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Phoenix Unleashed

Studio: Sex Z Pictures » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 10/14/04

XCritic's Advice: Watch On Demand

Phoenix Unleashed

Sex Z Pictures

Genre: Feature

Director: Roy Karch

Cast: Becca Bratt, Steve Hatcher, Lauren Phoenix, Aria, Chennin Blanc, Cheyne Collins, Victoria Givens, Tony Tedeschi, Barrett Blade

Length: 78 minutes

Date of Production: 1/11/2004 (box), 3/14/2004 (credits)

Extra's: The best extra on the DVD was the 19 minute long Behind the Scenes feature. It spent a fair amount of time with Lauren Phoenix and the other cast members as well as some of the goofy stuff that happened during the filming of the show. There was also some spam, a photogallery, and 6 trailers to shows like Deconstructing Ava. While not the most comprehensive set of extras I've seen lately, it wasn't bad (thanks exclusively to the BTS feature).

Condoms: None

Audio/Video Quality: The picture was presented in the standard 1.33:1 ratio full frame color that most porn is shot in these days. The lighting seemed pretty good here and that limited the number of compression artifacts and grain displayed on the screen but there were a number of times when the colors were too saturated for my tastes. The composition of the shots themselves often gave the appearance of a rushed movie too (most porn is shot on a tight schedule) but it looked superior to the last Sex Z Picture I saw, Deconstructing Ava. The audio was presented in stereo English in the MPEG format. The vocals were average and the soundtrack kind of droning but it wasn't too bad overall. There wasn't any noticeable separation between the channels but in assembly-line porn, you really shouldn't expect a lot of bells and whistles.

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Body of Review: The world of porn has few factors that aren't set in stone. One of them is that new companies seem to open up every week (if not every day) and movies are made quickly, on low budgets, in order to make a quick profit. With few exceptions, these axioms hold true and there are many reasons why that I needn't go into here. Suffice it to say, I'm always interested in seeing what these new companies have to offer since the general rule of porn is that companies settle into set niches rather quickly, giving their movies a "sameness" that sometimes gets really boring. One new company that I'd heard a lot about this year has been Sex Z Pictures, located in Manassas, VA of all places. It signed a couple of veteran directors and set out to make its mark, with the latest release being Phoenix Unleashed. The story could've been written on a matchbook cover and centered on a young cutie, played by Lauren Phoenix, who sets out to make her mark in the wonderful world of porn as a performer. To be fair, most fans couldn't care less about the acting aspects of porn and will quickly speed through the weak acting here (as they do elsewhere) so my main objective is to see if the sex scenes were any better than average. This is a case where the sex was generally kind of average with little replay value but the cast was attractive and the minimal settings not bad for a start up porn producer. If you're a fan of the cast, especially Lauren, read the following breakdown of the scenes to see if you can get a feel for what I watched.

Scene One: Becca, a lean blonde with a nice ass and pretty face, started off the sex in a couch scene with Steve. The scene started underway so there wasn't a lot of foreplay, just her blowing him with some measure of enthusiasm. I really liked her fishnet top as it accentuated her curves but the scene felt far too short with them doing the oral and straight action only. As an opener, it wasn't bad but she's been in better before and the limitations of the scene kept it from having a lot of replay value.

Scene Two: Lauren, the hotty on the front DVD cover that's been blazing a trail in porn rarely matched by her peers, had a lesbian scene with Aria on a couch next. Fans may enjoy seeing the multitude of extreme close up shots and strong lighting used but I thought the vocals added some heat too. Both of these gals is known for their energetic performances in porn and this scene was no exception, making me enjoy it all the more. The gals spent most of the scene licking and rubbing one another with lots of emphasis on rimming. The highlight of the scene was when Aria did her famous squirting sequence (I say urinating) all over the place and it was a good scene to watch several times. There was also toy use for dildo fans but the gals could've done without them this time.

Scene Three: Chennin, a curvy gal that has been in porn for a long time, sported her interesting hair style (mixing black and blonde) as she took care of Cheyne on a couch. She was the sexual aggressor here, giving some solid oral before getting some, and the straight action didn't last long before he gave her a facial to boot. Like the other scenes, it seemed too short for me but still had enough warmth to enjoy. These two have been in porn for a long time together and there was definitely a bit of chemistry between them but I'd have liked it more if they were cut loose.

Scene Four: Victoria, an older blonde with a corset on, had a scene in front of the camera with porn veteran Tony. I liked her fishnet stockings and thought she was energetic in the scene as she took him into her mouth and pussy before the facial but the scene lacked any chemistry for me. If I wanted boring sex, I'm sure I could manage it on my own in real life. For the most part, the scene wasn't terrible but without a spark to make it fun, I was left cold.

Scene Five: Lauren, in the final scene of the movie, took care of Barrett on a bed. This scene was easily the best of the batch with Lauren displaying more of her sexual prowess on the rocking porn stud's body. She took anal at the end and her energy was unsurpassed by the rest of the cast in a pretty solid scene. She's known far and wide for her ability to milk a nut and this scene was no exception as she gave him a good time (in the longest scene of the movie). While the scene seemed a little rushed at times, it was less so than the others and I hope the director takes steps to expand on this kind of thing in the future.

Summary: With a bit more focus, I'm sure Sex Z Pictures will be able to provide something different for fans but this was more of a warm-up exercise for them. I've never been one of director Roy Karch's biggest fans but he had some solid help behind the scenes (the Wood's worked the cameras for example) and I've always wanted to see him break free of his former employer's limitations. With an attractive and sexually skilled cast, the movie was kind of mundane but I'd still give it a rating of Rent It based on a couple of Lauren's scenes, if not the others too. Maybe if the feature had more sex (it was rather short) that included more foreplay and more chemistry, I'd have liked it more but it wasn't the worst I've seen this year. If you get a chance, feel free to check it out and let me know what you think.

Note: You can see recent candid shots of several of these performers by visiting: My Photo's and read about their antics at 2004 AEE Show.

You can email me with questions at Houstondon @ hotmail.com if you have any constructive criticism of the review too. :) Also you can follow me on twitter @HoustonDon

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