×

3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy

Auds get an eyeful of flesh, served with sadistic, spasmodic laughs, in "3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy," an attempt to revive the 1990s Hong Kong softcore-comedy franchise.

With:
With: Hiro Hayama, Leni Lan, Saori Hara, Yukiko Suho, Vonnie Lui, Tony Ho. (Cantonese dialogue)

Auds get an eyeful of flesh, served with sadistic, spasmodic laughs, in “3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy,” an attempt to revive the 1990s Hong Kong softcore-comedy franchise. While this item is even less interested in spirituality than the original pics, its most notable difference, apart from its stereoscopic visuals, is a distinct mean streak. Pic made a robust $351,000 in Hong Kong on opening day alone, and B.O. will continue to be socko there, as China’s strict censorship forces mainlanders to catch the film in H.K. In Oz, local theaters put on extra showings to meet demand.

While not always as coherent as its episodic 2D predecessors, “3D Sex and Zen” does its best to present a feature-length narrative based very loosely on the ancient Chinese text “The Carnal Prayer Mat.” Young Ming Dynasty scholar Yangsheng (Japanese thesp Hiro Hayama) falls in love with and marries beautiful Yuxiang (Leni Lan). The pair are happy, but due to a lack of stamina, among other shortcomings, the newlyweds’ sex life is below par.

Yangsheng seeks sexual tutelage from the Mephistophelian Prince of Ning (Tony Ho, chewing the scenery), who savors the pleasures of female flesh in his cliff-top Pavilion of Ultimate Bliss. Here, Yangsheng and Yuxiang’s couplings and the orgiastic atmosphere of Ning’s realm offer glimpses of bare breasts and pubic hair, but the gunning down of a nameless concubine in the prince’s lair also foreshadows the bountiful bloodshed and cruelty to follow in the film’s second, nastier half.

Script by Mark Wu and producers Stephen Shiu (producer of the original “Sex and Zen” franchise) and his son Stephen Shiu Jr. abandons its good-natured facade halfway through with a rape scene and thereafter descends into further acts of carnal violence; still, as unpleasant as it all is, J-horror fans will barely bat an eye.

Pic boasts plentiful female nudity as well as a closeup of a penis, but the bare bods of both sexes are objects of fun rather than eroticism here. Visuals are buttressed by strained sexual jokes that lose their impact in the English subtitles on the print caught, although one comic highlight, involving a bungled organ transplant and a hungry dog, supplies excruciating leg-crossing laughter.

Helming by commercials director Christopher Sun is workmanlike, frequently foregrounding irrelevant objects (bottles, candles) to exploit the 3D format. The usual gimmicks are deployed — flying knives, speeding bullets and so on — but given that the pic bills itself as “the world’s first 3D erotic film,” it’s reasonably restrained when it comes to technologically enhanced sexual imagery. Only one truly indulgent moment occurs, and it plays just long enough to be ludicrous. Regardless, Sun keeps the narrative ticking along with the help of editor Azrael Chung.

Thesping is routine, with all players (who include Japanese adult stars Saori Hara and Yukiko Suho) hamming it up. Only Vonnie Lui as the vampiric Elder of Bliss, who maintains a youthful appearance by sucking other’s yang energy, has enough charisma to be memorable.

Distaff costumes, when worn, are eye-catching, and production design is superior to that of many other Hong Kong productions. Even in 2D, pic should look aces.

3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy

Hong Kong

Production: A One Dollar Distribution (in Hong Kong)/Dream Movie (in Australia) release of a China 3D Digital Entertainment presentation of a One Dollar Prods., Local Prod. production. (International sales: One Dollar Distribution, Hong Kong.) Produced by Stephen Shiu, Stephen Shiu Jr. Executive producer, Stephen Shiu. Co-producer, Ng Kin-huang. Directed by Christopher Sun. Screenplay, Stephen Shiu, Stephen Shiu Jr., Mark Wu, based on the novel "The Carnal Prayer Mat" by Li Yu.

Crew: Camera (color, 3D), Jimmy Wong; editor, Azrael Chung; art director, Tony Yu; costume designer, Cindy Cheung; sound (Dolby); stunt coordinator, Lee Tat Chiu; associate producers, Mark Wu, Albert Lee. Reviewed at Xtremescreen 1, Hoyts Broadway, Sydney, April 14, 2011. Running time: 113 MIN.

With: With: Hiro Hayama, Leni Lan, Saori Hara, Yukiko Suho, Vonnie Lui, Tony Ho. (Cantonese dialogue)

More Film

  • Apollo 11

    Film News Roundup: 'Apollo 11' Re-Release Set for Moon Landing Anniversary

    In today’s film news roundup, Neon is re-releasing “Apollo 11”; “Sesame Street” gets moved; “Supersize Me 2” is set for Sept. 13; Will Ropp gets a “Silk Road” deal; and Apple makes a movie deal. RE-LAUNCH Neon will re-release Todd Douglas Miller’s documentary “Apollo 11” in theaters on July 20, the 50th anniversary of the [...]

  • Michael B. JordanAFI Awards Luncheon, Los

    Michael B. Jordan's 'Just Mercy' Moves to Awards Season Slot

    Michael B. Jordan’s upcoming legal drama “Just Mercy” has been shifted forward three weeks from Jan. 17 to Dec. 25 for an Oscar-qualifying theatrical release. “Just Mercy” is based on the case of Walter McMillan, an African-American death-row prisoner who was exonerated in 1993 after being convicted five years earlier for a 1986 murder in [...]

  • Harry Styles to Play Prince Eric

    Harry Styles in Talks to Play Prince Eric in Disney's 'Little Mermaid'

    Harry Styles is going under the sea. The former One Direction frontman is in early negotiations to play Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid.” Halle Bailey will portray the Ariel, a mermaid princess who dreams of being a human, while Melissa McCarthy is playing her evil aunt Ursula. “The Little Mermaid” [...]

  • Stuber Movie

    Disney Left With a Slate of Film Flops After Fox Deal

    Is Disney having buyer’s remorse? The studio would be forgiven if it were having some regrets after absorbing 20th Century Fox, the company that once generated big box office with the likes of “Avatar,” “Life of Pi,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” After “Dark Phoenix” bombed earlier this summer, Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista’s action comedy “Stuber” [...]

  • Taika Waititi Returning to Direct 'Thor

    Taika Waititi to Direct Marvel's 'Thor 4'

    Taika Waititi is returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The filmmaker will write and direct the sequel to his 2017 blockbuster “Thor: Ragnarok.” Waititi’s take on the fourth “Thor” movie puts Warner Bros.’ long-in-development “Akira” adaptation on hold indefinitely. However, the studio hopes that “Akira” can get resume production with Waititi at the helm once [...]

  • Akira

    'Akira' Production Put on Hold by Warner Bros.

    Warner Bros. has put its long-in-development “Akira” adaptation on hold indefinitely, sources tell Variety. Sources indicate that after a brief delay, the studio has pulled the plug on production indefinitely for the classic anime adaptation, which was set to begin later this fall. “Thor: Ragnarok” helmer Taika Waititi was on board to direct, and the [...]

  • Sir Elton John, David Furnish. Sir

    New Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala to be Held in the South of France

    Elton John and David Furnish are launching a new gala for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The two will host the inaugural A Midsummer Party benefit on July 24 in the south of France at the Johnny Pigozzi’s private estate, Villa Dorane, in Cap d’Antibes. A cocktail reception will be followed by dinner, a live [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content