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3D Naked Ambition
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3D Naked Ambition

Yui Tatsumi and Chapman To in 3D Naked Ambition.
AKA: Naked Ambition 2  
Chinese: 3D豪情  
  Year: 2014  
  Director: Lee Kung-Lok
  Producer: Chan Hing-Kai, Louis Koo Tin-Lok
  Writer: Chan Hing-Kai, Ho Miu-Ki, Yeung Siu-Hong
  Cast: Chapman To Man-Chat, Josie Ho Chiu-Yi, Candy Yuen Ka-Man, Derek Tsang Kwok-Cheung, Tyson Chak Hoi-Tai, Taka Kato, Maiko Yuki, Yui Tatsumi, Tsukasa Aoi, Nozomi Aso, Anri Okita, Yuki Yoshida, Kana Yume, Wong Jing, Louis Koo Tin-Lok, Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin, Sandra Ng Kwun-Yu
The Skinny: A terrific Category III concept that's brought down by chaotic and aimless execution. The sequences skewering Japanese popular culture can be funny, and some cameos provide needed spark. Otherwise, this is a waste of a good idea. Chapman To is funny, but his performance is entirely wrong for the character and movie.
 
Review
by Kozo:
Ever-defiant to its northern neighbors, Hong Kong Cinema continues its vulgar resurgence with the raunchy satire 3D Naked Ambition, and leading the charge is the Hong Kong artist most associated with being loud and proud: Chapman To. The once-doughy To slimmed down to play Chan Wai-Man, a former literary ace reduced to writing erotic fiction for local rags. Now downsized, he commiserates with his pals (Tyson Chak and Derek Tsang) about the state of horniness in Hong Kong, and before you know it theyíve hopped a plane to Japan with some like-minded pervs. Their goal: to bankroll and witness the filming of their own Japanese AV (adult video). With the help of their contact, Hong Kong-to-Japan transplant Shodaiko (Josie Ho), the group arranges for an actress (AV star Yui Tatsumi, obviously playing herself), an actor and a set so they can watch some live-action shagging. Unfortunately, the actor bails and after some ball-busting, Wai-Man is drafted as his replacement. Wai-Man initially resists, but no, heís going to be a porn star.

Wai-Man is regarded as ďcuteĒ by Yui because of his shy, protesting ways which allow her to play the aggressor. Wai-Manís weakness ends up being his strength; once the video is released, he becomes a hit with female audiences thanks to his demure persona. Now heís superstar AV actor Mario Ozawa (a play on the name of AV star Maria Ozawa) and gains fame, money and plenty of sex Ė in front of a camera, naturally. Laughs ensue, but only sometimes. After serving up its satirical premise, 3D Naked Ambition spins its wheels without a consistent direction. The most logical plot development is Wai-Manís falling-out with his girlfriend, successful writer Cecilia (newcomer Candy Yuen), but besides that, his adventures are largely disconnected and nonsensical. Wai-Man supposedly forms bonds with his AV co-stars, but the main evidence of that is the occasional flashback or unconvincing montage. Likewise, Wai-Manís relationship with Shodaiko is poorly developed, and Josie Hoís performance is unremarkable. 3D Naked Ambition has some fabulously dirty ideas, but its storytelling and development donít capitalize on the creativity.

3D Naked Ambition tries to show heart, but is unconvincing at doing so. Besides the misguided attempts at creating relationships for Wai-Man, the character itself is inadequately developed. The star is an even bigger problem. Wai-Man should be an unassuming and submissive straight man to his domineering co-stars, and while the character is described as such, heís played by Chapman To in his familiar mouthy style. Toís raised voices and smarmy demeanor arenít consistent with a character that should be shy and reserved. To is still funny because heís Chapman To, smartass extraordinaire, but he never makes Wai-Man into a sympathetic character. Toís misguided performance is actually a microcosm of whatís wrong with the whole film. Itís so pre-occupied with its self-assumed ďHaha, we are so funny!Ē enthusiasm, it becomes overbearing. Director Lee Kung-Lok lets the actors run amok, and some attempts at tapping into local Hong Kong pride come off as tagged on lip service. More measured storytelling, discernible character arcs, relatable themes Ė any of the above would have helped 3D Naked Ambition greatly.

3D Naked Ambition does have its merits. The porn parodies feature excellent visual gags, and encapsulate Japanese geek culture humorously. The filmmakers parody anime, sci-fi and horror film tropes wickedly, though their use is perhaps a bit too revealing of Hong Kongís shallow view of Japan. More fun is had with the cameo by male AV legend Taka ďHand of GodĒ Kato, whose training montage with Wai-Man is the filmís most hilarious sequence. Also joining in on the fun is producer Louis Koo, who shows up as an AV competitor to Wai-Man. Koo hams it up relentlessly in a manic performance thatís uproarious but also a little tiresome. Charlene Choi has a brief, image-busting turn as a Chinese AV star and Sandra Ng appears for the showstopper: a crass cameo as Ah Kam, the Golden Chicken herself. Itís a smart reference, but funnier in concept than when itís actually onscreen. Her cameo sums up 3D Naked Ambition in a nutshell: great idea, disappointing execution, so-so movie. A Category III rating alone does not a good film make. (Kozo, 4/2014)

 
Notes:

• This review is based on the 2D version of the film.

Availability:

DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Panorama (HK)
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital EX
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on 2D and 3D Blu-ray Disc

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