Review: MY 3D SEX JOURNEY: DUE WEST Is Snappy, Sexy And Sketchy

Frankie (Justin Cheung) is a seriously horny teenager. Brought up in a strict middle class family, he turns to his "sex mentor" Jing (Gregory Wong), who initiates him in the world of smut and lurid behaviour. With the help of Jing, Frankie faces all sorts of embarrassing and hilarious moments, inextricably forcing him to study in the UK, which leads into his young adulthood and eventually a career back in Hong Kong.

He gets into a pretty serious relationship with Zeta (Celia Kwok), who to say the least has intimacy issues of her own that do not fully satisfy Frankie. After some instability in his life and a shocking discovery about his father, he decides to reunite with Jing, and in a desperate and melancholic act makes his way to the fabled city of Shenzhen, where organised prostitution and 'soap lands' await him. Of course, being Frankie and considering his already crazy background, he gets a lot more than he bargains for.

Painful title aside, My 3D Sex Journey: Due West, now Due West for the purpose of this review, is a very funny, perverted good time, but on another level works as scathing satire, albeit in an extremely entertaining and sexy package. The "due west" part of the title refers to the trend of Shenzhen's burgeoning sex industry, which in this film is on full display and is quite absurd. From fantasy fish ponds, where the women rotate around a digital aquarium and are treated as less than commodities, to the night club scene of shonky sounding Mainlanders with names like Karebere, 'you might as well be called kimchi,' states Frankie. These girls are all terribly made-up and hilariously bored to tears by the presence of the Hong Kong gents, simply stopping by to consume all their alcohol, sucking them dry before moving on; of course the lads let it happen, as they cannot help but ogle their sizable assets, something Hong Kong ladies lack considerably! I could not help but read into even this little scene; sure it is talking about boobs, but was it also sizing up the Mainland and Hong Kong?

On another level, Due West is very sweet, with the good-natured but sexually frustrated protagonist struggling in a society he receives no pleasure from. He nervously and with regret in his heart takes the bus to the Mainland, he identifies himself with the perverted and shameless men with him, and you can feel his disillusionment. It is great to see the humbled and 'cool' looking Jing accompany him on his journey, since he is a great character who hides a deep melancholy that he expresses perfectly on screen. The time Frankie spends with Zeta is sickeningly sweet, taking a jab at romantic comedies in general, and there are a few memorable scenes where even the extras react in disgust and amusement at their overly affectionate public displays.

It is not just romance that cheeky director Mark Wu channels, however, he sticks it to a few renowned Hong Kong auteurs, at times mimicking the realist absurdity of Pang Ho-Cheung and the extreme melancholy of Wong Kar-Wai, even copying the stilted camera effects and familiar score.

These clever bits are wrapped up in a very accessible erotic comedy. The girls are gorgeous, the breasts are big and the 3D adds an extra glossy sheen over things; as a big fan of 3D Sex and Zen, I applaud the efforts of China 3D! The film never really goes too far, acting as eye candy throughout and using the beauty of these objectified prostitutes in an almost endearing way. The message here is that it is all good fun. It's a fine line the director is taking, but ultimately he has pulled off this mix of serious themes and wacky sexual antics perfectly.

My only issue with Due West is the pacing. Acting as a series of sketch comedy vignettes in an episodic fashion would have been much more ideal. Dealing with the protagonist's inner thoughts while putting him through a hilarious ordeal is the format of the extremely popular web comic this movie is based on. It is difficult to replicate such a medium, and ultimately Due West fails as a full feature narrative. The ending is extremely abrupt, the scenes between Hong Kong and Shenzhen are extremely jarring, and mid-way through the movie, I was expecting the credits to start rolling.

Pacing aside, I cannot recommend Due West more, for its risqué humour, damn sexy eye candy, and smart and witty satire, this is an extremely intelligent and impressive comedy that works on many levels.


My 3D Sex Journey: Due West is now playing in cinemas in Australia, check the listing here

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