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SDU: Sex Duties Unit

 

Any movie with the word ‘sex’ in its title usually conjures a certain image.  Visions of debauched behaviour sometimes occur with most sexually themed films using this three letter word for comedic effect.  ‘SDU: Sex Duties Unit’ does just that as it mirrors the ‘Police Academy/The Hangover’ movies.  Whilst slightly more tasteful, it gleefully delves into silly naughtiness with delight.

 

The Special Duties Unit is an elite tactical unit in the Hong Kong police force.  Made up of four expert marksmen, their zeal for the next mission knows no limits.  Constantly over-looked in the department as being an inferior ‘B-grade’ team, their leader decides it’s time for some serious bonding.  The others readily agree especially when said group enhancement involves an infamous brothel in Macau.  Soon they find themselves chased by women, criminals and the police in an evening they will never forget.

 

‘SDU: Sex Duties Unit’ isn’t going to win awards for subtlety - it’s a sex comedy and proud of it.  This is what makes it fun as it steadfastly remains unapologetic with its mirth-making.  Some of it is crude although it manages to add some depth to its story.  Issues of trust and solidifying a tight unit are surprisingly well handled amongst the many wicked escapades.  It’s such a ridiculous production you just go along with it with Gary Mak’s direction maintaining a brisk pace.

 

Making it enjoyable is a cast conveying great chemistry.  Without their bravery in showing their characters in various predicaments, ‘SDU’ wouldn’t have been half as good.  The mix of odd-ball personalities works and their co-stars are equally up to the challenge of providing laughs.  Such genre films are difficult to craft without making them seem sleazy and ‘SDU’ succeeds in making you care for these sometimes strange people.

 

Worth checking out, ‘SDU: Sex Duties Unit’ is an amusing time-waster.  Better than most similar American films, its risky endeavours in salaciousness is welcome in this era of strident political correctness.

 

Rating out of 10:  6

 

Behind the Candelabra

Show-business is all about the business of show.  Nowhere is this seen more than with performers keen on espousing its virtues.  Liberace was one such entertainer who enjoyed hiding behind a glittering façade.  Whilst keeping audiences in raptures with his amazing musical skills and ‘camp’ act, under the surface he was a multi-faceted soul.  Although movie biographies love dwelling on the ‘sad aspects’ of its subject ‘Behind the Candelabra’ is an intriguing look at a self-made icon.

 

In 1977 Scott Thorson (Matt Damon) worked as a movie animal trainer.  When he met a Hollywood producer in a gay bar, he was introduced to flamboyant performer Liberace (Michael Douglas). Eventually forming a relationship, the next decade would be a tumultuous one.  Becoming Liberace’s ‘assistant’, plastic surgery, pornography and infidelity would test their initial bond.

 

Based on Thorson’s book, ‘Behind the Candelabra’ is often fascinating.  Making it so compelling is the complex relationship between the two men.  From Thorson’s frustrated ambitions to Liberace’s needful nature what drove them together would cause turmoil.  This isn’t a scandalous hatchet job on a revered entertainer but a portrait of someone creating their own world and expecting others to accept it.  Steven Soderbergh’s astute direction ensures we receive a reasonably detailed glimpse of his often strange existence.

 

Helping convey his latter life are the wonderful performances. Casting Douglas as the glittering pianist is inspired with Damon an effective match.   You truly believe in their partnership with Liberace’s promiscuous appetite providing most of their conflicts.  They are ably supported by some great co-stars with Rob Lowe as Liberace’s bizarre plastic surgeon a highlight.  The production design suitably evokes the kitsch universe in which they lived without taking away from the drama of the piece.

 

‘Behind the Candelabra’ succeeds in uncovering layers of an enigma such as Liberace.  Like most people he was a mass of contradictions with only his stage shows a consistent element of a befuddling and bedazzling life.

 

Rating out of 10:  8