Red Light Revolution Review

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Red Light Revolution Review

It’s usually fun to watch a movie that you have no idea what it could be about. When I started up Red Light Revolution, within the first minute it was made perfectly clear what the focus of the movie was. Sex. Or, at least, how people need sex. Directed and written by Sam Voutas, Red Light Revolution is a lighthearted comedy and an easy going indie film that can be pretty enjoyable, even for those who aren’t too into independent films. It may be in Mandarin, but it’s got a very western feel to it and as long as you don’t mind subtitles, it’s a pleasure to watch.

The film starts out with the main character Shunzi, played by Jun Zhao, explaining that sex is a primal instinct that everyone wants and needs whether they want to admit it or not. The story then begins with Shunzi’s life heading for the gutter. He loses his job as a cab driver, finds out his wife has been cheating on him, and gets kicked out of his own home. He eventually gets a pretty degrading job as an energy drink seller where he meets Lili, played by Vivid Wang, a girl down on her luck and fed up of office work. Thanks to an old friend of Shunzi, he’s given the opportunity to open up a shop and start making money. The only problem is that the shop is for selling sex toys, and the investor wants money within a week, or Shunzi is going to have plenty more problems to deal with.

Jun Zhao plays Shunzi, the protagonist with too many problems.

Shunzi’s character is a very relatable one. At heart, he’s a nice guy who has just fallen on hard times. He can be a bit brash, but he tries his best with what he has. With Lili, we have someone playing it straight, but also understands what Shunzi is going through. She’s sympathetic to Shunzi, but at the same time she knows when to snap him back to reality and get him working again. Jun and Vivid both had good chemistry on screen and it helped these two main characters be fun and interesting.



The side characters in the film are also fun to watch. While they may not be focused on too much, they’ve all got personalities of their own. Some are simple and realistic, like Shunzi’s parents. They let Shunzi stay while he’s looking for a job, and he soon (uncomfortably) discovers that his parents’ love life is still quite active. Then there are the customers of the sex shop. You’d expect them to be all sorts of weird, but in this film they’re just common people. Maybe a bit quirky, but still realistic. Then there is the villain of the film, Iggy. He’s the man who supplied Shunzi with the stock, and expects profits within a week. Iggy is the typical eccentric, and while sometimes he seems like he can be a fun person to hang out with, on the inside you know he’s a wacko.

As I stated before, the film definitely has a western feel. It makes the story feel universal, as if it can be a story that can happen in any city. If this were made in a US setting, I can imagine it as a pilot for an interesting TV series, but I like it better the way it is. The only think I didn’t enjoy too much was the music. It didn’t blend well with the film. As best as I could describe it, it was a bit of ska music, and maybe some light rock. For a film like this, I think the type of music you would hear in the show Curb Your Enthusiasm, or the Italian film Johnny Stecchino would have made this film perfect. That sort of music that works with a mild goofy and clumsy character. Other than that one miss, the rest of the film works well. The cinematography is alright for an indie film, and the story didn’t require settings other than what it had. There may have been a few clichés that have been done before, but luckily it avoided some major ones that I was expecting to happen.

I do wish I could keep seeing more of Shunzi and Lili, two great characters that worked perfectly together. If you don’t have a problem with subtitles (or you understand Mandarin) then go watch Red Light Revolution. It’s easy to get into and it doesn’t get boring. There are a few good laughs but I like to think that this film was more about the characters, and that’s what I enjoyed most of all.

Shunzi and Lili develop a friendship that helps add life to the film.


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