December 17, 2013 – 4:56 am

Gary Mak’s SDU: Sex Duties Unit (2013) may look fine on paper but there’s just not enough vulgarities and sex to spice up this outting. Stephen Tan reviews.

Gary Mak’s SDU: Sex Duties Unit (2013) probably owes its existence to the successes of Microsex Office (2011) and Vulgaria (2012). The novelty of seeing some of the hottest or more popular actors swearing away like there’s no tomorrow is a real comedic draw though it does get stale after a while.

But SDU goes one up against the other films - it does feature some nudity and topless girls.

The idea behind SDU also probably sounds so much better on paper. A crack Special Duties Unit team uses its expertise to smuggle itself into Macau (they are supposed to be on duty and not allowed to leave Hong Kong) to meet what the members think are higher-class call girls.

Only that Team B (made up of Chapman To, Shawn Yue, Matt Chow and Derek Tsang) isn’t exactly the cream of the crop. The movie starts off with Team B being sent to take down Lam Suet who is trying to commit a robbery using a toy gun.

The local police defuses the situation before Team B arrives only for team leader Chapman, urging his members to “Go! Go! Go!”, to be told off by a constable to “Go Home!” Later, for some R&R, instead of going to the brothels nearby, the team decides to head for Macau.

Getting to Macau is the easy part, with Matt making a stop to pick up some aphrodisiac. Simon Lui is the boatman who provides the illegal ride. At the Club in Macau, each member is settled in with the girl or girls of his choice, though to Matt’s dismay, contrary to what was “displayed”, his girls are really flat chested! But before they can get down to any action, the Club is raided by the Macau police and Team B makes a quick getaway but still not quick enough to be caught.

Detained by the police, the four manage to escape when the police are caught up watching a football game on TV. The rest of the night is spent trying to get some money for the return home or trying to retrieve their handphone left behind at the Club. Other incidents include Matt meeting up with his dad and causing him to have a seizure bad enough to be sent to the hospital; and Chapman meeting his ex-wife.

The night is not a total loss as Shawn Yue meets girl he fancies; and the gay Derek Tsang outs himself and, with the help of the others, even manages to score at a joint run by former Shaw Brothers sexbomb Siu Yam-yam.

The Macau police are still looking for the four, after mistaking them for gun-runners. At the pick-up point for the trip home, the four meet and apprehend the real gun-runners, thanks in no small part to the permanent hard-on Derek has been having the whole time! Sometimes, those “magic potions” can really deliver!

The episodic nature of Gary Mak’s SDU really makes it look like a naughty version of one of those I Love Hong Kong movies. However, once the Club scene with the prostitutes is over, unfortunately, there go the naughty bits and, actually quite surprising, the coarse language as well.

This is where the cameos. Regular Hong Kong TV actors such as Jim Chim (as a procurer); Benz Hui (pharmacy owner who sells under-the-counter aphrodisiacs); Lau Kong (as Matt’s father) and even Michael Wong (a very minor role as SDU head) make for a plesant distraction. But the “wow factor” is really in seeing regular, straight-laced actors mouthing off obscenities, which is underplayed here.

Then again, don’t forget Lam Suet and Siu Yam-yam - Siu had also appeared with Chapman To in Vulgaria though she gave a much better performance as a medium in Tales From The Dark #1. And SDU writer Jody Luk nicely slid in a joke about having sex with with donkeys - a key mystery surrounding Chapman To’s character in Vulgaria.

But the number of subplots and melodrama [plight of Chinese mainlanders in the sex trade] tended to bog down the film. So there is that whole bit about Shawn Yue, like he’s harbouring some dark secret a-la Infernal Affairs, only to be told that he once framed Simon Lui, got Simon sent to prison, and now cannot look Simon in the eye! But by the end of the film, all is forgiven; and the Team, now back in Hong Kong, contemplates another run into Macau.

Overall, SDU is passable entertainment that could have scored much higher in the triple-X department; and, ike Microsex Office and Vulgaria, forget about watching this movie if it’s not in its native Cantonese.

Note: The SDU: Sex Duties Unit DVD (Media Asia) is banned in $ingapore.

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