Director: Christopher Sun
Screenplay: Stephen Siu, Mark Wu
Based on the novel: "The Carnal Prayer Mat" by Yu Li
Starring: Hiro Hayama, Leni Lan, Saori Hara
Producer: Stephen Siu
Country: Hong Kong
Running Time: 110 min
BBFC Certificate: 18
I don't normally review this kind of film. Softcore porn comedies are not films I have much of an interest in watching let alone reviewing, but this was an exception. After gaining a lot of press attention for its claim to be the 'first 3D erotic movie' (which I very much doubt), as well as its phenomenal success in China, I'd been strangely interested in this follow up to the popular Sex and Zen series so jumped at the chance when I was offered a screener to review. From the posters and trailers it looked like a lot of fun too so I actually had fairly high hopes for 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy. Unfortunately it didn't really live up to these, but it's still worth writing about.
Sex and Zen's "story", which is based on a novel surprisingly enough, tells of a man who marries the woman of his dreams but finds he can't satisfy her in the bedroom due to his lack of 'longevity'. He therefore seeks the assistance of an evil prince who is famous for his rampant sexual activities and huge member. In doing this our hero becomes the prince's slave though and after 'practising' on various ladies from his harem, the young man's wife leaves him. To top this all off our hero also discovers that his minuscule trouser snake is not sufficient to satisfy any woman. This all leads to much silliness, love-making and waving around of giant fake penises.
I really wanted to enjoy this. The film looks impressive. It's certainly got the highest production values I've seen on what is basically a porno and uses much of it to create lavish and colourful sets and costumes to create a vibrancy to complement its fairly impressive cinematography. It's zaniness is occasionally effective too with a penis transplant scene making me laugh out loud in bemusement.
Unfortunately it all grows tiresome very quickly. There's a lot more sex in the film than I was expecting for a mainstream title and this is largely what let it down for me. The sex scenes are too silly to be particularly erotic and get too repetitive to be fun. As usual for many eastern films the tone varies a bit wildly too with the film getting rather nasty towards the end. That said I found the more action based finale a refreshing change to all the shagging. It's hardly Crouching Tiger though so not enough to win me over entirely.
I must add on a side note, that the version I reviewed was only in 2D, so maybe fans of the 3D format would have more to enjoy. The film clearly revels in it's extra dimension as there are constantly things poking at or flying out of the screen. This is very gimmicky of course, but with a film like this it was always going to be the case and is kind of the point.
Fans of these types of movie will probably love it and there is fun to be had here and there, but like most porn films you're better off fast forwarding to the 'best bits' rather than sit through the whole thing. In this film's case I don't mean the scenes that generally implies though.
3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy is released in the UK on January 2nd on DVD. The DVD contains both 2D and 3D versions, but there are no other features so to speak.