Starring: Bong Tae-gyu, Kim Shin-ah, Oh Dal-su
Director: Shin Han-sol
Running Time: 120 mins
A Tale Of Legendary Libido is a South Korean film about a man who, after years of being mocked for his small ‘package’, is magically blessed with an incredible libido, and while all the other men in the village have been sent to battle, he is left to satisfy an increasingly desperate band of women sitting desperate.
This film is totally out of control. Given that the majority of its humour is entirely focused around the size of one man’s privates, and the ridiculously animalistic desire of the women of his village to take advantage, I really expected A Tale Of Legendary Libido to be a painfully crass and vulgar film. However, it’s actually a very, very entertaining watch, with fast-paced comedy matched well with a manic and fun-loving atmosphere that goes out of the way to think of the most ridiculous innuendos and euphemisms possible, all of which surprisingly makes for two hours of properly good laughs.
There’s really a lot to take in with this film, simply because it is so intensely insane, throwing jokes and ridiculous gags at you at an incredibly rapid pace, yet that’s exactly what I loved so much about it. If there is one thing that can ruin a good, silly comedy, it’s dull, crass humour. The American Pie movies are the prime example of that – a fun concept ruined by juvenile writing and repetitive toilet gags. This, on the other hand, is more focused on getting you wrapped up in the sheer ridiculousness of everything that’s going on, meaning it never takes itself seriously as a movie, and instead throws absolutely everything thing at you to make you really laugh.
Now, I won’t say that this is the most hilarious comedy ever made, but over the course of the movie – and particularly its bonkers first and second acts – I was really laughing hard at a whole bunch of gags, whether it be one of the billions of stupidly blatant phallic euphemisms, or just the maniacal brand of rapid-fire humour that leaves you feeling completely out of breath halfway through the movie.
But that fun-loving and intensely silly atmosphere is exactly what creates the non-stop hilarity right the way through. Bong Tae-gyu is great in the lead role, putting in a very entertaining turn both when his character is down on his luck, and when he ends up getting everything he’s been wishing for, while the remainder of the cast – particularly the supporting actresses who play the ridiculously desperate women of the village – are absolutely hilarious to watch, bringing ridiculous and manic energy to the movie absolutely everywhere you look.
Another big plus is the effect of setting the movie in feudal Korea. With a modern setting, it’s sometimes a little too easy to see vulgar humour as something a little de rigeur, whereas setting it in a time period where you really wouldn’t expect to see and hear those sorts of things really works wonders, bringing an extra level of humour to the table, and further emphasising the fact that there really is no point in taking anything on display the slightest bit seriously.
It’s fair to say then, that A Tale Of Legendary Libido is a film that’s completely off the wall, and almost as hilarious as a comedy can be. However, the one disappointment comes in the form of the film’s final act.
While it’s not an awful conclusion to the film, I was hugely disappointed to see the way in which the movie reverted to a far more level-headed and slow-paced story. There are still some funny oddities at the centre of events, but the way it’s all presented is far too dull and slow to really work the wonders that the rapid-fire first two acts did, meaning that over the course of the last half hour, things do come to a rather damp and unsatisfying conclusion, particularly after the intensity of the humour and entertainment over the first two acts.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with A Tale Of Legendary Libido. For the most part, it’s a film that lets completely loose with an utterly insane yet endlessly hilarious concept, throwing innuendoes and ridiculous euphemisms at you like nobody’s business, yet with such a fun-loving vibe and rapid-fire pace that you won’t be able to stop yourself from laughing. With that said, its final act is a real disappointment, turning the film into the exact opposite of what was working so well from the beginning, and ending things in a really unsatisfying manner, which is why I’m giving the film a 7.5.