Foreign Objects travels the world of international cinema each week to look for films worth visiting. So renew your passport, get your shots, and brush up on the local age of legal consent, this week we’re heading to…
One of the advantages of writing a foreign films column is that my only real restriction is geography. As long as a movie was produced outside of the US it’s available for review here. So while last week found us wading through a serious and artful drama about 1980’s Ireland, political prisoners, and the indomitable power of the human spirit, this week we’re watching an Asian softcore sex comedy.
In addition to having an awesome title, The Forbidden Legend: Sex & Chopsticks is based on the classic 17th century Chinese novel “Jin Ping Mei” (“The Plum In The Vase”). It’s the tale of a young nobleman raised in a world of privilege and sexual permissiveness. Simon Qing (Lam Wai-Kin) is a young boy living with his famed sexologist father and ailing mother. Sex is a mystery to the boy even as he observes his father’s multiple concubines, pornographic art, and voracious appetite for animal dong. Qing’s mother is dying but requests one last thing from her husband… no, not to take care of young Qing. And no, not to remember her always. Mom just wants one more earth shattering orgasm before she dies, so Dad sticks his needle in her (not a euphemism… he uses acupuncture in her breasts to provide an energy boost for fornication), sexes her up, and then holds her in his arms as she expires.
Qing’s father begins to train him in the sexual arts by various means including literary knowledge, art history, penile calligraphy, and of course, the fabled penis push-ups seen above. (Can you beat my record of seventeen?) The one rule is that Qing cannot be with a woman until his father gives permission, so Qing spends much of his time pleasuring himself. A young woman named Violetta (Kaera Uehara) comes to stay with them and Qing’s horniness level shoots through the bamboo roof. The duo enjoys multiple sex sessions mimicking the positions depicted in the ancient texts, and Qing finds himself falling for her until she disappears one day. She leaves behind a note explaining that she was hired by Qing’s father to teach him both sex and loss. The rest of the film follows Qing taking the lessons to heart and heading out into the world in search of great sex.
The picture at the top of the page was chosen for a few reasons… first, it’s an obvious eye-catcher. Second, I used to have a thing for Sinead O’Connor. (By “a thing” I mean strong sexual attraction. Don’t judge. It was mutual.) And lastly, I want to be clear when I say there is a lot of sex in this movie. Seriously… there is a lot of sex in this movie. And most of it is pretty damn good. The film also contains what can arguably be described as one of the hottest bathing scenes ever filmed. (I’ve included the safest screen grab I could get below.) As a softcore sex romp the movie is a rousing success. Aside from what’s already been mentioned, there’s also sex with the hot, bald monkette named Moon (Hikaru Wakana), acrobatic ‘wire-fu’ sex, pelvic thrusts that send a woman ten feet into the air only to land back onto Qing’s shlong, a threesome featuring some double dildo action, and a scene where he sucks a young girl’s foot almost entirely into his mouth. Like I said, the sex is fantastic… it’s the film’s non-sex scenes that are the problem.
Director Man Kei Chin can’t seem to decide what kind of movie he’s making here. It leans toward broad comedy… Women slip and pratfall on semen, Qing’s servant gets his “little dickie” stepped on and kicked accompanied by the sounds of tweeting birds, a single scene towards the end features sped-up, Benny Hill-like shenanigans, and there’s a cuckold meant to be either a midget or an amputee who quite clearly and obviously is just walking around on his knees. There are the occasional funny bits here, but most of the laughs fall flat. It doesn’t help that they’re interspersed with an attempted rape, fetishizing of a minor, crass and incredibly rude behavior by Qing himself, and a finale that includes Qing and a lover murdering her husband solely so she can become his concubine. The shifts in tone are incredibly jarring, especially towards the film’s end, and it makes the entire thing uneven. The events do stay somewhat faithful to the character’s arc in the original novel, but Qing’s transition from slapstick king to being “the most licentious person” in the kingdom is a thematic failure.
The Forbidden Legend is meant as nothing more than a Category III sex film so any more serious criticism is wasted here. It succeeds at it’s primary goal of erotic cinema, and it looks really good in the process. The main female talent are actually quite pretty, and the film’s production values are far higher than you’ll find in the average late night Cinemax skin flick. Throw in a couple fairly competent fight scenes (nothing elaborate, although they do include Qing’s “Iron Dick” finishing move) and you have a pretty good, albeit uneven piece of softcore cinema.
The Forbidden Legend: Sex & Chopsticks is available on import DVD via Amazon.