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3D SEX AND ZEN: EXTREME ECSTASY
DVD . Metrodome.

3D Sex and Zen: Extreme EcstasyAlthough somewhat overshadowed by Japanese Pink Cinema these days, the Hong Kong Category III softcore movie has a fine and venerable history, and so the heavily publicised release of a remake of / sequel to the classic Sex and Zen in 3D was welcome indeed – hopefully, this major hit film will help restart a moribund genre.

In the classic tradition of Hong Kong softcore, Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy is an often convoluted and sometime uncomfortable mix of nudity, violence and comedy, as it tells the story of Wei Yangsheng (Hiro Hayama), a self-assured young man who manages to snatch the beautiful Yuxiang (Leni Nam) as his bride from under the nose of his best friend. But marriage proves disappointing for both, as he is sexually incompetent and she becomes frustrated. Soon, he’s hanging out with the sinister Prince of Ning in the Pavilion of Ultimate Bliss – a brothel that would make Caligula proud. However, his tiny penis does little to impress the ladies, and so he arranges to have it swapped for a donkey cock! Meanwhile, Yuxiang has divorced him and been cast out of her family after being raped by a handyman. But fate will bring the pair together again as we discover that revenge is a dish best served cold, and the film ends with a surprisingly brutal and nihilistic bout of violence and torture.

This is handsomely mounted stuff – there’s no faulting the production values of the movie, and the CGI effects are often better than in many big-budget Hollywood movies (on the other hand, some of the CGI is laughably bad). The sex, while strictly softcore, comes thick and fast, with plentiful nudity from an attractive female cast, and while it might not seem overly erotic, it’s certainly pleasant eye-candy. What’s more surprising is the graphic violence – some scenes played for laughs, others deadly serious. There’s more penis-severing in this film than any other I’ve seen, plus some moments of thoroughly nasty torture and gore – you have to wonder what effect this would 3d Sex and Zen: extreme Ecstasyhave on audiences who’d expected little more than a sexy romp.

The version under review is the BBFC cut version – having not seen it uncut, I have to concede that the cuts have been made very smoothly – I certainly couldn’t see any scenes that appeared to be truncated. Interestingly, although all the media attention the film gained was due to the 3D element, and although the DVD is released in 3D, press screeners were 2D only. You can perhaps reach your own conclusions as to the quality of the 3D on video from that. All I can say is that there are plenty of scenes where things fly at the camera and I imagine it was great fun to watch theatrically.

Still, whichever version you see, Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy is a lot more entertaining than you would expect it to be, and a must-see for any fans of Hong Kong erotica.

DAVID FLINT

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