A nice surprise indeed. And to think this is from Mark Wu, the rotter behind last year’s horrendous Lan Kwai Fong. The broader end of the humor and product placement aside, Due West’s more than acceptable and Gregory Wong’s turn as Jing is a Waititian treat. Follows the sexual curiousity and awakening of young Frankie as he travels to China looking for love and lust. Of course, in the film, all reference to Dongguan has been excised, because there are no hookers in Dongguan. Just ask China. So the adaptation is a bit wonky but Due West: Our Sex Journey takes the idea of adaptation a little too literally.
I probably won’t go into the detail naming each actresses who bare their parts, but it must be admitted that the quality on display then films in the same vein of previous efforts. The film’s nauseating sexual politics are underlined in the overextended final act, when Frankie finally gets his rocks off with Juliet (Eva Li), the perfectly-formed, up-for-anything hooker with a heart of gold that he screws with such finesse, she foregoes her profession and falls madly in love with him. Li’s blank stare, huge bosoms and utter submissiveness sum up the production’s version of the ideal woman.
Due West: Our Sex Journey is probably as good as it gets, so don’t expect these movies to be handed out ‘A’ grades. Frankie is in a stable relationship with Zeta after graduating. Their only problem is their sex life: Zeta is sexually anxious and sets certain restrictions. Not only does that prevent Frankie from being sexually satisfied, it also indirectly leads to their breakup. Frankie then begins his journey back to the mainland with Jing to pick up chicks in clubs. It can grow a bit tiresome watching the escapades on the screen. If you can get past the tiresome formula there are some good plot devices sprinkled throughout which makes the end result a humorous soft porn, which is far more pleasant to watch than the disastrous 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy.
As I have stated numerous times in this review, after the failures of “Sex and Zen 3D” and to a larger extent “Lan Kwai Fong”, both of which have fallen down the path of being cheap and sleazy without any substance, Due West holds up surprisingly well. Still, Masquerading as one virginal man’s search for a life in which sex and love coexist in perfect harmony, Wu’s slim, occasionally pitiful adaptation of the online novel about adventures in Dongguan’s red-light district is little more than a steady stream of pretty actresses embodying the worst fears of the protagonist, Frankie (a broad but not entirely unlikable Justin Cheung). Wallowing in its depressingly outmoded depictions of gender with coarse smugness, Due West’s painting of women as being entirely at the service of male fulfillment is just plain awful. Let’s just split this down the middle and call it a day, shall we?