Cash Chin Man-Kei Cast: The first one was fun, the second one is mildly disturbing. What does this have to do with chopsticks? The award for 's most unfortunate bait-and-switch goes to The Forbidden Legend: The original was a sleazy, cheesy but amusing retro experience that recalled the glory days of Hong Kong Category III erotica. Hong Kong has done it well before, e. However those films managed their combination of bawdy comedy, cautionary tale, and lurid erotica thanks to varying tones and the fact that they were each standalone films.
The Plum in the Golden Vase, the famous 17th century Chinese novel. Using lies, aphrodisiacs, and some wife-swapping rationale, Simon plots to ravish Pinky - even if it means offing Hua Xizu along the way. What he doesn't know is that Lotus once had a thing for Wu Song.
Will she help Wu Song to exact revenge on Simon? Lotus' connection to Wu Song is merely an excuse for even more softcore sex, with one scene involving Lotus gratifying herself while Wu Song is getting the tar whipped out of him. Yeah, you read that right.
However, if one expects the film to be fun, then they may be disappointed because the film isn't that. The sex scenes are much longer this time out, but most of them are portrayed as disquieting, as frequently there's some unhappy subtext going on. People here have sex while going mad, while under the influence of drugs, as part of murderous adultery, or even when they're about to die.
These aren't happy times. The above isn't technically a flaw as the original novel wasn't exactly wall-to-wall fun, either in the original source material, Simon is an unrepentant murderer and betrayer, and dies of an aphrodisiac overdose. However, given the way the first film played out, the change in tone is off-putting.
Furthermore, the combination of a subdued tone and the extended sex scenes occasionally makes the movie boring. The accompanying soundtrack, which sometimes sounds like wannabe Bernard Herrmann, isn't much help either. If the filmmakers were trying to ape Lust, Caution in its "sex as tension" action, they did a pretty bad job.
As compensation, we get professional actresses. The Japanese AV starlets from the first make a return, and they're willing to do whatever the film needs, i.
However, sometimes the film requires them to really act, and the results are uneven. Hikaru Wakana turns in the best performance as Moon, though she gets less screentime in this installment. Serina Hayakawa is rather distant as Lotus, and Kaera Uehara sometimes looks like she's laughing when she's supposed to be crying. Male lead Lam Wai-Kin is more convincing in this installment as the corrupted version of Simon Qing, but there's little continuity in his character between the two films. In the first film, he doesn't seem that bad, while in the sequel he's pretty much the worst guy ever.
Character development does not seem to be a big deal here. Asking director Cash Chin for Last Tango in Ancient China would be way beyond reasonable expectations, and fittingly the film never approaches anything resembling serious quality.
It could be a cinema axiom. Sealing the deal is the appearance of Winnie Leung, who plays the pivotal role of Simon's maid Plum. Only mentioned at the end of the first film, Plum gets a big role here, but Winnie Leung is not up to the task. Aside from the 33 year-old actress being miscast in a young maiden's role, her nudity is only hinted at, with cloth, limbs, or awkward staging used to preserve Leung's modesty.
It's not that the audience necessarily needs Leung to appear nude, but if the other actresses go the distance, shouldn't Leung do so also? Better yet, they could have simply hired an actress who would do what the other actors were willing to, thereby creating some consistency. That's unfortunate, and so is this: In the last film, there was at least one pair. This time, nada, zilch, zero. The disappointment is now even greater.