GENRE: Straight Scene Compilation
DIRECTOR: Marty Zion
STARS: Taylor Rain, Penny Flame, Isabella Camille, Sarah Blake, Charlie Laine, Jaqueline Fe Lyne, Jayna Oso, Talon, Matt Bixel, Nick Manning
DATES OF PRODUCTION: 2004
LENGTH: 140 mins with bonus material
Sometimes, porn can appear like so much product. It can argue that it's new and improved or packed to the branchiae with glorified supernumeraries, but there are far too many examples of fleecing the perverted public to excuse the ruse. Nothing destroys that old Greek deity better than an assembly line approach, where only a basic blueprint for balling is used. You know the dicking drill: outlandish setup, cabaret, kissing, foreplay, oral, oral, positions then POP! Anything remotely unusual is excised or avoided, and after a while, you can practically predict the next pump proposition to be explored ("Time for the reverse cowgirl..."). Certainly there is a place for such passive pandering in the hardcore arena. But most fans of the fuck and suck aren't interested in artifice or artistry. They want to see pussy penetrated by prick and moaning mouths stuffed full of member, and that's about it. And the screaming success of the gonzo realm realizes this concept perfectly. Stripping back the skin flick to its primitive prawn and clam concept of seafooding is a noble idea, especially when it can be done on the cheap and with little concern for atmosphere or mood.
So what is one to make of Nectar's latest luxuriant release, the flowery froufrou rig frig called Mystified II: The Quest. Here is hardcore at its most lavish, set inside a dreamscape of CG backdrops and real life waterfalls. Mixing the miscreant with the amazing is one of the more recent trends in XXX films. Recognizing the force of the feminine dollar in the retail end of the enterprise, the sumptuous succulent pork pie is now an industry standard. But why, with all this lavish production value and ornamental perversity, does this film seem more tame than tantalizing? Is it perhaps because, all opulence aside, this is just another example of a straightforward sex flick where nothing remotely rough and tumble happens? That could be the answer in a non-novelty nutshell.
As a sequel of sorts to Nectar's original release, Mystified, Mystified II: The Quest doesn't continue a storyline, since none existed before. It doesn't go back and address all the unanswered questions from the first film as no issues remain unresolved. None were raised, really. We are not reintroduced to favored characters nor do we revisit famous locations that helped make the first film so memorable. The only aspect of Mystified II: The Quest that does make this a true follow-up of sorts is the blatant "not broke, no fixing" facet inherent in most cinematic serializations. Whatever made Marty Zion's previous journey into the faux fantasy forest of flippy floppy so smokin' – at least to other critics - is present in almost exact replication in V.2, from the super slick settings with their drowsy dreamscape delicacy to Zion's patented production puffery. Not that any of this is a bad thing: other directors such as Michael Ninn and Halle Vanderhyden explore the artistic realm of adult content often. What makes Mystified different, and more difficult to delight in is the reliance on the same old routine to sell the shark.
Indeed, each scene starts out the same. The actresses go about their photo shoot shenanigans against an environment that can best be described as the hardcore version of a Calgon commercial. You half expect one of the women to murmur "big fat cock, take me away..." as the camera glides into a serene sunset. This is pretty porn, XXX amplified in a distinct, rococo manner. Therefore, in order to avoid any unnecessary repetition in this review, this will be the one and only discussion of the solo set up devilments that each of our stars go through before the balling. Our main maidens always do a little strip and stick for the camera. They disrobe and finger probe, flex and fawn, pout and pander before grabbing their groin to get down to the real deal diddle. After a little Divinyls diversion – which may or may not include a toy – it's time to honor the hardcore and welcome in the proposed paramour. From this point on, each scene is different in its body banging basics, so we need to look at each one separately to determine the level of salaciousness therein. Let's begin with:
Scene 1:Taylor Rain, Talon
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Positions Presented: Blowjob, Doggy, Tit Play, Anal Reverse Cowgirl, A to M, Ball Action, $hot on Face
Taylor, who we learn later is well known for sticking items as odd as baseball bats and flashlights up her ass (must make a visit to the proctologists rather fun) provides the only dick to dumper digression in this entire scene collection, as she takes Talon's tool up her flexible fudge tunnel with churlish delight. As a result, this couple's copulating seems that much more meaningful. While there is not a lot of chemistry here (Talon looks like a combination of Neo and Agent Smith), the passion is palpable as the pair really pours on the porn. Director Zion does love to jump cut, occasionally cutting into the carnality and breaking up the fuck flow, but overall, this is a hot scene between two professional porkers. Score: 7 out of 10.
