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Film / Women on the Run

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I swear, this is the one poster for the movie with the "least" amounts of nudity!

Women on the Run is a 1993 Exploitation Film-slash-Martial Arts Movie directed by Corey Yuen, and its easily one of the most uncomfortable action films one is likely to come across.

Su-yin comes from a rural Chinese village, where she's a kung-fu practitioner since a child before winning a Martial Arts Championship as a teenager. Having big dreams and hopes, she decides to follow her agent to the big city hoping to make a name for herself, only to be betrayed and pimped to a whorehouse. Without money, she's reduced to working as a whore; her hopes crushed and nearly driven to suicide, Su-yin meets Mandy, a top cop from the Hong Kong police, who manage to talk Su-yin out of killing herself, because Mandy's boyfriend, David, have use for the two of them if Su-yin is willing to assist her for an overseas assignment. Little do the two women know what they're getting into, because soon enough they'll be on the run...

While acceptable as a martial arts movie, with at least six fight scenes and action sequences, ultimately the movie will likely leave a bitter, disgusting taste in your mouth due to its exploitative nature. Rape is used as a plot device more than once, and multiple nude scenes that comes at the most inappropriate moments (like this scene where Su-yin fights in the nude to save Mandy from being gang-raped, slightly NSFW link by the way) is just borderline Fan Disservice.

The film's violence, sexuality, and sexual violence earned it a Category III rating in Hong Kong (equivalent to NC-17).

Do not confuse this movie with Woman on the Run.

This film provides examples of:

