3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy
Original Title: 3D肉蒲團之極樂寶鑑
Release date: April 14, 2011
Director: Christopher Suen
Novel by: Yu Li
Screenplay by: Stephen Su, Mark Wu
Cast: Hiro Hayama, Leni Lan, Tony Ho, Vonnie Lui, Saori Hara, Yukiko Suo
Curiosity is peaked, and how could it not? Marketed as a porn period-piece with a lot of naked bodies shot on 3D, how was that gonna work? However, let’s not mistake this – Sex Zen 3D is actually not a very erotic film, but a period fantasy sex comedy. If you look at it like that, it’s actually not… that bad, except for the sadomasochist bits halfway through the end that might turn off — pun not intended — viewers that aren’t into the more kinky dark stuff.
This is the third installment of the Sex and Zen series, which apparently are deep with its message of true love and meditation — I’ve still yet to see them, but again… my curiosity is at its peak. I mean, how could you not when it’s based on the Qing Dinasty erotic novel The Carnal Prayer Mat by Yu Li.
Sex Zen 3D tells the story of a Ming Dynasty scholar called Yangsheng (Hayama), who falls in love at first sight with the daughter of a Taoist priest named Yuxiang (Lan), who reciprocates his feelings. They get married, and on their wedding night, Yuxiang discovers that Yangsheng falls short in endurance, while she falls short in performance.
Because of the love Yangsheng has for his wife, he sets out to become a better lover, which leads him to the not so hidden cave dwellings of Quanlao Shi (Ho), the Prince of Ning, who has an harem of ladies at his disposition. The Prince is an amazing — rough — lover with a pretty big… love, but he is obviously evil as he sets out to take Yangsheng down.
For being labeled a porn, Sex Zen 3D is not explicit at all, except for the amount of boob-action bouncing on screen, which you know… if you think of it in 3D is kind of funny. However, most of the 3D action comes from actual — scaled-down — battles and objects being thrown at the screen now and then. Kind of disappointing in that sense, even though I’m not sure what I was expecting from the 3D usage.
The story starts out really comically — almost in a romantic sex comedy kind of way… maybe a little like Jason Biggs with the Pie on American Pie, but as the sort of jumbled plot progresses it keeps getting darker and kinkier, with scenes that involve rape, and some torture with gadgets. Actress Leni Lan had it rough — literally. While Japanese actor Hiro Hayama takes most of the jokes at the expense of his ability to please a woman and his… tiny love, which plays a big part — pun intended — in setting the last arc into motion.
My favorite part, however, comes from the Elder of Bliss, who lived off other people’s energy making the Elder eternally young and beautiful while the people around grew old at a faster pace. Actress Vonnie Lui, she’s got enough charisma to stand out in a movie with other naked people, and she doesn’t even have to have sex with anyone!
Even though the film felt long, the ending felt rushed, and while they tried to drive that message of true love by the end of the film… it felt a little too forced.