Audio/Video Quality: Way of the Dragon was presented in the same 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen color it was shot in by cameraman Robby Dallas for director Celeste for Digital Playground. In terms of lighting and sheer quality of picture, the movie was looking as solid as anything shot for the company in HD with the scenes all being distinctively captured in slightly different variations as Celeste likes to do. The lighting varied too much to nail it down to a particular style but suffice it to say that the female eroticism Celeste sought to achieve was in full bloom in all the scenes (as always). There was no grain or video noise observed, I saw no compression artifacts, and the composition of the scenes was such that all the gals were made to look fantastic. Celeste's slow motion, heavily edited visuals were also used a lot so make no mistake about it; if you've liked her past work for the company, you'll also like this one but the reverse is also true (I prefer watching regular motion sex by a wide margin yet feel the appeal to some is very high too). In terms of the audio track, the bad news for me was that the vocals were again completely missing in favor of a very appealing set of musical pieces. I'll say it yet again; I prefer vocals over music every time but if the use of this type of photography requires losing the vocals, at least the music was well done again. It was a 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround track and had some decent separation and dynamic range, with the various selections providing an Asian "feel" to them in support of the movie's theme.
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Body of Review: Celeste is Digital Playground's answer to the cry that all porn is alike and made for men. While I'm acquainted with a number of ladies that can appreciate hardcore porn in the way that the infamous Belladonna or Mason offer it, by and large they seek stuff that appeals to them in other ways. That's where Celeste, with the assistance of cameraman/visual arts guru Robby Dallas, comes it; she offers something that I'm not always into but can understand where she's coming from. Her movies are visually interesting with slow motion and erotic appeal as shot in HD. I can only wonder what they'll look like when the Blu-Ray format is released and DP starts releasing their back catalog in the superior format. Today's review is of Celeste's latest movie, Way of the Dragon, that is essentially a number of vignettes that centered on Asian themes; even though (as one critic put it) there weren't a lot of Asians in it. If you've liked Celeste's movies in the past, this one will also appeal to you with fans of the beautiful Sophia Santi in for a huge treat as she was in much of the footage. Here's a breakdown of the scenes by cast and action, noting that condoms weren't used at all:
Scene One: Janine, making a special guest appearance in this movie to support her beautiful fellow contract star for the company, Sophia Santi, took control of the situation and used her many years of experience in lesbian flicks to heat up the screen. Both had on the facial make up of the geisha (although admittedly toned down from the real thing in what I'd call a good move) but it looked more natural on Sophia than Janine. They licked and rubbed one another to a musical score sounding much like a combination of mahjong computer game music, wind chimes, and soap opera standard but the editing kept the eye centered and the manner in which Janine dominated made it well worth a few looks. It was still far too short and in need of speeding up but as a fan of Janine (and quickly becoming one of Sophia), I put up with it nonetheless.
Scene Two: Charmane Star, Jamie Huxley, and Scott Nails were up next in a scene that played out somewhat faster thanks to the musical tempo employed here. This was another case where the quick editing probably saved the scene from obscurity but the gals were in nice form too. They sucked him off and took turns riding him in their pussies with some PTM (pussy to mouth/other gal's mouth) to enhance the action. This led to a load being dropped shortly afterwards. They had fun but it could've been more engaging at regular speed by the looks of it.
Scene Three: Sophia Santi and Marlena, both wearing coolie hats and nice lingerie, were up next in a lesbian scene. There was some spanking and tearing of the stockings but I didn't really get into it much; even though they were very attractive. The rickshaw style music was a bit too fast paced for the action and the brick room really didn't convey a sense of the orient as some of the other settings did. I admit I would've licked the sweat off their stomachs but the action was even more subdued than usual here with minimal contact between the gals who later employed a strap on dildo to work over orally and vaginally. While this may have made a nice tribute to more traditional lesbian flicks, it simply didn't work for me here.
