SEX AND ZEN: EXTREME ECSTASY
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 have
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.
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