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Sex City 2

Studio: Private » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 9/13/06

XCritic's Advice: Watch On Demand

Sex City 2


Genre: Feature

Director: Pierre Woodman

Cast: Reda Semlahen, Xenia Love, Alain Deloin, Sonia Carter, Vince Willis, Divinity Love, Diana Gold, Pascal St. James, Aphrodite Night, Leanna Sweet, Sonia Red, Titof, Sophie Paris, Bibi Fox, Kevin Long, Olivia Weston, Natalia Dinov, Philippe Soine, Betty Wong, Justine Ashley, Victoria Rose, James Brossman, Nella, Susanne, Laura Lion, Joachim Kessef, Monique Feyfer, Angelina, Victory, Cindy, Robert Rosenberg, Rebecca Smith, Boroka, Dominique Ross, Mia Diamond, Vanessa, Rudboy, Wildy, Robert Stangler, Radka Rambar, Kalena Bruni, George Reno, Charlie, Tomas, Lucie Ann, Gianni, Joe Monti, Gwen, Ronnie Wilson, Gabriella Tehekan, Frantisek Kubik, Milan Hjavlicek, Stanislav Kodeja, Mojmir Dvorak, Jan Prelsler, Svalopluk Prelsler, Peir Kriz, David Martinek, Peir Rys, Markela Nerudova, Lucie Branlova, Michaela Holubova, Vladimir Lapis, Marek Lejscek, Michaela Dulkova, Blanka Tresnakova, Daniel Schimd, Lucie Volavova, Linda Weldmannova, Lucie Prinkova, Robert Zemanek, Kristina Radoslova, Milan Valenta, Jana Stupkova, Slana Sodova, Michal Pavel, Hana Malyasova, Michal Koman, Jaroslav Kinofras, Stepan Kriszek, Lenka Horalkova, Vaclav Horacek, Peir Eller, Patrik Jelinek, Josef Zmrhal, Michal Soukup, and about three dozen more no name folks ;)

Length: 180.5 minutes

Date of Production: 4/2006 (box); 6/2006 (credits)

Extra's: While I hear there was a wealth of sweet extras on the first volume of the movie (at least the special, two disc set of it), this one only had a series of trailers, a true double sided DVD cover, and 15 pictures of the female sexual cast members for the show (skipping some of the gals that had sex in the movie). Thanks to the length of the movie, the extras weren't as vital to the value of the show but if you're going to go all out in making a big title, why stop short on the extras section?

Condoms: None

Audio/Video Quality: Sex City 2 was presented in the same 1.85:1 ratio anamorphic widescreen it was shot in by director Pierre Woodman for release by Private. The creative use of black & white mixed in with color that mirrored some aspects of the mainstream release it mimicked was interesting though too much of a gimmick to work in favor of the stroke value for my tastes. I'm appreciative of Private for pushing the envelope but rather than rely on copying the work of someone else, a spin off or different story using the same artistic techniques would've earned them more kudos from this reviewer. The whole "been there, done that" aspect of the movie aside, the composition of the angles almost always enhanced the look of the ladies and captured their sexual antics well with the fleshtones looking great when the colors were activated. There was a bit of light moiré at times and the matted special effects looked even cheesier than usual but it looked pretty solid overall. The audio was presented in the usual 5.1 Dolby Digital English with a variety of subtitles and other languages present too. The dubbing on the primary tracks was a mixed bag, often sounding like someone was reading the lines cold from a script, but the music helped to partially compensate for this when it wasn't covering up the vocals by the performers having sex.

-- sponsored by --

Body of Review: Private is one of the largest producers of porn in the world and this being September, that means they are pulling out all stops as they release their biggest titles of the year for the upcoming AVN Awards deadline. As part of their marketing strategy to make large scale blockbusters and divide them up into multiple parts for release, I acquired Sex City 2 this week, with the third and final volume coming out before too long. As most of you will probably already have heard, the movie was a sexually themed take off of the mainstream hit Sin City, written by comic book legend Frank Miller, with an emphasis on the sex over the graphic violence from the original flick. Rather than treat the movie like a porno and outline the sex, I'm going to revert to a more mainstream style of review though those of you wanting to get a play by play description of the sex can rest assured that it was what I call "Private Standard" with all the trimmings (oral, vaginal, anal, and DP's being common) was the tour de force here with no surprises at all.

Okay, I haven't seen the first volume of the three part series but it closely mimicked the mainstream flick so I wasn't completely lost. The movie stars thuggish looking Reda Semlahen as Bleck; a man with serious anti-social behavior issues. If you haven't seen the mainstream version of the movie or part one of the porn trilogy, consign yourself to providing a fresh set of batteries for your remote control player because there will be a substantial amount of poorly dubbed dialogue that you'll want to skip. As a reviewer, I didn't have the privilege of skipping it so bear with me as I make a few remarks in this regard. Like previous blockbusters from Private (including Private Gladiator, Sex Angels, and Mission Possible), a lot of effort was invested in the plot and talking part of the movie where no sex was taking place. Having enjoyed numerous porn features in the past like Space Nuts and Pirates to name a couple, I understand that the level of acting required to make a successful porno is about 5th grade drama in most cases. There are numerous shining examples where the acting is far better but almost all of those involve the movie leaning heavily on a handful of skilled performers while the eye candy gals do all the sexual escapades we are actually looking for. You're not going to find Johnny Depp level performances in porn pirate movies or Russell Crowe level acting in porn gladiator movies any more than you'd expect to find hardcore sex scenes handled by large budget mainstream Hollywood pictures. Whenever you read about the fantastic acting in a porno, it always refers to PORN level acting, which is akin to some of the grade Z movies you'll see on direct to cable presentations late at night that magically skipped out on making a theatrical run. So yes, Sex City 2 was saddled with all the usual bad acting of a porno coupled with the weak English language dubbing that it was presented with.

