leads shy bespectacled Gillian Chung, handsomely assured but insincere Lik-Sun Fong work well enough. But the plot, oh boy. First there are the wacky complications. Before the film has even gotten to its main plot, there is another whole plot about Gillian Chungs extended family on Cheung Chan Island conspiring to make her think she has been blessed by the water god Guan Yin and that anything she says will come true. (There is never any clear explanation as to why they would see doing this as a helpful thing). By another set of complications, Gillian is accidentally placed into the swimming competition against her rival despite having no skills. Things then get weirder as she decides to abduct the shows sponsor (Lik-Sun Fong) and bring him back to Cheung Chan imprisoned inside a suitcase!
All of this is just before we arrive at the main thrust of the plot a familiar one where Gillian Chung and Lik-Sun Fong start falling for one another despite being captor and prisoner. This comes with lots of twists and abrupt reversals of direction, which is par for the course when it comes to Hong Kong comedy. Most of it seems annoyingly lightweight and frivolous. Everyone apart from the two leads gives frenetic and silly performances, before we arrive at a predictable romantic happy ending.
Thought it promises otherwise, the films fantasy content is slight. The way the premise is written when I first read about the film young girl receives godlike powers from a water deity after falling into the ocean seems way more fantastical than anything that actually happens in the film. We have about five minutes of her demonstrating her powers near the start before this is revealed as fakery created by the people around her. We later get a seeming appearance from the water god only for this person to then be revealed as an escapee from a lunatic asylum. In the concluding scenes however, we do get a scene where Gillian Chung does finally take to the water and causes the pool to explode in a tidal wave of unleashed power.
Jeffrey Laus other genre films include:- the true-life serial killer film The Hong Kong Butcher (1985); the horror comedy Thunder Cops (1987); The Haunted Cop Shop (1987) and The Haunted Cop Shop II (1988) and the unrelated Mortuary Blues (1990), all featuring cops versus various monsters; All For the Winner (1990) and All For the Winner 2/The Top Bet (1991), gambling comedies about people with clairvoyant abilities; the martial arts film The Eagle Shooting Heroes (1993); the two-part adaptation of Journey to the West, A Chinese Odyssey Part 1: Pandoras Box (1994) and A Chinese Odyssey Part 2: Cinderella (1995); the Chow Yun Fat fantasy comedy Treasure Hunt (1994); the ghost comedy Out of the Dark (1995); the historical fantasy Chinese Odyssey 2002 (2002); Second Time Around (2002), another gambling fantasy; the martial arts fantasy A Chinese Tall Story (2005); the comedy Metallic Attraction: Kung Fu Cyborg (2009); the time travel/Wu Xia film Just Another Pandoras Box (2010); East Meets West (2011), a comedy wherein Eastern deities become superheroes; and A Chinese Odyssey Part 3 (2016).