out of Five
Running time: 109
Despite some enjoyably silly 3D moments, this never really comes together, thanks to an uneven tone, a messy script, serious pacing issues and some dodgy Carry On-style acting. The sex isn't great either.
What's it all about?
Directed by Christopher Sun, 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy (3D rou pu tuan zhi ji le bao jian, original title fans) is part remake and part sex comedy spoof of Chinese wushu epics. Hiro Hayama stars as sexually inexperienced young scholar Yangsheng, who falls in love with the beautiful Yuxiang (Leni Lan) and marries her, only to discover that he can't satisfy her sexually, despite lots of practice.
In desperation, Yangsheng seeks the help of the sex-obsessed Prince of Ning (Tony Ho), but the help comes at a price and soon Yangsheng is being ravished by Ning's sex experts (Saori Hara and Yukiko Suo) and ends up agreeing to a giant donkey cock transplant on the advice of the Elder of Ultimate Bliss (Vonnie Lui). Meanwhile, abandoned Yuxiang divorces Yangsheng and marries a different scholar (Jason Lu), only to be sexually attacked by one of Ning's warriors (Kirt Kishita) as part of Ning's dastardly plans.
The posters seem to sell 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy as a serious hardcore sex epic along the lines of Ai No Corrida (In the Realm of the Senses), whereas in fact, it's much closer to a Carry On film in tone, albeit a Carry On film with lots of sex in it. The main thing the film has in its favour is the 3D effects, which are used inventively throughout, with all sorts of things poking out of the screen at you (though, rest assured, they don't go quite as far as you might be thinking).
The main problem is the tone of the film, which is all over the place – the transplant scene is played strictly for Young Frankenstein-style laughs, for example and is actually pretty funny, though the rest of the film veers wildly from melodrama to fight scenes to love story (complete with a laughably insincere message about not needing sex if you have true love) and never really gels together. Similarly, the messy script leads to some serious pacing issues and the film drags considerably towards the end, stretching the conclusion to ludicrous lengths.
On top of that, the acting is extremely ropey, with on over-reliance on comedy mugging shots. Also, the sex scenes themselves aren't actually all that exciting and nobody seems to be really enjoying themselves, giant donkey cock or no giant donkey cock.
As a silly sex comedy, 3D Sex and Zen has its moments and the 3D is entertaining but it's let down by a sloppy script, some dodgy acting and an uneven tone.