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Chinese language cinema

Film review: iGirl – Chrissie Chau plays sexually obliging robot in dismal sci-fi romance

Misogynistic, hackneyed and mind-numbingly dull, this story of three dumped men, their gold-digging exes and sex-robot replacements has taken the I out of AI and set the feminist cause back 40 years

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 March, 2016, 1:55pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 March, 2016, 2:08pm

As the world embraces such progressive artificial intelligence-themed movies as Her (2013) and Ex Machina (2015), first-time Hong Kong director Kam Ka-wai boldly goes the opposite way and sets feminism back 40-odd years with iGirl, a Wong Jing-co-produced film so retrograde in gender mores it would make The Stepford Wives seem like a utopian dream.

After buddies Evan (Ekin Cheng Yee-kin), Johnny (Dominic Ho Ho-man) and Irwin (Lam Tsz-chung) are dumped by their girlfriends, the former is given a lifeline when he’s mysteriously introduced to an online retailer of feminine robots custom-made to satisfy a client’s needs. Evan’s machine, 001 (Chrissie Chau Sau-na), duly arrives docile, fawning and fully naked.

While the benevolent Evan – a veterinarian by profession – takes time to explain humans’ basic senses and emotions to 001, Johnny and Irwin appear far too eager to make use of the “intimate mode” of their respective robots, 002 (Connie Man Hoi-ling, reuniting with The Gigolo 2 co-star Ho) and 003 (Joyce Cheng Yan-yee, who couldn’t avoid a tasteless joke about her weight).

For a science fiction film that portrays its heroines as sexually compliant humanoids, iGirl somehow has the nerve to also transform the protagonists’ gold-digging exes into bitter women out for revenge – resulting in one of the dumbest CGI fight scenes in recent memory. This misogynistic, hackneyed and mind-numbingly dull movie has taken the I out of AI.

iGirl opens on March 10

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