At a party for a fabulously wealthy matron, opposing burglars Chi-Yang (Julian Cheng) and Cat (Shu Qi) meet and fall in love. Cat's cohorts, Monkey (Sandra Ng) and Octopus (Kelly Lin) are not amused, especially since Cat ditches them to go swimming with Chi-Yang (the wealthy matron hid her diamonds in a safe at the bottom of a pool). The two lovebirds make a daring escape, becoming animated figures on an animated castle. Cue fantastic opening credits.
THREE YEARS LATER:
Cat is now working as a secretary for a software firm called Mega Soft. Despite her hunky boss, she still can't get her mind off of Chi-Yang. Turns out the two of them became an item after the burglary, but later drifted apart. All this at the five-minute mark of the film.
Octopus calls Cat up and invites her out for a birthday celebration. Cat is disconcerted to see Octopus smoking the same brand of cigarettes as Chi-Yang. Both women reminisce over their times growing up in the orphanage ("It was different then; we were virgins"), and Octopus is concerned over Cat's hang-up with Chi-Yang. She encourages Cat to forget the no-goodnick.
Both women return to Cat's pad later that night. Just as they're settling in, two members of the Russian Mafia jump them. Cat and Octopus neatly kick ass (with knitting needles and girlie crap) until the leader, Paracov (Ron Smoorenburg), quickly inserts a VCR tape into Cat's machine. Turns out Paracov has kidnapped Chi-Yang, for reasons yet unknown. Cat stops her rampage and sinks to the sofa. Paracov leaves, with no real word as to his visit. Strange guy.
Time to call in the rest of the gang: Spider (Amanda Strang), Peacock (Rosemary Vandebroucke), Goldfish (Theresa Mak) and the unfortunately-named Pigeon (Rachel Ngan). After hearing the situation, Goldfish and Pigeon remark: "Russian Mafia? Why does this sound like a movie?" They forgot to add the qualifier "bad", but we'll forgive them - they're new at this.
Back at work, Cat is dutifully transcribing a boring meeting about KTV - a software program capable of detecting 10,000 preexisting viruses. "It can even detect new and invisible viruses!", raves Fred (Jing Wong), the nerdy owner. We're led to believe that KTV will be worth millions of dollars to the first person who markets it - kind of a super-effective, super-expensive Norton Antivirus.
Because of its inflated price tag, drastic measures need to be taken to secure KTV. I'm buying all of this until Fred mentions that they don't actually have the software, but they'll be able to download it at midnight on December 31, 2001. They're going to FTP this exceedingly valuable program? Talk about crappy security.
Just because they're morons at Mega Soft, doesn't mean they're morons in the Russian Mafia. Paracov sends Cat an instant message on her computer asking for the KTV notes. He threatens her boss, and she reluctantly sends him the notes.
Paracov departs, and the elite squad of burglars, headed by Monkey, follow him. Turns out he's been staying at the Chungking Mansions. Kind of sad to see the Russian Mafia down on its luck.
Back at Mega Soft, Thomas (Cat's cute boss) is getting ready to perform his final scene: opening the heavily-secured MegaSoft safe. This involves rotating a glass tube to the right, then the left. Cat wisely notes that she'll be able to open it herself later.
Inside the safe, Fred mentions that they have an extra layer of protection - the alarm will go off if the sound level is over 30 decibels. In other words, no explosives and no kinky sex. You think I'm making this up, don't you?
The seven women regroup and realize that they'll need Fred's fingerprints to open the safe. Peacock (Rosemary Vandebroucke) attempts to get a set by asking Fred to oil her down at the swimming pool. Unfortunately for her, Fred's still in love with his ex-wife, Maggie, and blushingly refuses. Peacock is perplexed, especially since she's a knockout babe in a bikini.
Fred drops a picture of Maggie, who looks an awful lot like Monkey (Sandra Ng).
Back at Cat's pad, Spider (Amanda Strang) mentions that they might not need Fred's fingerprints: she's heard of an explosives expert, Bone (Terence Yin), who might be able to help. Two problems though: 1) he's in jail, and 2) he's a pervert. Monkey sends Spider and Goldfish to the prison to talk with Bone (you know, that sentence makes a lot more sense when you've seen the film).
