Review: 3D SEX AND ZEN: EXTREME ECSTASY 3D肉蒲團之極樂寶鑑 (2011) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Review: 3D SEX AND ZEN: EXTREME ECSTASY 3D肉蒲團之極樂寶鑑 (2011)

Review: 3D SEX AND ZEN: EXTREME ECSTASY 3D肉蒲團之極樂寶鑑 (2011)

Wei Yangshen (Hiro Hayama) is an egotistic wealthy scholar first caught in love at first sight with a noble family's prized daughter Tie Yuxiang (Leni Lan). He marries her and both of them enjoying their happiness together, except for one shortcoming -- their sex life are dull especially Yangshen's peculiar problem of sustaining longevity. Yangshen feels frustrated and sets out to seek carnal pleasure elsewhere, while leaving his lonely wife at home. Then one day he travels to the Pavilion of Ultimate Bliss at the clifftop where the notorious Prince of Ning (Tony Ho) keeps his treasures. The place also housed an orgy of the most experienced and beautiful women in the land. Prince of Ning has subsequently admired Yangshen's expertise on genuine art and allows him to hang out at his place. Yangshen's immediate first sexual encounter is Ruizhu (Saori Hara), who uses acupuncture to increase Yangshen's stamina. However, that is the only time where Yangshen gets to prolong his sexual activity. He becomes a subject of laughter when Ning and the rest of the nubile beauties ridicule him for his tiny private part. Soon he seeks help from the Elder of Bliss (Vonnie Lui), a sex expert who recommends him to seek a couple of quack doctors, lead by Dique (Tin Kai Man) for a penis transplant. Yangshen is required to have his tiny private part chopped off and replaced the one from a horse. But like the original version, a series of amusing mishaps happen when the quack doctors' hungry dog bites off his severed tiny private part, while the horse penis is accidentally crushed by Dique's wheelchair. Luckily Yangshen has a quick replacement with the one from a lesser animal -- which is a donkey! After equipped himself with a new private part, he is now able to prove himself a worthy sexual encounter among the countless beauties inside the Pavilion of Ultimate Bliss. But little does he know that Ning has a secret grudge against him and everything is actually part of his sinister plan to teach him a deadly lesson.


REVIEW: As of this writing, (you) should know that the world's first stereoscopic 3D softcore erotic movie, 3D SEX AND ZEN: EXTREME ECSTASY has already made history by surpassing HK$20 million-grossing of 1991's SEX AND ZEN by raking in an impressive HK$39.7 million in the box-office and still counting. That's not all, 3D SEX AND ZEN: EXTREME ECSTASY also made more history in the Hong Kong cinema -- the movie smashed records, beating AVATAR as the highest 3D debut, and LUST, CAUTION, as the highest-grossing Category III movie opening -- with HK$2.79 million on its first-day show. You have to admit that the massive hype behind 3D SEX AND ZEN: EXTREME ECSTASY is a product of pure marketing genius. (Everybody) are talking about it, especially for those curious-minded viewers and I almost convinced that 3D SEX AND ZEN: EXTREME ECSTASY is going to revive the once-popular genre of Category III softcore erotica ushering for a new era. So does the movie actually holds the promise? The short answer is, no.

In fact, 3D SEX AND ZEN: EXTREME ECSTASY is a pure gimmick that leads you to believe you are in for something you've never experienced before. Let me assure you that after I watched this movie, it's nothing more than your average softcore erotica. The story, which is more or less a rehash of 1991's SEX AND ZEN.

The story between this new version and the original SEX AND ZEN are mostly identical to each other except there is still one notable difference here -- 3D SEX AND ZEN: EXTREME ECSTASY plays down the original's over-the-top comedy and replaces it with a more romantic undertone. It's a bold move, but at the same, the filmmakers made a grave mistake by selling their movie with a theme of undying love that feels more awkward and distasteful.

Speaking of distasteful, screenwriter Stephen Shiu, Stephen Shiu Jr. and Mark Wu are taking things too seriously regarding their subject matter. Sure, there is moment of guilty pleasures, especially in the playful first half. But for all the copious amount of nudity and sex, those particular scenes feel strangely unimaginative and lack of creative energy the original SEX AND ZEN once had in the past. What's more, for a softcore erotica that supposed to offer the viewers the never-before-seen cinematic experience, is an utter failure altogether. Those who are expecting 3D sex will be very disappointed by the movie's more stereoscopic usage of other showy objects like debris, tables, windows, daggers and bullets. Now this is what I called a misguided marketing campaign heading for all the wrong reasons.

The second half is even more misguided once the movie abruptly switches its playful tone to a series of mean-spirited nature of tasteless spectacles. Mind you, there is unpleasant stuff that the filmmakers goes all-out in term of rape sequence, graphic torture and other violence-related materials. Fans of extreme cinema might enjoy it, but then again, they are simply off-putting. Again, this is supposed to be a movie called 3D SEX AND ZEN: EXTREME ECSTASY, not 3D SEX AND ZEN: EXTREME TORTURE. Maybe the filmmakers take the word "extreme" from their title and does it the other way round, whereas I'm sure (most) viewers are expecting otherwise.

Christopher Sun's direction (his first feature as a director) is pedestrian at best, while the actors are mostly average performances. Anyone expecting the kind of enthusiastic performances previously played by Lawrence Ng, Amy Yip and Tsui Kam-Kong in the original version, will be disappointed with the result here. Save for the playful performances by Tony Ho, Tin Kai-Man and Vonnie Lui (who plays the role with a bizarre voice of an old man), the rest of them (which mostly inhabited by Japanese actors and AV stars) are all good looks but little else matters. The biggest disappointment of them all is the lead actor of Hiro Hayama. Sure, he has the appearance of playing a sleazy role but then again, isn't it better to find a legitimate Hong Kong actor instead? Meanwhile, the girls (AV stars) are beautiful and pleasing to the eyes -- except they are all glossy surface but no depth.

So much for the anticipation.

For all the 3D gimmick and the highly-anticipated return of Category III softcore erotica, this new SEX AND ZEN reboot is strangely unimaginative and lacks creative flair.

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