Red Light Revolution Review

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An unlucky local in Beijing (Zhao) opens an adult shop and unleashes a sexual revolution in his quiet backstreet store.


Mercifully chaste for a comedy about kinky toys, Sam Voutas’s directorial debut raises more smiles than eyebrows as it follows serial loser Jun Zhao’s bungled bid to open a sex shop in a quiet Beijing backstreet. However, once he realises that the locals prefer making their saucy purchases at night, business booms, although Jun still has to prevent neighbourhood snoop Bing Bo from discovering the true nature of his merchandise. Opting for sitcom quirkiness over slapstick or smut, Voutas comments wrily on China’s shifting social attitudes and the ability of the supposedly staid older generation occasionally to shock the new. But this takes few satirical risks and relies heavily on the brisk byplay between Jun and his feistily world-wise assistant Vivid Wang, whose deadpan delivery is often brazenly hilarious.

Proving himself a fresh new voice in Asian cinema, director Sam Voutas offers a sex comedy salted with satirical comment on Chinese society.