At the prison, Spider has made the brave fashion choice of wearing a white tube-top. Hell, I wouldn't wear a white tube-top alone in my apartment, much less to visit a pervert. Bone comes out and refuses to talk to Goldfish, asking for Spider instead. Spider picks up the phone and Bone pretends that he can't hear her ("Can you stand closer to the glass?") Women only fall for this trick once, but apparently Spider's never heard of it before. She leans in seriously and asks advice about picking a SG88 lock, only to find Bone staring at her breasts, masturbating furiously. Ick. Bone lunges at the glass, laughing hysterically, while Spider and Goldfish beat a hasty retreat.
At Cat's place, the women console Spider ("That bastard tried to lick her breasts behind glass!") Meanwhile, DHL has dropped off a grisly package: a piece of skin with Chi-Yang's tattoo on it. Grosser still, it wasn't packed on ice - does the Russian Mafia know nothing about spoilage? Cat freaks out slightly in the bathroom.
Octopus is placed in charge of contacting Paracov for the transfer: Chi-Yang for the KTV disk. Inside the Chungking Mansion, our crack team manages to track down Paracov and find and free Chi-Yang. Cat zooms off with her ex-lover on the back of a motorcycle, leaving her teammates behind in the dust.
Cat takes Chi-Yang to the abandoned orphanage of her childhood for a little quiet time. In the abandoned building, Cat manages to find candles and matches and draws a hot bath for Chi-Yang. She washes the wound where his tattoo used to be, and I can't help but notice it's a tiny little red scar instead of a huge chunk of raw flesh as the DHL package implied.
The rest of the gang finally arrive at the house, rather annoyed at Cat. They reluctantly forgive her, but Octopus remains aloof . Later that night, Paracov uses a helicopter and rekidnaps Chi-Yang. Quite the damsel in distress, that Chi-Yang.
Realizing their options are limited, Monkey tries to seduce Fred. They set up a date for a later tryst, mostly because Fred is still hung-up over his ex-wife and her uncanny resemblance to Monkey.
In an attempt to diversify, the women decide to spring Bone from prison. Since he's a convicted sex maniac, this seems akin to the "Usual Suspect" guys deciding to spring a female convict who likes to castrate men.
The plan to spring Bone works well - a little too well, in fact. When Bone recovers, securely bound to a chair, he tells the women "Are you into sex games? Come on - hit me - I love it!" They do, and he does.
Cat offer him $200,000 for his help in stealing KTV, but Bone only wants to, er, bone Spider. Says he'll do it for free if Spider does anything he asks. Spider refuses and the women are back to square one - this time with a bona fide pervert on their hands.
Meanwhile, Monkey's ready for her big date with Fred. Fred needs to touch her in three different places to get a good reading of his fingerprints: ear, bra and underwear. Only problem is that Fred doesn't actually want to have sex with Monkey. Exasperated, Monkey forces Fred to grope her, then leaves the date, disgusted.
Back at MegaSoft, Octopus, Peacock and Goldfish have managed to distract and dispatch the guards, while Cat, Pigeon, Spider and Bone head off for the vault. Bone's agreed to help them for a cool sum of US$2,000,000; they're criminally overpaying him.
At the safe, Cat rotates the pillar left & right, but no go. Bone notices her agitation and whispers in her ear that the pillar only reacts to the correct body temperature. He then nuzzled against Spider ("I will let you be hero this time") and offers her gloves which will match to the temperature. Spider reluctantly takes the gloves.
Sure enough, the gloves work work like a charm, and Cat and Pigeon enter the vault. In a moment of exceedingly bad planning, they leave Bone and Spider alone together outside. Bit of a problem, as Spider is effectively immobilized: if she releases the pillar, it'll trap Cat and Pigeon inside the vault. Bone sidles up from behind and starts fondling her. He breathes heavily into Spider's ear, unbuttons her pants, and begins having loud, forced sex with her.
Inside the vault, Pigeon and Cat are waiting for the file to finish downloading (30 minutes total). Of course, it would have been easier just to intercept the file in-transit, but let's assume there was a direct, exclusive cable. They hear Bone's orgasmic gruntings outside, but pretty much ignore it. Which puts them firmly in the "bitch" category in my book.