Scene 2: Penny Flame, Isabella Camille
Positions Presented: Cunnilingus, Strap On Doggy, Feather Tickler to Ass, Post Coital Cuddling
Of the two girl/girl scenes in this set, this one is the best, and not just because of the strap-on action (which doesn't hurt, mind you). Unlike Charlie and Jaqueline in Scene 4, Penny and Isabella seem set on actually having sex, not just posing and performing for the camera. There are several moments during this lick and stick where the ladies appear lost in their own world of lust and desire, and this really does amplify the arousal. The use of a feather tickler is a nice, naughty touch and the overall atmosphere is one of serious Sappho stuffing. While Scene 4 does have its fascinating facets, the clear winner in the women-only department is Penny and Isabella, by a plume. Score: 6 out of 10.
Scene 3: Sarah Blake, Matt Bixel
Positions Presented: Cunnilingus, Fingering, Blowjob, Mish, Doggy, $hot in Mouth
And now it's time for that classic fairytale, The Lumbering Load Meets the Limber Lox as Sarah and Matt exemplify how NOT to shark with success. Everything about this scene is sedate and somber, from the opening pussy parting to the final measly money shot. Ms. Blake suffers from an unfortunate dye job (meaning cuffs and collar don't match) and she simply let's Mr. Bixel do whatever he wants without much resistance or response. Good thing then that our meat man is only capable of two tasty positions before serving up his Vas Deferens Vichyssoise. This is indeed the most lackluster scene in the entire set, a prime example of why a big cock and a willing cunt don't always add up to XXX-tacy. Score: 4 out of 10.
Scene 4: Charlie Laine, Jaqueline Fe Lyne
Positions Presented: Cunnilingus with Optional Dildo Action, 69, Tongue Fucking, Grinding, Post Coital Cuddling
Once again, we visit the vestibule of the twat tango as Charlie and Jaqueline fluff each other's nutters in a decent tribade treat. As stated before, this is a far calmer, more caring session of the sisterhood, and even with some numerical naughtiness – read: 69 – and a helping hard-on, a.k.a. the handy dandy dildo, these gals just can't call up the heat that Scene 2's sises could. Points are awarded for some ardent tongue tapping, and a session of La Grind is always a nice change of poontang pace. But when all this carnality adds up to a rather rote rousting, the grading should reflect such banality. Score: 5.5 out of 10.
Scene 5: Jayna Oso, Nick Manning
Positions Presented: Cunnilingus, Fingering, Blowjob, Mish, Doggy, $hot on Face and in Mouth
For our last look at log lathing, Jayna and Nick put on quite the bracing bonk-a-thon. Jayna's hot Hispanic hunger really comes across, and even compensates for some of Mr. Manning's narcissistic nonsense (this dude thinks he's smoldering stool and doesn't mind reflecting such arrogance for the camera). Still, this twosome looks dynamite as a depraved duad – Nick's muscleman machismo matches well with Ms. Oso petite particulars. Director Zion is up to his usual unusual tricks here, presenting a fair portion of the pork parameters in close-ups so extreme you can see several of Jayna's pores actually closing as pecker plows paella. Still, even in near gynecological detail, this scene is a noteworthy bit of nookie. Score: 6 out of 10.
