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Ass Up, Face Down

Studio: 1st Strike » Review by Disco Dirge » Review Date: 8/7/05

XCritic's Advice: Recommended

Genre: Straight Feature
Director: Taylor Rain, Jake Jacobs
Cast:: Taylor Rain, Katja Kassin, Kelly Kline, Jassie, Dominica Leoni, Nick Manning, Anthony Hardwood, Richard Kline, Billy Glide, Mark Davis
Length: 120 mins
Production Date: July 1, 2005

In a Nutshell - A Little Too Dark with Bad Color Correction
The main drawback to Ass Up Face Down is its less than stellar production values. The 1.33:1 full frame image is just too murky. Either that, or the color correction is so off that it completely undermines the skin tones. Everyone here looks unhealthy and mottled as their private areas are paraded in front of the camera. Even the usually pink and puffy Mark Davis appears to be suffering from some sallow skin malady here. The Dolby Digital Stereo is certainly acceptable, with easy to understand dialogue and lots of sonic sexuality.

In a Nutshell - Only One Bonus Worth Viewing
If 1strike is going to compete with the big boys, they need to learn a little about padding out their DVDs with added features. The single viable extra here is a "Behind the Scenes" featurette that gives us some nice backstage banter and outtakes. But the rest of the complimentary content is fairly dull. The "Slide Show" (boring) and the "Trailers" (typical) don't add much value to this adult entertainment package.

First Impressions:
Bordering between a home movie and an elaborately staged straight feature, 1strike's Ass Up Face Down gives Taylor Rain a chance to work both in front of and behind the camera. As a star, she is without exception. Her fuck and suck skills are commendable and very carnal. But as a filmmaker, she has a few problems. In general, she mistakes extreme close-ups for carnality and odd angles for arousal. But she also has a problem with pacing. Many of the scenes in the film seem to drag, even when the action is fiery and fierce. It's as if she understands the need for an edit, but holds back, believing that the long take increasing the excitement and passion. Quality cutting is essential to a successful pornographic film and Ass Up Face Down has some definite shot selection issues.

The Sex:
Since the premise offers a party-type atmosphere where anything goes, there is no linear linking of the scenes. We merely get six sequences of sex, each one offering its own level of excitement. Viewed individually, we can determine their value, beginning with:

Scene 1: Taylor Rain, Nick Manning
Acts Performed: Cunnilingus, Fingering, Blow Job, Deep Throating, Face Fucking, Mish, Anal Mish, Doggy, Hair Pulling, $hot in Mouth, Oral Clean-up
Score: 3.5 out of 5

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Nick and Taylor make a good couple. Each is intense in their sexual appetite, and Taylor responds very well to Nick's more "aggressive" nature. There are a few trouble spots with the filming - Taylor (with help from co-director Jake Jacobs) love extreme, almost scientific close-ups. Normally, this would be fine, except along with the blow-up vision of penetration, we get to see Taylor's many razor bumps, Nick's various skin occlusions and the lack of correct colors and optical details that come with such questionable framing. Also, the obvious passion between the couple is severely undermined when all we see is organ moving in and out of a skin flap. Otherwise, this is a fine first sequence of very powerful, quite erotic hardcore.

Scene 2: Katja Kassin, Anthony Hardwood
Acts Performed:Blow Job, Ball Action, Cunnilingus, Fingering, V to M, Mish, Doggy, Cowgirl, $hot in Mouth with Oral Clean-up
Score: 3.5 out of 5
Here's another good couple - Katja and Anthony. She is a lot "meatier" than some of her fellow female stick figure fuck stars, and Mr. Hardwood is definitely a Hungarian hunk. Together, they create a wonderful chemistry that translates across the screen. If one was to only go by the list of positions performed, the action would appear to be rather routine. But Katja really understands how to play her arousal for the camera, and with Anthony giving her a nonstop helping of the high hard one, there's no reason for her to let up. In the end, we get another exciting sex session that manages to provide substantial heat, even if some of the previously mentioned directorial glitches are still present.

