Following the unexpected success of the documentary “Women’s Private Parts”, director Barbara Wong became one of the newest hopes of the female-centric comedy/dramas that had exploded in Chinese and Hong Kong theaters. Despite a string of financial successes that belie the critical response to the films, her 2014 film “Girls” was successful enough to spawn this outright trash fire of a film sequel several years later after a few years of being held in release limbo.
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After becoming engaged, Xiwen (Ivy Chen, from “Spider Lillies”) is persuaded by her friend Kimmy (Fiona Sit, from “The Midnight After”) to take a fun Bachelorette Party trip to Vietnam. When Jialan (Ning Chang, from “Black and White: The Dawn of Justice”) and Jingjing (Wang Shuilin) decide to come along on the trip, a night of heavy drinking leads the three friends to wake up naked on a beach, while two are handcuffed together to a locked suitcase, one has a strange new tattoo and no one can remember what happened the night before. Trying to retrace their steps back to remember what happened, they are chased not only by a group of vicious gangsters intent on retrieving their stolen gold, but their own personal issues with each other as they try to make sense of the situation and get back in time for the wedding to start.
This might rank among one of the worst films ever made. The central premise is a direct rip on the American film “The Hangover” in which a group of friends on a bachelor trip getting way too drunk and waking the next morning in a precarious position without any knowledge of what happened, forcing them to work together to figure out what happened. “Girls vs. Gangsters” puts a female spin on that story but plays the events rather similar in every other regard. That familiarity ends up making the film incredibly predictable as it’s going to run through so many of the same beats and storylines to where even jaded viewers are able to spot the film’s setups coming rather easily. As well, it’s so insulting how it manages to work around that fact at the end, that ‘Girls vs. Gangsters’ just becomes an exercise in futility as the entire film is pointless. There’s also a lot to be said for the fact that the film is wholly overlong and just drags on in the final half with useless side-stops and tangents which aren’t really needed.
On top of that, it’s also impossible to really like any of the girls here. Kimmy is just a shallow drunken try-hard, constantly putting the group in danger by trying to one-up Jialan in being the top best-friend. However, rather than talking about their feelings, she ends up thinking the only way for it to work is to down as much alcohol as possible and hope that works. Xiwen ends up being a meek, weak-willed pushover who just gets dragged along in the situation, never realizing the danger they’re getting into by not acting out or putting a stop to it. Jialin serves as the most narcissistic, stubborn individual in the group. One-upping Kimmy every chance she gets and proud of that fact, there’s no getting around the fact that all of them constantly give each other bad advice to keep themselves in danger instead of coming clean, that it helps to prolong the film unnecessarily.
Despite being subjective, the comedy in this one is terrible and completely unfunny at all. Repeated gags about one of the group constantly being troubled by their bowels turns into a running joke in a film about the power of female friendships. Another food-related gag sequence has another member become violently ill during a funeral and projectile vomit all over the corpse, ruining their underhanded intentions of giving money away during the sequence. The inability to recognize other Oriental cultures and religions despite being of such background themselves is the source for the entire accidental mixup with the wrong individual in their group. A film supposedly about the strength of women’s relationships, includes a rape joke as a way of enforcing a silence to an outside individual.
However, nothing is as hilarious as the action scenes for this one where the CGI green-screen for such sequences manages to make it obvious none of the characters are in the location it’s taking place at. Continuity errors serve as a plotpoint in order to force the film along and are so badly handled here that it’s impossible not to notice when they’re brought forth into the plot itself. How it’s impossible for a character to fail to lose at Blackjack, a game that is specifically designed to force an end, becomes one of the major factors here and it’s quite infuriating to see it drag on in this manner. With subplots featuring trained killers that are so inept and clumsy, chained-together girls are able to outwit them and laughable special effects, it’s nearly impossible to get into the film on that level either.
Overall, there’s nothing worthwhile about this effort and it might indeed rank as one of the most unfunny, abominable efforts from the country as a whole. It’s not even possible to like this on a level of gawking at the hot actresses present here, so just leave this one on the shelf as there’s nothing to gain from being exposed to this.