Once Bone finishes, he whispers to Spider what has to be the creepiest line in the history of cinema: "Do you love me?" Spider coldly responds: "Finished? Fix my clothes." Apparently, these are the words to woo Bone, as he starts waxing poetic about the strength of women and offers Spider his eternal friendship and protection. When Cat and Pigeon finally emerge, they ask Spider if Bone tried anything. Spider shakes her head, then releases the door.
Away from MegaSoft, Cat tells Bone that the money will be in his account in two weeks. Holy shit - they're still paying him? They're seriously overvaluing his services.
Spider thinks so too, but she offers him a ride out of town anyway. Just as Bone's settling in for some serious snuggling, she starts laughing hysterically ("Any man who sleeps with me must die!") and tries to kill him. Actually, I think she has a valid point. This scene also makes more sense when you realize that her code name is supposed to be "Black Widow", not Spider.
Unfortunately, Spider's plan for killing Bone involves wildly swerving the car left & right . Unless he dies from motion sickness, I'm not sure how effective this will be. Use your gun, Spider!
The other members of the team stop the swerving car and rescue Spider and Bone, both laughing hysterically. Spider giggles and tells them that Bone didn't try anything, and to let him go. Bone looks startled, then departs.
Meanwhile, Octopus has come for Cat and the KTV. Monkey whispers that Octopus has been acting strangely lately, but Cat ignores her. I think Spider's been acting strange, but everyone ignores me too. Octopus drives Cat to a conveniently deserted factory ("This used to be a gas factory - don't shoot") for the final showdown. The rest of the team silently arrives to back Cat up.
Paracov exchanges Chi-Lang for the KTV disk. Kind of sweet to think the Russian Mafia is going to such lengths to distribute an antivirus program. Alas, Kat has kept the original disk to herself. Paracov threatens to kill Octopus, and Chi-Lang drags the protesting Cat out of the room.
Paracov and Octopus fight between themselves and reveal that they're reluctantly working together for the disk ("I paid you $10,000,000!" "You paid Chi-Lang $10,000,000!") Am I the only one who thinks everyone is getting overpaid?
Meanwhile, Pigeon and Spider are being pursued by Russian Mafia. Just as things are looking their worst, Bone comes back and takes out four guards with some nifty kung-fu moves. Sex must keep him limber. This is the cue the other women need to start kicking some royal ass; Goldfish does a backflip down a flight of stairs and takes out a guard, while Peacock is busily snapping men's necks with her long, lean legs.
Spider is losing her fight, but just before she's run through with a nasty length of pipe, Bone throws himself in its path, blocking the deadly blow. He dies as the words "I'll do anything for you; even if it means my death" echoes through the air. Enraged, Spider picks up the pipe and kills her attacker for accidentally killing Bone instead of her (and I thought my emotional life was convoluted?!)
Octopus confronts Chi-Yang, telling Cat that he was just setting her up the whole time. Chi-Yang denies this, spouting the corniest line in the history of cinema to Cat: "The thing I wanted most to steal was your heart; I can't believe you stole my heart instead." Maybe it's not as schmaltzy in Cantonese.
Cat buys this drivel, but not before Octopus pumps two bullets through him. Cat berates Octopus ("Because of him you sold all your sisters out!"), forgetting the fact that she dumped her sisters for a night with Chi-Yang in the abandoned orphanage.
Paracov tries to kill Octopus one final time, before dying in a fiery inferno as the abandoned gas factory finally explodes. Chi-Yang has a couple bullets through him, but manages to escape. I wasn't paying enough attention at this point to see if Octopus survived or not. Cat disappears afterwards, and isn't heard of again for a year.
ONE YEAR LATER:
Monkey is getting ready to marry Fred - purely for his money. Fred seems fine with this arrangement, and, since it's Jing Wong, he's probably loaded. Cat shows up at the wedding, offering the chance for them to team up together again to steal a $20,000,000 painting. The rest of the girls agree. Monkey tosses aside her veil, mentions "I can get married anytime", and heads off with her pals, stranding Fred at the altar. Roll credits.