Scene Four: Celeste Star, dressed in a sheer black negligee that did little to cover her fine form, used her ice blue eyes to entrance the camera as she wielded her sais in a manner far less menacing than Jennifer Gardner did in Elecktra but they did enhance the moment at least as much as the setting and her thigh high red boots. The masturbation action was fairly limited but the editing, the music, and the lighting all combined to make it a nice interlude from the "real" action. I know some people aren't into the use of solo scenes in modern porn but I say they lend a nice touch for a change of pace.
Scene Five: Sara Stone, a brunette gifted with large, natural breasts most men would love to play with, was up next as the blindfolded performer was tied up on a sofa bed (or sorts) with Ben English as her scene partner. The scene was a bit weird in how it used flashbacks cut into the linear action but other than the usual complaints I had about the method of photography, it was a decent scene by most standards. She sucked him off and they bumped uglies in a few positions that showed they knew what they were doing, with Sara as a very active participant of the screwing by the looks of it. It ended when she jerked him off and he took over to drop a load onto her chest.
Scene Six: Sophia Santi and Bobbi Blair, both attractive brunettes, were up next in a lesbian scene that seemed slightly faster than the last one (back in scene #3). Sophia was the lead with her partner attending to her needs as they did some minor oral before the strap on dildo came out for the riding action. Sophia seems like the type that can take it as well as dish it out although her very wet ride was hampered by the motion de-hancement once more. The music was less interesting this time, seeming almost like it was putting the gals on a time table but they still looked very appealing to the eye despite the limitations encountered.
Scene Seven: Marie Luv, a popular gonzo black gal wielding an umbrella in her blue dress, was then up with Jerry. This was another scene that seemed to stick to current porn standards with lots of oral (she sucks a mean dick folks!) and an active ride in her ass. She's never appealed to me physically but I'd be lame to suggest she's not a talented performer capable of many feats of daring do. She wasn't as active in the doggy position as I'd have liked but she was pretty good here nonetheless.
Scene Eight: Jamie Lynn, in a silken kimono and brandishing a katana, was up next in another solo masturbation sequence. This time, the camera seemed to pour over her figure as she used chopsticks to manipulate her body parts ever so slightly but aside from some minor diddling of her pussy, she didn't do a whole lot for me.
Scene Nine: Penny Flame, having tied up the lovely Sophia Santi, was up next in a scene with Scott Nails as the contract gal watched them. After some kissing, Scott choked Penny as though he watched her performance in Shane's World 36, but soon fell back into regular porn mode as the two sought to get each other off on camera with rubbing, sucking and screwing like the skilled performers they are. I've been slightly infatuated with Penny for the last 6 months or so due to her performances and this one was well handled too; showing she can handle erotic as well as the nasty stuff she goes for most of the time. Sadly, the scene ended far too quickly with him jerking off a load to Penny's mouth that soon fell on her breasts with a little guidance.
Scene Ten: Sophia Santi, all tied up like a plaything, and the leggy blonde, Tall Goddess, were up next in a lesbian scene. Sophia played the role of victim to the hilt since she was bound to some bamboo rods rather tightly. This allowed "Tall" to do as she pleased with the young hotty and she certainly took advantage of the situation well enough. She even pulled out some chopsticks to toy with Sophia's tongue before rubbing her ass into Sophia's crotch. This was followed by the ending credits where Sophia got to provide a little massage therapy to a friend
Summary: Way of the Dragon will likely be considered another winner for fans of Celeste's stylish erotica. As always, I personally prefer more straightforward offerings such as the Teen America or the features like Pirates but I'm told time and time again by female friends of mine that they like what Celeste has to offer. Does that mean I can't enjoy them too? No, but it does mean that a little bit of them goes a long way unless I'm on the couch with a gal who's warming up thanks to the show (I'm pragmatic about porn; if it gets me off, be it me stroking or a gal willing to bone to it, I'm game). For that reason, I think a rating of Recommended is a reasonable compromise for a jaded old porn hound like me. In terms of being exactly what was advertised though, Way of the Dragon was very much a winner compared to the competition. Perhaps future releases will have more extras or last a full two hours but most people buy gonzo porn to get those types of things so I'm not holding my breath.
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