Now, if you enjoyed Sin City as a stylish visual treat as much as I did, you'll want to know how well director Pierre Woodman handled that aspect of the movie. In this area, the use of black & white with splashes of color was actually one of the more advanced attempts at style that I could get into. Having reviewed far too many porn flicks over the years and seen even more, I can tell you that most attempts at "style" come across like a kid with a new toy trying out all the effects buttons on the camera. I speak from personal experience and have seen it repeatedly over the years that a lot of people like to present something visually new, different, or at least try to sell their product as such. That holds true for the folks that think all women like slow motion, low lit scenes, as much as those who hold that sped up effects with horrible backgrounds and performers that seem to hate having sex (being made uncomfortable on the set to convey that sentiment as much as possible) appeals to the younger audience under various monikers. In Sin City, the use of colors initially came across as a gimmick to me though it started to grow on me to a lesser extent upon repeated viewings. The same holds true for Sex City 2, although it has been done before in both genres to a lesser amount, and I have to admit that it was interesting to see something like this as a change of pace. I expect that some will reward the gimmick with awards but in terms of art direction, I enjoyed The Visitors from Wicked Pictures substantially more. As with all things, your mileage will vary but the director did seem to spend a lot of time composing the scenes as though it were a mainstream movie and he did manage to enhance the look of the ladies a lot; a testament to his years in the business.

So what about the sex you ask? This will be another are where the viewer will either find it appealing or not with little middle ground. The majority of the ladies were lean, trim, and very physically attractive in the manner that most modern porn, especially from Private, provides. The men were a bit more varied in that sense but if you've watched a Private movie in the last five years, you'll know what to expect on each account. I'll admit that I was surprised to see a gal that most people would call fat in the final scene of the movie (going well beyond what I tend to refer to as fleshy, built for comfort, or voluptuous) but otherwise, the fembot type gals that Private provides with all the mechanical skills and willingness to do any sexual act though with the chemistry, passion, and heat of an ice queen. Granted, some of the ladies seemed to be actively enjoying their trysts with the guys (and other ladies in some cases) but in most of the scenes, they were going through the same motions I've come to expect from Private. For me, that's okay since I like seeing attractive model type ladies having sex but it would've been so much better had they at least appeared to enjoy themselves in the process. There was a distinctive emphasis on oral and anal sex though, with the vaginal getting second billing in almost every scene. If you like DP's, anal, ATM, and other forms of sex that you probably won't get in real life without paying for it, this will be stroke heaven for you in each of the ten scenes. If you long for the connection established in better scenes by gals that either act as though they like it or really do get off on voyeurs beating off to their sexual antics, the choices here were decidedly limited.

As a tribute to Sin City, Sex City 2 was admirable in many ways as Woodman tried to adapt the mainstream flick to the porn world with the usual constraints the adult world imposes. My take on such matters is that I'd rather he used an original premise, even if he used the gimmicky effects to prop it up, than to try and copy the majority of his scenes straight from the original. He could also have tried to go the parody route as 8 To 4 and Space Nuts have done in the past, which would provide some means of justifying the movie as unique (Private is known for virtually copying mainstream flicks and adding in sex; like the Rocky take off they did in Rock Hard and the others mentioned above) but fans of style over substance will undoubtedly appreciate this one a lot (and for good reason). There was a lot of fuck for the buck as the movie lasted just over three hours, and the lamer aspects aside, I think many of you that aren't completely turned off by the negative factors will want to consider this one as a Rent It first and then a number of you will want to pick up a copy. Personally, I'd suggest you check out the first volume before this one or wait until all three volumes are combined into a single value packed boxed set as Private has been making more of over the few years or so (most notably with their Private Gladiator Trilogy) but the call is yours to make.

Summary: Sex City 2 is the second volume in the series that Private hopes will take home lots of awards this coming January and they put in a lot of effort, resources, and a marketing blitz behind it to further that goal. In terms of copying the mainstream original, it was a decidedly reasonable effort for the kind of budgets porn provides their directors these days but originality and creativity are always welcome when it comes to feature porn at my house so I thought it fell short of a title I could wholeheartedly recommend. In short, Sex City 2 continued the story and sexual exploits of the huge cast in such a way that fans of Private's past releases will need to pick up a copy right away but the lack of extras, lack of genuine heated performances, and lack of establishing what went on before were as damaging as the lack of originality to me and I suggest you try it before you buy it. Oh, and on a side note, I found it funny that the box listed the movie as being 90 minutes when it was twice that long, a reversal of sorts from Private's past creative accounting on running times.

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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