Get ready to download a wildly imaginative vision of the future that is headed straight for your libido. Shu Lea Cheang’s stunningly beautiful second film—a self-described “Japanese sci-fi porn feature”—I.K.U. is an experimental extravaganza of sight, sound, and sex that fiercely stretches the genre of explicit erotic filmmaking.
I.K.U. starts where Blade Runner ends. It is the year 20XX, and the Tyrell Corporation is now the Genom Corporation, a multinational enterprise that manufactures “replicants” known as GenXXX IKU Coders. Rachael and Deckard are now Reiko and Dizzy, and the story is picked up in the elevator, where Dizzy, a Genom salary man, is initiating Reiko’s OS IKU 3.0 sex hard drive. Reiko is then sent out into the world to collect orgasm data for Genom, is eventually infiltrated by BioLink’s TokyoRose virus, and experiences a system breakdown. Mash, a retired IKU Coder, comes to the rescue by teaching Reiko masturbation, showing her the secret reset button. The restarted Reiko catches up with Hustler Akira in a Japanese fish restaurant, where executing all sex positions fulfills the data collection. Dizzy downloads Reiko’s XXX data, and with it Genom codes IKU databases on the Net and sells IKU chips in vending machines. Now everyone can have a Genom-coded pleasure trip!
Don’t expect a hard-boiled narrative. I.K.U. follows the nonlinear logic of hypertext, jumping barriers of time and space. Gorgeous computer animation, inventive lensing techniques, and an eclectic editing style reflect Cheang’s unique vision as a filmmaker who works at the intersection of cinema, sexuality, and cyberspace.