  • '70s Hair : Su-yin in her earlier scenes. The movie comes out in 1992 and she was a teenager, hence she’s probably more comfortable with a hairdo she saw in her younger days.
  • Accidental Murder: What gets Su-yin arrested early in the film, when after being screwed over by her pimp boyfriend, tries to save another girl from being pimped… only to knock said pimp into a wooden rack where he breaks his neck in the process.
  • Action Girl: Both leading women are fighters and ass-kickers.
  • Agony of the Feet: During the gang-rape fight, Su-yin impales a rapist's foot with a crowbar.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Taken ridiculously straight. After escaping from the Canadian authorities and hiding in a darkened back alley, the first group of people Su-yin and Mandy encounters are a bunch of rapists!
  • Asshole Victim: Plenty, but most notably David, who suffers a well-deserved Fate Worse than Death.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Su-yin and Mandy against David's mooks in the finale.
  • Band of Brothels: Su-yin in the beginning ends up working for one of these when her agent bails on her.
  • Barefoot Suicide: Invoked, when Su-yin is dangling on the top of a tall building and contemplating to jump, she’s not wearing any shoes although her socks are still on.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: David, Mandy’s boyfriend, a rare male example. He’s using Mandy to forward his promotion in the police force, and manipulating Mandy and Su-yin while both ladies trusts him completely.
  • Break the Cutie: And how! Especially for Su-yin; idealistic town girl with big hopes, martial arts champ reduced to hooker when her agent uses her as a pimp, nearly Driven to Suicide until Mandy finds her, having a new hope in life until getting double-crossed by David, accused of being a drug mule, nearly killed by the police, stranded in the middle of a seedy back alley in Canada, miles from home, getting gang-raped, and finally becoming a full-time whore to earn enough money to make her way back to Hong Kong.
  • Break the Haughty: For Mandy, a super cop, top enforcer of the Hong Kong police, who clings on every confession of love David has spoken to her… until she realized David has completely abandoned her after using her as a drug mule.
  • Broken Bird: Su-yin after having her dreams of making it big in the city crushed, and Mandy after David double-crossed her. And to break them further, here comes the rape scene.
  • Censor Shadow: Used in the alley fight against hordes of rapists. Su-yin fights naked, but good luck trying to see a single boob. While she did execute a scorpion kick at one point that exposes her crotch, its done in the dark and the nudity is only visible if you pause the film and zoom in at the right time.
  • Chained Heat: Mandy and Su-yin, after escaping from the prison vehicle, are handcuffed together as hitmen sent by David are trying to kill them.
  • Clear My Name: Averted, Su-yin and Mandy are both framed by David for being drug mules and arrested, but after they broke out instead of trying to clear their name they simply remain as fugitives while trying to illegally sneak their way back to Hong Kong.
  • Corrupt Cop: David, who’s secretly in cahoots with drug dealers and using his girlfriend Mandy as a drug mule and scapegoat. And rotten to the core, imagine this trope turned up to eleven.
  • Crowbar Combatant: Conveniently, there's a crowbar placed within an arm's reach when Su-yin is looking for a weapon to fend off the rapists.
  • Darkest Hour: An hour into the film, after barely escaping from the police and hitmen sent by David, both women are stranded in a back alley in Canada (miles from home!), all alone, Mandy is suffering from fever after a stray gunshot wound, and they are hiding from the public... only to be found by a group of rapists.
  • Death Seeker: Both women end up being this trope at different points in the movie after crossing their respective Despair Event Horizon.
  • Descent into Addiction: Su-yin's eventual fate, after her pimp convinces her to take drugs.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Su-yin is treated as one by her pimp until she finally snaps and beats up her client.
  • Domestic Abuser: Every single named male character in this film related to Su-yin and Mandy is a douchebag and an asshole to varying degrees. From Su-yin’s agent pimping her into a whorehouse, to David double-crossing Mandy and Su-yin. These toxic boyfriends wreck Su-yin and Mandy's lives, completely shattering their worldviews and confidence in themselves.
  • Emotionless Girl: Both Su-yin and Mandy become completely devoid of emotions after the night they were gang-raped and reduced to Empty Shell of who they used to be. But right at the end of the movie they regained their usual selves eventually after making their way back to Hong Kong and confronting David.
  • Fan Disservice: That gang-rape scene. Here we have a woman whose hopes and dreams have been utterly crushed, and driven into a deep Despair Event Horizon, watching her only friend being gang-raped and trying to save her, only to be gang-raped herself. That's not sexy, just plain uncomfortable...
  • Fire-Forged Friends: One of the most horrific examples ever. Su-yin and Mandy are both framed for carrying drugs, escapes from the police, gets gang-raped by punks and barely survives the night, and by the time they made it out alive they realize all they have is each other.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: David wears glasses in several scenes, although he removes them before his fights.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: TWO examples with Su-yin.
    • Right in her first scene, Su-yin beats the snot out of a client who went too far and urinates in her Wushu Trophy.
    • Later after the two girls barely escapes from the police and ends up in a seedy alley with rapists, Su-yin deliberately strips herself to intimidate the rapists from molesting Mandy, and fights them, losing her clothes and getting gang-raped herself in the process.
  • Groin Attack: Both women does this from time-to-time, especially Su-yin when fighting rapists and impaling the first rapist's dicky with a crowbar. And in the end of the movie Mandy castrates David alive with a pistol aimed point-blank at his nuts.
