Three stories are told by three different Hong King directors, each following characters which eventually tie into one another.

Omnibus comedy aims low and nails it.

One of the funniest Hong Kong films of last year was Pang Ho-cheung’s frequently outrageous Vulgaria, an offbeat comedy demonstrating the depths to which film producers will descend in order to get a film made. Courting Mainland gangsters, having sex with donkeys, running prostitution sidelines and telling audacious lies is all just another day at the office in order to make money"¦ oops"¦ movies.

looks like it was conceived over a long lunch

As Vulgaria was a side-splitter that was both crass and successful, it’s not surprising that someone in Hong Kong’s film industry would try to catch their share of the lowest common denominator market. In what looks like it was conceived over a long lunch, Hardcore Comedy misses as often as it hits, but is indefatigable in its efforts to be funny.

Divided into three sections, the film opens with 'Shocking Wet Dream’ (directed by Henri Wong), an 'expose’ of Hong Kong’s housing crisis and the way it forces students to take up residency in low-grade brothels. Three virginal computer hackers co-exist with a bevy of beauties and soon raise the ire of the Triad-friendly cop boyfriend of Bowie (Michelle Wai), the sweetest girl in the pack, before the boys transform themselves into ludicrous, low-budget superheroes to protect her.

The second instalment, 'Run On Drugs’, directed by one of Hong Kong’s most successful music video directors, Chong Siu-wing, centres on Jay (William Chan) who, in order to make some money once his girlfriend kicks him out, takes a job delivering magic mushrooms for his local drug dealer. A barely discouraging promotion for illicit drug use disguised as a warning, Jay finds that sampling the dealer’s wares compounds rather than solves his problems. The funniest scene is the one in which Jay hires a prostitute (Dada Chan, who played Popping Candy in Vulgaria) to accompany him as a date to his mother’s house only to find that his mother (Susan Shaw, who also appeared in Vulgaria) hires young men to satisfy her own still active sexual desires.

Finally, in 'Can’t Stop The Killing’, directed by Law Yiu-fai, a sushi chef with a debilitating fondness for women and gambling seeks to redeem himself before dying. It’s always the game with portmanteau films that there is always one weak link and that maybe if the episodes were shuffled they would be evaluated differently. But no matter which way you slice it, this episode feels awkward, perhaps because the straightforward narrative pales against the non-stop irreverence of the first two segments.

Subtlety is not the order of the day, but despite the harried, ramshackle atmosphere, this trilogy of short films does have primitive charm. Surprisingly, the martial arts fight scenes and a breathtaking car stunt using a hot pink station wagon demonstrate a proficiency that shows that the people who have tossed off this piece of silliness are really talented. The car stunt is shown three times to tenuously link the three otherwise unconnected stories but it is also a clear effort to give the low-budget film’s producers their money’s worth.

This lacks Vulgaria’s inventiveness and it’s often just plain trashy and pointless, but Hardcore Comedy knows it. While watching, it’s hard to shake the feeling one could be spending one’s time more wisely"¦ but then you laugh anyway.


1 hour 32 min