Scene 3: Kelly Kline, Richard Kline
Acts Performed:Cunnilingus, Fingering, Blow Job, Ball Action, Hand Job, Mish, Anal Reverse Cowgirl, Doggy, $hot in Mouth
Score: 1.5 out of 5
Providing proof that porn stars should never have their husbands/suitcase pimps as partners, the rather attractive Kelly Kline is stuck humping a hideous human toothpick in her very unexciting scene. Richard Kline is the kind of man that should be buying hardcore pornography, not appearing in them. He has a concave chest with a patch of disturbing hair, a pencil prick with a head that sits off angle, and all the technique of a tired Teamster. As Kelly tries her best to make us believe she's enjoying this journey, we can't draw our eyes away from this train wreck of a tool. At least we get some anal, which should count for something in the sexual grading scale. But the sorry physical specimen supplying the pounding is enough to throw the entire DVD rating into an endless tailspin.

Scene 4: Jassie
Acts Performed:Cabaret, Masturbation, Pink Vibrator Action, V to M
Score: 1.5 out of 5
In a less than fetching follow-up, young Jassie tries to sell us on a single solo routine. She cabarets her little heart out, breaks out the classic long bullet vibrator, and works her privates over with a definite desire to please. Sadly, she is just a washed out waif, looking less like an adult actress and more like a willing college girl someone picked up off the street. If you like barely legal reprobate diddling their pussy with a long plastic power tool, by all means, enjoy Jassie's show. But even individuals who implicitly enjoy masturbation scenes will find this one a little wanting.

Scene 5: Dominica Leoni, Billy Glide
Acts Performed: Blow Job, Reverse Cowgirl, Cowgirl, Doggy, Scissors, Cunnilingus, Salad Tossing, $hot in Mouth with Oral Clean-up
Score: 2.5 out of 5
On paper, a pairing of brawny beefcake Billy Glide and petite princess Dominica Leoni should be perfect. The domination/submission scenarios can be easily imagined, and both performers have a reputation for knowing how to fuck on film. So why is it then that there scene is incredibly underwhelming? Is it because of Taylor's inexperience behind the camera? The position selection? The sequence of scissors that seems to go on forever? Whatever the case may be, we are once again treated to every dermatological deficiency each performer has. The only unusual element in this standard sex sequence is Billy's last minute salad tossing of Ms. Leoni's ass. After all the pumping, the oral aspect is very welcome.

Scene 6: Taylor Rain, Mark Davis, Anthony Hardwood
Acts Performed: Dueling Blow Jobs, Deep Throating, Cunnilingus, Salad Tossing, Fingering, Gaping, Mish, V to M, Doggy, Face Fucking, Teabagging, Alan Scissors, Cowgirl, Reverse Cowgirl, DP in the Reverse Cowgirl Mode, $hots in Mouth
Score: 3 out of 5
Taylor promises a fiery DP as part of her pairing with Mark Davis and Anthony Hardwood, and once again, she "cums" through with flying colors. Both men really deliver the dick to this overly eager beaver, and Ms. Rain radiates true enjoyment from the Eros. There is lots of nice three-way action as we await the duel dicking: we even get some gaping for our patience. But once Mark and Anthony start drilling the star, the scene more or less goes south. As the guys are pseudo-pumping away, Taylor tries to seem anything but uncomfortable. Then there is a long section - again, very close-up - of two cocks crammed into orifices. It's not particularly arousing and really detracts from the stimulation we are supposed to experience. While it is still a good scene for other reasons, the derivative DP is more anti- than climactic.

Disco Dirge Peter Meter Rating: 2.5 out of 5 (Rent It/Recommended)
Cohabitation Certification: Granted
For every element that steers this review of Ass Up Face Down toward a recommendation, there are equal facets that highlight its ultimate failing. The direction is shoddy, and the mastering of the material renders it unappetizing, not arousing. Four of the scenes sizzle, while two simple fail to fluff us. Couples will have no qualms with this title, since the sex is very provocative without being painful, and almost all the couples look good together. What finally pushes the decision over into the recommended pile is the professional work from Taylor, Katja and their male counterparts. Replacing the sequences featuring the unexciting Klines and the dull, dishwater Jassie with better balling would amplify this title into the sexual stratosphere. Instead, we get an average hardcore offering with some spots of real sizzle.

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