  • Hate Sink: Practically every carrier of the Y-chromosome in this movie is some kind of asshole, but none more than David, the douchebag boyfriend of Mandy. On the surface, David and Mandy have been through thick and thin together, they have been looking out for each other since their first day in the police force, but secretly David is a Corrupt Cop pretending to be Mandy’s dedicated boyfriend. He manipulates Mandy and Su-yin as drug mules and scapegoats to smuggle his supplies overseas, and when he gets what he wants and have no use for the two women he simply drops them in Canada with packets of drugs on them, resulting in the duo being arrested by the Canadian authorities while he makes his way back to Hong Kong. Abandoning both women who trusted him with their lives, he uses Mandy’s tainted reputation to gain further promotion for himself in the police, and then further establish his dominance as a police informer of the triads, making himself more powerful at the expanse of the people who trusted him most. When he finds out Su-yin and Mandy actually survived his betrayal, he tries to kill them and gets damn near to doing so, only to break down and beg for his life like a Dirty Coward when Mandy had her gun trained on him.
  • Hand Wave: The movie simply skips on the part about how Mandy and Su-yin are going to make their way back to Hong Kong after being stranded in Canada. They're shown pimping themselves for money, a montage of them living together in Canada is shown, and one scene indicating a Time Skip later they're back in Hong Kong.
  • Hourglass Plot: Su-yin at the beginning, having her dreams of making it big in the city being crushed, and Mandy is the officer who took her in and comforts her, telling her there’s more to life and to toughen up because there’s still hope. When David reveals his true colours and Mandy realize the man she trusted with her life is nothing but a soulless piece of filth, and that she’s been manipulated for years, its Su-yin’s turn to tell Mandy to get herself together and stay strong.
  • Interrupted Suicide: How Su-yin and Mandy first meets each other. Su-yin is contemplating jumping from a rooftop and just end it right there, but Mandy (who had a bungee cord attached on her) manage to scare some sense into Su-yin by grabbing her and both of them jumping together.
  • Intertwined Fingers: Su-yin and Mandy are shown bonding like this while on the back of a police prison transport after being arrested by the Canadian authorities.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Su-yin is subjected to this by the Canadian police after David leaves her abandoned as a drug mule.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Su-yin’s first day as a whore after being pimped out by her agent, where she reluctantly sells her body to a client in exchange for money, ends with the client, looking for a place to piss, finding her Wushu Championship trophy and urinating in it.
    • Taken literally in the alley scene. Before the gang of rapists find Mandy, they come across a puppy and decide to pummel it to death For the Evulz.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: David, who betrayed Mandy and Su-yin, manipulates the two women into becoming drug mules, and had sex with Mandy while toying with her feelings, eventually gets castrated alive by Mandy’s handgun, fired point-blank from his nether regions,
  • Let's You and Him Fight: In the final three-way battle, the Hong Kong police are gathered outside the warehouse where the fight is taking place, and the lieutenant tells a sergeant who’s about to lead his men into the building, "Tell your men to hold back. Let them kill each other first."
  • Match Cut: Su-yin, screaming after being overwhelmed by rapists and having a Vertigo Zoom into her face, which then cuts to a graffiti on a wall depicting a screaming woman.
  • Manipulative Bastard: David, as mentioned more than once. If you read this list in alphabetical order you already know enough to brand this piece of human garbage as an utterly irredemable parasite of mankind.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The final scene, between David and his drug-dealing mooks, the triads, and the Action Girl duo Mandy and Su-yin.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The film starts with Su-yin as a plucky little girl practicing kung-fu while a group of boys makes fun of her, prompting her to chase them down and beat them up, before an Age Cut shows her a teenager winning a Wushu championship and leaving her village to make it big in the city.
  • Mood Whiplash: The rape scene an hour into the film. It’s likely the only scene you’d remember a month after watching.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Subverted. While escaping from the Canadian police and David's hitmen, Mandy gets grazed by a stray gunshot wound while she and Su-yin jumps into a river from a bridge. Later on, Mandy's gunshot wound results in her getting a fever.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: The escape scene in Canada ends with Mandy and Su-yin, handcuffed together, jumping off a railroad track suspended over a bay. The two pursuing mafia goons reaches the tracks, and ends up getting squashed by an incoming train.
  • Rape as Drama: The gang-rape that happens mid-movie. Its depicted as a moment that strips the two female leads entirely of their feelings.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Where Mandy and Su-yin confronts each other for the first time, the latter which is suicidal.
  • Show Some Leg: Su-yin does this in her first undercover scene where she’s pretending to be a whore to lure out a suspect.
  • Take Me Instead: A very horrifying variation. Upon seeing the very ill Mandy being assaulted and gang-raped by a group of punks, Su-yin quickly strips herself down to her underwear and demands them to "Rape Me Instead"!
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Mandy and Su-yin at first, since the former is a druggie and the latter a no-nonsense police officer, but going through thick and thin together eventually makes them Fire-Forged Friends.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Both Mandy and Su-yin are depicted as such, being professional ass-kickers but having their feminine sides.
  • Tragic Dream: Siu-Yin, after winning the national martial arts tournament as a teen, hopes to make it big in the world outside. Only to have her dreams crushed when her agent bails on her and pimps her out in a whorehouse.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Su-yin, early in the film, who is a young teen who have hopeful dreams of the future and seeks to venture to the big city, not knowing the horrible fate that would soon befell upon her.
  • Worf Barrage: David’s introduction scene in his Establishing Character Moment, where he confronts a group of bandits in a rural town (whose involvement in this film have absolutely NO bearing on the plot) and beats the snot out of every single one of them in a 30-second Curb-Stomp Battle, proving how deadly he is as a fighter.