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End Game, The

Studio: Vivid » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 8/4/05

XCritic's Advice: Highly Recommended

The End Game

Vivid Entertainment

Genre: Feature

Director: B. Skow

Cast: Briana Banks, Rick Patrick, Flower Tucci, Daphne Rosen, Tony Pounds, Katie Morgan, Joel Lawrence, Rita Faltoyano, Tommy Gunn, Mario Rossi, Renee Richards, Poppy Morgan
Non-sex roles by: Skye Blue, Nicole Sheridan, B. Skow, Puma Swede, Christian, Graham Crack Herr, Lee Garland

Length: 114 minutes

Date of Production: 3/12/2005

Extra's: For me, the best extra was easily the 32 minute long Behind the Scenes feature by Vic Alpine since it had interviews with most of the cast, a lot of great footage, and explored some of the action shown in the movie intellectually. There were also the usual five bonus scenes taken from other Vivid movies, three of them starring Briana Banks, a short Briana Banks biography, some trailers, two photogalleries, a double sided DVD cover, a fetish menu, and the usual forced spam at the front of the DVD that I couldn't skip (I hate that!).

Condoms: Yes

Audio/Video Quality: The End Game was presented in the usual 1.33:1 ratio full frame color it was shot in by director B. Skow for Vivid Entertainment. Having read the comment on the front DVD cover stating "The directorial debut of a visionary new filmmaker", I was initially concerned that the movie would look like crap but I went into viewing it with as open a mind as I could. Thankfully, my first impressions were not realized as the movie looked really good (far better than I could've hoped for!). The fleshtones were accurate, the composition of most shots was flattering to the women, and clarity of the picture made me wonder why Vivid hasn't used this guy before! There was little grain, barely any video noise, and while it was far from perfect, there existed a potential for a lot of good work in the future as the director learns to polish the rough edges. Compare this to the veteran directors the company employs and you'll see why I appreciated the visuals so much (and thankfully, "visionary" didn't mean artsy fartsy as with other companies in porn). The audio was a mixed bag this time with the vocals generally well done but still too much of that droning porn music long associated with Vivid. Maybe they'll provide an alternative audio track some day that has a lowered music track (I'd gladly given up the bonus scenes not relating to the lead gal in exchange for it) or just get it right on the main track but that was the sole problem with the audio for me.

-- sponsored by --

Body of Review: New porn directors are a dime a dozen these days as almost anyone with a camera can call themselves director and start shooting for most companies. A few companies are pickier about who they choose to represent them but I'll admit that giving a new guy (or gal) a chance sometimes yields great results. Case in point: debut director for Vivid Entertainment, B. Skow and his release of The End Game, starring contract hotty Briana Banks. The movie is a feature about a director, Joel Lawrence, who fears germs so much that he won't bone his lovely wife, Briana Banks, in her sweet ass. He eventually overcomes his fear but the story wasn't the reason I liked the movie; it was because of the high quality this new director displayed at a company that routinely frustrates me in terms of their production values. One look and you'll see the difference between this movie and most of the others released by Vivid, making him a shining hope for my future viewing of their contract stable of hot women. That said, here's a brief look at the scenes by cast and action, noting that condoms were used but they didn't get in the way of the fun:

Scene One: Something On The Side: Briana Banks, the hot blonde Vivid contract star on the front DVD cover, was up first in a bedroom scene with studly Rick Patrick (formerly Rick Roberts). She looked really appealing to me although I still maintain that she could gain about 25 pounds and look better. She's been dancing on the road for months and the end result is that she was looking more toned than she has in a while so her fans can rejoice that she was at her best here. The scene itself seemed to show some serious chemistry between the couple and she energetically slobbed his knob before riding him in her pussy and ass. The anal showed her coming to terms with her sexuality as I think she did a better job with it here than anywhere else I've seen her, ending with a facial as he spewed his load . In all, it was a great way to start the movie and more than I hoped for after reading the "visionary new director" label on the front DVD cover.

Scene Two: Chubby Party: Flower Tucci and Daphne Rosen, looking curvier than usual and acting even sluttier than normal, were up next with geeky Tony Pounds. They wore nearly matching outfits, with blue skirts and tiny crop tops labeled "Slut" and Bitch" in an airbrushed manner that suited them really well. I liked their party attitude and the couple of extra pounds they were sporting just as much. The scene took place in the kitchen and had some measure of playful fun that is often missing in Vivid releases (now that they've dumped their resident doom & gloomer, David Stanley, perhaps they'll bring back the fun times). The sex included oral, vaginal, and some anal that was befitting these two cuties and they kept vocally encouraging him in a manner that worked for me too. Fans of facials and cum swapping will enjoy the ending a whole lot too. Yum!

Scene Three: Sanitary Daphne: Katie Morgan, a very attractive blonde hotty with a squeaky voice, had the following scene with Joel Lawrence on a couch after she was unable to rent him a car. Other than her implants, she gets better every time I see her (and she didn't start out too badly either) and while they appeared to be a little mechanical at times here, the sex was pretty warm. The scene was oral and vaginal only but it had a number of solid moments that were worth replaying multiple times; ending with the facial fans demand these days.

Scene Four: The Real Tommy Gunn: Rita Faltoyano, playing a party gal from Budapest (an apt description if you ask me), was up next as she was dressed to the hilt in order to have a scene with studly Tommy Gunn and Rocco Siffredi look-alike, Mario Rossi, in a booth at the club. She looked like she had lost some weight here but that gorgeous face, lean and all natural body, and willing sex drive are always in demand on my television. They did oral, vaginal and ended with two facials but it wasn't the list of sex acts that made her fun to watch so much as her aggressively heated performance with the guys. While far from her best work, she knows how to milk a nut and did some with relish here.

Scene Five: The Girl's Room: Renee Richards and Poppy Morgan, a couple of English gals that looked like your typical porn performers (not in a bad way mind you), were up next in a lesbian scene taking place in the bathroom. The two obviously enjoyed working together, making me believe the hype spouted by Renee in the BTS feature about the two getting it on off camera a lot, and the only thing I didn't like about the scene was the music in the background as it droned too loudly and prevented them from verbally expressing their heat. If you like licking, rubbing, fingering, and all the other acts you normally get from such a pairing, you'll like this one too. The use of a vibrator was nice too and it was better done than most lesbian pairings I've seen at Vivid.

Scene Six: A Normal Guy: Briana Banks, again looking like a million bucks, was up next in a bedroom tryst with Joel Lawrence. As part of the story, she got him drunk at the party and took advantage of his lustful libido in order to get some of that backdoor action she so craved but like the other scene she was in; the anal was almost anticlimactic compared to the passionate manner in which she pounced on his penis. From the spanking, the playful oral, and the verbal domination where she ordered him to fuck her, the scene showed me she was better than most of her previous work (if she could just get a decent make up job!). Both scenes with her here were probably the best I can think of in recent memory so fans should pick this one up pronto.

Summary: The End Game was worth a rating of Highly Recommended by me for the quality of the sex, the great cast, and the admittedly surprising production values by debut director B. Skow. If Vivid can get their other movies looking this good and obtain as solid performances out of their performers in future efforts, a lot of critics will be eating their words of the past. As one of the largest porn producers in the world, Vivid has always had the means to make great looking porn but so often found itself on the receiving end of a barrage of criticism for the amount of grain and video noise their movies displayed. My hopes are that they've decided once and for all to fix this aspect of their movies, especially given the attention to detail their competitors have used. With The End Game, Director B. Skow is currently Vivid's best director in regards to technical matters but also showing a heck of a lot of potential in terms of coaxing solid performances out of a cast not always known for them. Good job!

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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