Saturday, August 21, 2010

In short: Sex Medusa (2001)

A masked, flame-thrower using group of Hong Kong snake exterminators terminates a nest of their chosen victims (including exceedingly large eggs) in the city's sewers.

While her peers burn in an unnecessary case of real animal violence, a CGI snake escapes and transforms into a naked girl (Nomoto Miho), who will later be christened Fong. The traumatized snake woman falls asleep right in front of the house of Cheung Yung-Choi (Elvis Tsui). Cheung thinks Fong is an illegal immigrant from the mainland, and decides to put her up. Soon, tender bonds of love begin to develop between the two, but the universe doesn't smile on their sweet, sweet interspecies love, and disturbs their relationship through various problems.

Firstly, Cheung feels guilty for the accidental death of his wife and has been impotent and deathly afraid of cats ever since, while Fong needs to procreate to help her species survive, which leads to great awkwardness. At least she's a snake woman and not a cat woman. Secondly, Cheung's cousin Marco (Vincent Wan) has made debts with a loan shark to finance his gambling debts and his girlfriend's (Carrie Ng) research into some gland stuff that will help destroy "vermin" like snakes once and for all. Marco is Cheung's sole heir and is even willing to kill his only relative to pay off the debt.

So it doesn't look good for love or the survival of Earth's eco system.

Despite a title that promises sleazy sex and violence, CAT III style, Tommy Law's Sex Medusa is a bit dull and harmless, except for a handful of moments of real animal violence which are bad enough to watch, yet not that extreme for the standard of Hong Kong movies featuring snakes. In fact, online sources are divided if this is a HK movie at all, the HKMDB says it's Taiwanese, which would explain why it is this low on exploitational values, while the IMDB thinks it's from Hong Kong. Sex Medusa also isn't a CAT III film, and turns out to be a comparatively slow fantasy melodrama with a bit of horror and sex mixed in.

The film's main problem is how lackluster it is. It has all elements set up for an entertaining ninety minutes, but then doesn't make enough use of them. An interspecies love between a snake woman and an impotent man should be entertaining (or at least very very funny) even without buckets of gore or other bodily fluids, but the love story part never really goes anywhere. The thriller elements for their part only appear too late in the movie and are - again - just not developed enough.

As is the "sex medusa" element of Fong's characters. It seems as if having one sex scene in which two CGI snakes poke out of a woman's hair is nowadays enough for a film to make titular promises it just isn't going to hold up. When I was younger, we still knew what a real sex medusa looked like. 

However, Sex Medusa has a few things going for it: Nomoto Miho is nice enough to look at and has that expressionless stare of a good snake done pat. I also found it quite nice to see Elvis Tsui playing completely against his usual character type of "sleazy sex maniac". That guy's got range! He's also hilarious when frightened to death by a very cute cat. Happily, he doesn't have to live to witness the cat infestation known as the Internets.

I also approve of the idiotic science Ng sprouts and of the rainbow coloured clown snake style Nomoto has when she's fully snaked out.

It's not much, but it was enough to get me through the whole film without falling asleep or having to turn it off. That's certainly something.


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