Shunzi gets fired from his job as a cab driver. When he returns to home, the already poor man gets dumped by his wife. When there's not anything to lose, Shunzi will take any job that will be offered. An old friend introduces him to the world of sex toy industry, and after a while Shunzi opens a tiny store with his new friend Lili. But not without problems...
Australian-born, Beijing-based director Sam Voutas has come a long way from his sci-fi student film Crash Test (read the review and an old interview of Voutas). Red Light Revolution is a wonderful little comedy, that should not be despised because of the subject. What we have here is a pretty harmless and warm-hearted stuff - and hey, no graphic sex scenes. The film takes also a funny look at the China's approach to sex industry. We are introduced to Chinese neighbourhood watch, which tries to protect citizens from those dirty sex shops. I really hope it's really not like that in China these days!
Zhao Jun as Shunzi is like a Chinese Jack Black. You can see similarities particurarly in his physical acting style, but also in the bodyweight. Despite that, you just couldn't picture anyone else to role of Shunzi, than Zhao Jun. The actor steals the screen (even if couple of times it seems like he's trying too hard). Vivid Wang (as Shunzi's shop partner Lili) on the other hand, gives a perfect, calming balance to Shunzi 's sometimes even manic behaviour, and this way supports the story in a credible way.
With a presumably low budget, Sam Voutas and the crew have been using the money in right places. The events happen mostly in Beijing suburbs and the decent cinematography captures the calm mood nicely. Tight direction keeps the story interesting to the very end and leaves a good feel - and a glimpse of hope too. Maybe China could someday realize, that sex shops aren't necessary equal to "filth".
Oh yes - Zhao Jun's wide, grinning smile will stay in your mind long after the film ended. Highly recommended.