City Without Baseball is the first of several movies by controversial Hong Kong producer Scud. Arguably, the tamest and friendliest of the various explicit productions under his name.
I’d be honest. I didn’t watch City Without Baseball because I was keen on Asian arthouse productions, or the sport itself. I watched it because of the controversy surrounding it.
That of the cast being an actual baseball team in Hong Kong. That of the team members parading themselves, stark naked, before the camera in extended scenes.
Now, now, don’t get the wrong idea. I wasn’t looking for porn. I was genuinely curious about the decision for such an, ahem, artistic direction. Was the director aiming to replicate France’s beloved Dieux du Stade calendars? Is this to be the direction for sports beyond the field in days to come? (As of 2017, it seems to be) My conclusions from the viewing. It’s obviously an indulgence for producer Scud, who has gone on to film even more explicit productions involving guys. But at least he does it with taste. The nudity doesn’t feeling pornographic, even if it seems unnecessary. There are also reasonable storylines behind all the strutting.
Undeniably, the movie still possesses a little of that somnambulistic feel typically found in such productions. This seldom gets heavy, though, and there are various storylines to sustain interest. Overall, I’d say that City Without Baseball does gives the impression of a genuine exposé of baseball players in a crowded city that truly doesn’t care much about the sport. The intimate, interpersonal aspects, that is. What it failed at is that it dwelled too much on such conflicts and emotions. In the end, the baseball theme feels to be no more than an adornment. At times, it feels almost as if the sport was but a convenient vessel to promote the movie with.
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