I.K.U. is a film that clearly construes pornography not as erotica but pornography as a concept in this case, conducts a conceptual cross-fusion with science-fiction. The stated premise for the film came when Shu Lea Cheang pondered the sexual possibilities inherent in Blade Runner (1982). The film posits the logical next step beyond Blade Runner that of replicants being designed for use as sex androids. There are a number of Blade Runner references throughout, the funniest of which is the opening that takes off from the last scene of Blade Runner here the origami unicorn is crushed underfoot and the male and the female replicant start making out in the elevator. The elevator scene acts as a promising opening, with the female android blankly mouthing lines like I love you, I trust you, something that the actresss broken English enunciation makes seem even more remote controlled.
The film overflows with a lot of energetically co-opted MTV and Cyberpunk imagery, albeit conducted on a low-budget hyper-kinetic animation and infobyte displays, an excess of flashing light effects and the camera rarely mounted on a horizontal axis throughout. There are some nifty CGI shots of hands morphing into glowing dildos, even internal shots of animated penises penetrating vaginas. There are a good many potential elements to the plot a plan to digitise sexual experience for transmission via the internet, rogue viruses, the central character of a sex android that achieves self-awareness through sexual awakening. Unfortunately, none of it coalesces into a plot of any sort.
What is happening at any one time is never exactly clear. The background exists only as a series of info-dumps; otherwise, the film is in a sense no different from any other pornographic film that is a variety of explicit sexual encounters served up at timed intervals. The film certainly covers the gamut of sexual possibilities with far greater variety in fact than the average porn film, which is usually tailored to certain niche interests hetero scenes, three-way scenes, gay male, lesbian, trans-sexual and solo sex. Occasionally, some of the set-ups are imaginatively directed such as an encounter in a room of rotating metal walls and flashing lights, or a lesbian scene in a giant pink net. That said, it would seem unlikely that any porn aficionado would want to watch I.K.U. for sexual gratification it tries to do too much else to ever work as erotica. On the other hand, as science-fiction, it seems a muddled jumble of pretensions that never move beyond being a good idea.
Bizarre trivia: The acronym I.K.U. is actually the Japanese onomatopoeia for orgasm. The films website (www.i-k-u.com) contains a section where one can apply to become an I.K.U. Coder.