Thailand has provided a welcome piece of spark to Hong Kong genre movies. Ranging from showcasing the beauty of it in Chang Cheh's Duel Of Fists produced by Shaw Brothers to various black magic/sorcery movies (Brutal Sorcery etc) and Category III exploitation featuring women with penises (yep, that's of course the Chin Siu-Ho, Chin Kar-Lok vehicle Hero Dream), Erotic Journey doesn't waste the potential of the scenery either. Mainly when it comes to the perils of the animal kingdom. Among other things therefore it is an erotic journey but the platter working from its own surprisingly non-sinister exploitation- and porn logic is a bit of a treat and a fine evening's viewing with a nod towards European women in prison movies of the 70s/80s. Shame it didn't have time to be a nod towards the cannibal era as well.
Three friends (among others Chan Wing-Chi, co star of False Lady) travel to Thailand for fun and they're getting it instantly. Sex galore across the board leads to unintentional involvement with drug smugglers and eventually time in a women's labour camp...
Not even the production company logo appears (in fact none does) before director Lau Hok-Fung launches into the erotic of the journey. But structurally it works from somewhat of a logic as one of the girls is leaving, can't have too much downtime sex-wise before it's on again... with someone else. Yes, free spirited folks these and in fact, there's cruelty directed towards the MALE initially as a piece of impotent problem rears its head. For a movie that is close to 90 minutes however, you wonder if things are moving a bit TOO fast. Oh it's easy to see that travel footage is not of interest to director Lau but the intense sexual nature of the journey (look at the title again) and shortly after meeting their Thai saviours, all are in a drunken mess and engage in some softcore scenes that pushes the level of porn within it to quite an extreme level. It's even a bit erotic despite the tools at disposal of Erotic Journey being very primitive. The scenery does most of the job in terms of creating a look so good on the producer that could provide the travel money. The gear switching is what makes Erotic Journey such an erratic but gleefully produced piece of exploitation however.
There's no excuse or reasoning for the multiple prison guards and prisoners sex scenes where even hints at rape still means the participants are quickly enjoying each others bodies. The logic is ill but the film is somewhat kind in its ways. Lau Hok-Fung clearly likes to view sex as something pleasurable and despite harsh conditions of the labour camp, whipping- and snake torture, oddly enough how illogical it may seem, most of the characters do feel pretty good on a sexual level in between the nasty circumstances. Again, Erotic Journey is working from its personal logic to exploitation and porn.
But it's also very interested in the animal life on offer. While the Hong Kong talent is absent for large stretches in the middle (Melvin Wong as the chief of the camp and Dick Wei as a drug dealer have very limited screentime), it's instead the Thai cast and animal stock footage that take the lead. Off-screen one of the girls is consumed by the stock footage tiger, scorpions, snakes and crocodiles all get a showcase but only one scene directly involves one of the women as she's buried in the ground and left at the mercy of a snake. But it's another fun gear Erotic Journey finds time to engage and explore.
Mentioned running time quickly reveals a very fast pace though and unwarranted bathing scenes, lesbian- and mostly UNCONVINCING sex later, everybody is pretty happy and turned on. Danger is avoided, some are dead, some not put on trial for crimes committed but Lau Hok-Fung ending on a frame of climax didn't want it any other way. Life moves on and characters shouldn't be scarred by their experience. If anything their sexuality is heightened and there's nothing sinister about that. It's a claim based on the very logic put forth and it's easy to side with it.
reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson