A massive hit in Hong Kong – where they’re obviously starved for 3D Chinese-language softcore – this glitzy update on 1991’s costumed Category III (Hong Kong’s adults-only rating) cult item ‘Sex and Zen’ arrives to tantalise the curious. As in the original, a vaguely moralistic framework surrounds an episodic assemblage of titillation, as Ming Dynasty scholar Wei Yangsheng (Hiro Hayama) ventures forth on a sensual odyssey all the better to please his new young wife. Erotic connoisseur the Prince of Ning (Tony Ho, a serious ham) and his Pavilion of Ultimate Bliss present a distinct learning curve, but not before a transplant on Wei’s unimpressive equipment provides a madcap comedy set-piece that’s the most fun in the entire movie. Elsewhere there’s much simulated bump ’n’ grind, plus swishing swords and silk-wrapped appendages thrust towards our 3D glasses, intermittently jolly for a while, but storytelling deficiencies ensure a draggy second half. Two minutes 48 seconds of cuts by the BBFC have taken the edge off some unnecessary sadism, but the brush-written credits remain the highlight.
Cast and crew