A genuinely funny comedy from China which is surprisingly about a sex shop!
Shunzi (Jun Zhao) is in a bad way. Not only has his girlfriend recently left him, but he has been sacked from his job as a taxi driver. Back living with his parents and with no income of his own, Shunzi's prospects seem bleak. When a successful former school friend (Xiduo Jiang) points him in the direction of Iggy (Masanobu Otsuka), a cut-price supplier of adult goods, Shunzi decides that anything is worth a try. He proceeds to open his own adult shop, with the help of his friend, Lili (Vivid Wang), but will the residents of the neighbourhood dare to visit the store?
The idea of China releasing a comedy film about a sex shop is rather surprising given the stories about their film censorship laws. But at the time of it's UK release, Red Light Revolution still didn't have a Chinese distributor, rather not surprising. The film is directed by Sam Voutas, an Australian living in China, and it explores his views on a capitalist and Communist China.
Red Light Revolution doesn't rely on shock tactics and isn't as racy as American comedies such as American Pie. The humour is more subtle and grounded and there are no boobs in sight. The comedy is used appropriately for the situations and doesn't go for cheap laughs.
Jun Zhao delivers an excellent performance as Shunzi, who is as much of a loveable loser as you could hope for. A real character that you sympathise with, empathise with but also can't stop laughing at. The character is played with hilarious self-deprecation.
Vivid Wang is an excellent co-lead as Lili and plays a role which is a lot more than a standard love interest. The on screen chemistry of Lili and Shunzi is extremely fun and their comedy timing is great which really makes the film fly by it's 90 minute run time.
Filled with many laughs, some a little risky and some clever and witty. But it's the kindness and love between the characters that makes Red Light Revolution heartwarming and a really fun watch.
The film slightly loses it's footing towards the end. There should have been more scenes with the characters working in the sex shop and showing their daily lives and wacky customers which was one of the most intriguing and entertaining parts of the story.
One of the best comedies to come out of China and easily the most universally accessible. Every joke and character really translates well to the western audience and that isn't always the case with Asian comedies.
Red Light Revolution is released in the UK by Terracotta Distribution. It is an excellent release, with great video quality and packed full of extras.