It’s not easy championing Category III films, and trying to convince people of the entertainment value of exploitation shockers such as “Red to Kill” or “Dr. Lamb” can be difficult at the best of times. As “The Untold Story” and “Fu Bo” have demonstrated, when used correctly and in the right context, extreme sex and violence can enhance a film, and that the Category III rating need not bring with it a promise of low quality as well as cheap, dubious thrills. Unfortunately, all such arguments and defence of the genre fall apart in the face of films like “Trilogy of Lust 2”, a truly execrable piece of low grade filth that brings shame not only to the genre, but to all those who will admit to having watched it.
Make no mistake about it, this is the lowest of the low, and it is quite difficult to imagine another film being as worthless as this. The plot of “Trilogy of Lust 2” is the expected excuse for stringing together a series of sex scenes. The main character is Linda, played by Julia Lee (variously credited as Julie Riva, Chung Lai, and other aliases, and whom genre fans will recognise from vastly superior fare such as “The Untold Story” and “Dr. Lamb”), a woman who was raped and abused by her drunken uncle and his friends when she was a child.
Deeply traumatised by her horrible past, Linda grows up to be an uptight businesswoman by day, but dons leather S&M gear once the sun goes down and stalks the streets, picking up men for sex and then killing them. Two of her colleagues at work come up with a scheme to trick some money out of her, and inadvertently end up stumbling upon her murderous secret, leading to events which push Linda further over the edge into homicidal madness.
Possibly the only interesting thing about “Trilogy of Lust 2” is that Julia Lee actually wrote and directed both this sequel and the original (viewers have mercifully been spared the final entry in the trilogy). This in itself is strange, given that neither of the two films appear to have any particular themes in common (the first film was a cheap knock-off of the Japanese “The Perfect Education”) or discernable point which Lee appears to be striving for. It is possible, I suppose, given that she is a woman working in an almost exclusively male genre (both in terms of filmmakers and target audience) that there is some kind of deeply buried feminist subtext here, in the same way that some have stated similar arguments in defence of “I Spit on your Grave”. The character of Linda is certainly treated badly by all the male characters in the film, and does indeed exact revenge, though any such reading of the film is stamped upon by the sheer weight of its exploitative content.
The film is incredibly distasteful, packed with nihilistic, ugly sex scenes which are filled with S&M and degradation, generally involving Lee, though why the writer/director decided to subject herself to such abuse is open to debate. Though shot in the manner of soft porn, it is uncertain whether these are in fact supposed to be erotic, as they are cold, extremely dispassionate, and perverse in a way that does not seem to be aiming for titillation. The film also features two rape scenes, footage from which is often intercut with the consensual sex sequences, making them even less watchable. There is even a shocking scene of male self-abuse, which is completely gratuitous, and whilst it does at least mean that not only the film’s female characters are degraded, it is by no means a welcome inclusion.
All of this, coupled with the few scenes of torture and murder which are scattered throughout, makes it very difficult to imagine exactly who the film was aimed at. Since the sex is so distasteful and unlikely to titillate even the most jaded devotee of cinematic sleaze, the film falls way out of the boundaries of the typical Category III genre. Again, perhaps there is some kind of point that Lee is trying to make, or some personal message she is attempting to get across, though viewers are certainly not advised to try and fathom what exactly this could be.
There is no saving grace for “Trilogy of Lust 2” in any shape or form, though it is worth mentioning that genre favourite Elvis Tsui (“A Chinese Torture Chamber Story”) does make a brief and amusing appearance. Unfortunately, his vaguely comical role only adds to the uncertainty of tone and the sense of viewer exasperation. “Trilogy of Lust 2” is simply a terrible film, which should not be watched under any circumstances, even by the most ardent fan of Category III cinema.
Jiro Ishimura, Julie Lee (director) / Julie Lee (screenplay)
CAST: Thomas Freitag …. First Victim
Julie Lee …. Linda Li
Elvis Tsui …. Philip Chen