There's an arena still left to play in for Cash Chin (Sex And Zen II, The Eternal Evil Of Asia). Active and really one of the most creative and over the top directors back in the very commercial heyday of Category III rated Hong Kong cinema, even post the trend Chin popped up to show he had the touch still (2000's Naked Poison for instance). Having the foot in the past while making something new, it was very true for his double whammy of The Forbidden Legend Sex & Chopsticks 1 and 2 and in a very Mainland Chinese oriented Hong Kong movie climate, there's very few reminders of what makes Hong Kong cinema goofy and unique. Enter 2011's The 33D Invader and its ability to embrace being dumb and for that it earns the honor of being a good spirited sex/sci-fi/comedy romp that feels somewhat out of place in 2011.
In 2046, the planet Xucker has blasted so much radiation on Earth that humans have lost their ability to re-produce. All but a select immune few and therefore Future (Wu Qing-Qing) is sent back to 2011 to bed a perfect specimen (Julian Cheung's character seems the most suitable). But the evil planet sends two of its assassins (San Hei and male Japanese AV star Kato Taka) to put a stop to this plan...
Makers of pornography have ripped off popular movies before for their particular market and while The 33D Invader isn't current by "borrowing" from The Terminator (Chin's The Fruit Is Swelling is a Category III version of Penny Marshall's Big), it's also open about what it wants as a springboard for the big bursts of comedy and sex. It's not common to see a Hong Kong movie go all the way and then some to feature exaggerated, horny male characters and it's fun as well as comforting the train of thought still exist to bring back a movie making climate the 90s did well occasionally (but a lot of). In that tradition, Chin's subjects will do anything to catch a glimpse of breasts including flying a radio controlled helicopter equipped with a camera around the girl's house (a beat also featured in My Neighbours Are Phantoms), dressing up as ghosts and men from the future with iPad's covering their nether regions. It's not high art and Chin treats it all like a live cartoon as he accentuates tons of moments with music and sound effects. It's a sign of desperation to bring back the low but not the worst sign and at the same time endearing because of the rarity of this kind of movie existing at all in 2011.
Chin's erotica, warranted or not, is well captured cinematographer Ross Clarkson and while Chin's constant, illogical name-dropping/referencing (Wong Kar-Wai seems to be a target here) gets tiresome, once you remember and see there's a goofy science fiction movie attached to the horny dogs/high school comedy, it's easy to assume energy is looming.
And with colourful CGI, lots of zapping by Future (at one point she ties Samuel Leung's Sean's penis into a knot), the evil assassins creating sex zombies of the 2011 women while honing in on Future (who's also learning a thing or two in passing about love and heartbreak), Cash Chin demonstrates the touch is still there. He does have to fight for half of our approval though as the other half is not so sure he's able to make a movie like The 33D Invader fit in even in the eyes of the hardcore Category III fan. Half approval still makes me personally very happy because of Chin's devotion to his subject. It translates to fun, even if his prior period comedy and period viciousness in the form of The Forbidden Legend Sex & Chopsticks-movies were a better example of fitting the 90s Category III party into the new millennium.
reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson