I've been *ahem* curious to see Muscle for a while. I was in an experimental mood and, at 31 years of age, I figured it was about time for my first gay pinku experience. So after grabbing myself a copy of this one, I coyly bit my little finger, asked it to be gentle and did a quick reach-around... of my wine glass to click Play on the mouse.
The movie opens with a photoshoot of sweaty muscular guys posing, the camera leering over their baby-oiled bodies and tight undies bulging with manmeat. So far, so gay. The main character is the editor of a men's magazine, who quickly strikes up a relationship with one of the models, a rather scrawny wimpy fellow. They have some of the sex and dance around in their underwear, as you do, before their relationship takes a darker turn when the wimp brings a knife to bed and introduces his new lover to the sexual possibilities of pain. Our main man grows fearful of this new world and responds by lopping off his bumchum's arm with a samurai sword. A fairly excessive reaction, I'm sure you'll agree. A simple "Excuse me, but I'd prefer it if we could have sex without you sticking sharp objects into my penis, please." probably would have done the trick.
Pinku flicks are very often concerned with power dynamics. In fact, I'd say that's what elevates them to something much more than basic softcore porn. It's possible that this fellow chose a wimpy looking partner because he wanted to be the dominant one. But when the knives come out, it's always the one who's willing to go furthest that dominates the proceedings. The naturally dominant will react excessively when their power is threatened. Essentially, chopping off a limb was this dude's way of saying, "I ain't the bitch! You're the bitch, bitch!" Anyway, enough of my Sadean psychobabble. Back to the gay sex.
Cut to 1 year later and our man is getting out of prison. Yes, you read correctly, 1 whole year for a little dismemberment. Man, I gotta move to Japan. I could stand to lose a year out of my life if it meant I got to once, just once, go all Lone Wolf on someone who pissed me off. So, upon his release, he starts trying to track down his ex lover (who's apparently become a hooker), to rekindle their relationship. Much of the rest of the movie focusses on his lengthy search. Remember, this is pre-internet days, so he can't just log on to www.one-armedmanwhores.com like this guy that I know who totally isn't me did right before he started writing this review. What's interesting is how his search becomes a obsessive journey of self-discovery. Now that he's found this world of forbidden pleasures, he tries to work out his place in it. Now he's the aggressor, as we see when he brings some random dude back to his flat, splatters cream cheese on his chest (no euphemism, it's actually cream cheese, and no, I've got no idea why he does this), slices his chest up a little and quite vigorously cornholes him. Oh, and did I mention that he keeps his ex's severed arm in a jar next to his bed? Yeah, that's a little odd, although noone in the movie seems to think so. Those wacky Japanese, 'ey?!
Now, I know the only reason all you cockaholics are reading this is to find out the phallic dimensions of our protagonists, right?. Well sorry, but there's no schlong on display here. I can tell you that when our main guy has sex with someone, they tend to respond with shocked gasps and kind of animalistic gruntings that suggest more pain than pleasure. So I'm gonna go out on a limb and say he's 7.1245 inches long and a touch wider than a German kransky. Pretty decent for a Japanese guy. Obviously, this may not be exact. Judging penis size from the penetratee's vocal expressions is a delicate science indeed, and I don't claim to be an expert. But yeah, he's hung. There, ya' happy now?
All this leads up to a reuniting with his former lover at a party in a theatre. I won't spoil what happens, and frankly the scene is so strange that it'd take me a couple of paragraphs to explain. I've spoken enough, so I'll just say it's a satisfying conclusion. In fact, probably the biggest compliment I could pay this movie is that it's interesting enough that I could easily write more, even though it's only 58 minutes long. There's a whole subplot about the main guy trying to see Salo that I didn't even touch on. And there's the fact that the only female character is a full-on, high-heels-to-the-balls dominatrix. Fairly different to your average pinku, where the wimmin tend to consist of either the recently raped, the being raped or the soon-to-be raped.
Final assessment: It's not a great flick, but it's a damn unique one. Hisayasu Sato is a bizarre filmmaker even by Japan standards, and he knows to create a fine atmosphere with moody lighting, simple dialogue and nice camerawork. I realise some straight dudes will be put off by the gay sex, but watching this movie is waaaay less gay than trying to suck your own dick. Which every guy currently reading this and every guy not currently reading this has tried to do, at least once. So give it a shot. The movie that is, not sucking your own dick.