One really does have to wonder what all the CGI digital backdrop boofooing is about in Mystified II: The Quest. Indeed, what's up with that name as well? Instead of sounding like a helping of hardcore humping, said moniker is reminiscence of a game nerds play with multi-sided dice and hit point proffering character cards. The more cynical of you out there will instantly see through this come hither crapola and realize that this is nothing more than an above-average (key word being "average") collection of prurience. All the performers do a decent job of selling the shimmy, and when called upon, can actually look like they're enjoying it too. Marty Zion does have a nice cinematic eye and his setups are ambient and artful. Interestingly, unlike other indulgent auteurs, Zion does not overuse the dissolve or the double exposure. He is restrained when applying slow motion and only occasionally messes up the mise-en-scene with post-production pageantry. Yet for everything that is exceptional about Mystified II, one can't help but be underwhelmed by the final product - all this presence, all this majesty and sumptuosity, all in the name of some rather nondescript noodling. You won't see better-looking porn after giving this DVD a spin in your humble home theater. But just don't expect your loins to launch into the stratosphere upon perusing the plain Jane pontooning. The most mystifying thing about this movie is why it needed all this excessiveness to sell some simple sex scenes.
Hands down, the best thing about Mystified II: The Quest is the amazing visual presentation. The 1.33:1 full screen image is gorgeous, with lots of vibrant color and delicious depth, all bathed in the radiant glow of some incredible lighting. We never sense the picture being washed out or undermined by the super saturation ideal, and the overall mood is one of softness and splendor. With brilliant contrasts and an amazing palette of pigments at his disposal, Zion has created an ocular masterpiece, surely one of the finest fuck film demonstrations ever.
Nectar really thought a lot of the music made by Jeffery Bryan for this production, since they include a CD filled with his electronic tinkering along with the DVD. Our composer has come up with such ultra ethereal names as "Lush" and "Treetalk", and there is a new age angle to all of his keyboard conniptions that gets annoying after a while. Still, we should be grateful for any manner of original underscoring and the magnificent Dolby Digital Stereo mix serves the sounds very well. While the proto-pumping pandemonium is buried deep in the aural atmosphere – occasionally rendering the manic monkey noises mute – this is an exceptional set of sonic circumstances.
Sadly, the weakest aspect of Nectar's tech specs is the lack of any substantial bonus material. The Behind the Scenes featurette is borderline buffoonery, as company crackpot Dick Smothers Jr. just can't seem to stop sticking his unfunny nose into every situation. An actress prepares for her big moment, and Smothers steps in and makes a sophomoric quip. The ladies go through a long Q&A, and every once in a while, we cut to Dickie making faces. Some of the interview footage is actually very interesting (it's amazing how little these gals know about basic pop culture) but the constant fidgeting by Smothers really ruins it. The rest of the added material here is just bare bones bit rate provender. Aside from the CD, no one will really care about a gallery or weblinks.
It's too bad that Mystified II: The Quest chose not to explore the dungeons and dragons dominion of fantasy films, instead going for the more derivative daydream mode. Marty Zion does have a painter's eye when it comes to combinations of form and fashion, and his onscreen canvases cry out with polish and precision. If only the fucking had been more experimental and expressive, instead of following some manner of screw by numbers motif. On the Disco Dirge Peter Meter, the overall DVD presentation from Nectar gets a substantial 6 out of 10 and earns a healthy, if also somewhat half-hearted, recommendation. This is the perfect martial aid material as well, a sensual sampling that should get paramours prepared perfectly. Therefore, a Cohabitation Certification is easily earned. Maybe we should just get used to the concept of modern pornography as a blasé concept in calm coitus. With more and more persons preferring the 'ripped from the roadside' quasi-rape of gonzo, with its borderline sinister snuff sentiments, there just may not be enough room in the realm of the risqué for something as sedate as Mystified II: The Quest. Hardcore should never be harmless. XXX mandates excitement, not ennui. Regrettably, Mystified II: The Quest is just too pretty to be completely potent.