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Game, The

Studio: Hustler Video » Review by Disco Dirge » Review Date: 10/28/06

XCritic's Advice: Recommended

Genre: Straight Feature
Director: Francesco Fanelli
Cast:: Bambola, Erika Neir, Jane Darling, Sheila, Francesca Fellucci, Nico Saphir, Omar Galanti, Franco Trentalance, Remigio Zampa, Giorgio Grande, Gabriel Montoya
Length: 135 mins
Production Date: 2006

In a Nutshell - A Real Attempt at Capturing a Cinematic Feel
Like most foreign made pornography (this one's from Italy, obviously) there is a real desire on director Francesco Fanelli's part to instill a full scale big screen feel to the production. He shoots several scenes in odd, swirling pans, circling the card players as they make their mostly meaningless bets. There are also times when Fanelli falls into the old XXX habit of simply pointing his camera on the actors and recording what happens. Such a jarring juxtaposition can frequently pull the viewer out of the action. But overall, the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen image is very good. The colors are bright and the fleshtones maintained in a very realistic fashion. As for the audio, get ready for Godzilla-level fun as a bunch of American actors, many pretending to be some variation of Lawrence Tierney in Reservoir Dogs, overdub the non-English speaking performers, even adding the sex sounds along the way. It makes for a very surreal sexual experience.

In a Nutshell - An Understandable Lack of Added Content
Hustler's position here as distributor makes it easy to comprehend the lack of bonus features overall. We do get the standard stuff trailers, sex talk ads, gallery, etc. but no added sex sequences, interviews or behind the scenes featurettes. It's hard enough to dub an entire film for the fuck and suck set, doing the same, or worse, hiring someone to translate the entire title is asking a bit much. In addition, foreign filmmakers aren't into providing added content for their efforts. They want to simply make the movie and get on with the next project. While US adult advocates might loathe the lack of extras, it really shouldn't affect The Game's salability.

First Impressions:
Like some sort of surreal combination of The World Poker Tour and a Gamera movie, this arcane Italian porno from Hustler is simultaneously hot and hilarious. It tells a very simple story Franco is a bad gambler who gets in trouble with local Russian mob boss Omar. In order to settle his debts, he has to find them another "chicken" to pluck, someone with lots of money. Franco taps his best friend (and former gambling buddy) Giorgio. While getting fleeced by the hoods, Omar's babe Bombola falls for the mark. It's not long before the cops are called in and everyone lives quasi-happily ever after. With the balance between betting and balling being pretty even, The Game wants to be both a thrilling narrative and a titillating slice of sensuality. It barely manages both. The card scenes are silly, since everyone always has either four aces or a full house, and the amounts tossed around (10,000 Euros!) are an obvious attempt to cover up the lira used in Italy. On the sex side, things go from good to groan inducing, with a minor reprieve at the end. Much of this has to do with the talent on hand. Elsewhere, it's the European vs. American style of screwing that makes the difference.

The Sex Scenes:

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If you like ass antics, then by all means, dig on the dumper dynamics of The Game. As a fuck filmmaker, Fanellli's doesn't futz around. Instead, he goes from some minor foreplay to full on butt banging in a matter of mere moments. Gals barely get a chance to heat up when, suddenly, their partners are parting their sweet cheeks and stuffing their shitter with shaft. Naturally, none of the ladies mind, and if you don't really care for anything other than swollen sphincters, the occasional gape, and the frequently unimpressive money shot, you'll really like the staged sex presented. Others, however, may feel the redundant repetitiveness of the reaming and grow tired by the final sequence.

Scene 1: Sheila, Jane Darling, Omar Galanti
Acts Performed: Alternating Head, Fingering, V to M, Anal Reverse Cowgirl, Alternating A to M, Anal Doggy, Cowgirl, Anal Spooning, Face Sitting, $hot to Body
Score: 4 out of 5
Beginning with one of the best blowjobs in the entire film (both Jane and Sheila sure understand how to suck cock), this overheated club scene has all the elements that make porn potent. The gals are good looking, Omar is an adept meat puppet and there is a visible and palpable chemistry between the players that is hard to deny. Once dick meets dumper or cunt we can feel the passion between the actors. It's a heat that helps bring this first and sadly, finest sequence to a semi-successful conclusion. The only drawback? Omar's mediocre pop, which we barely see.

Scene 2: Erika Neir, Remigio Zampa
Acts Performed: Cabaret, Stripping, Cunnilingus, Fingering, Salad Tossing, Blowjob, Standing Scissors, Reverse Cowgirl, Anal Reverse Cowgirl, Anal Cowgirl, Gaping, Anal Doggy, Anal Pile Driver, $hot to Mouth
Score: 3 out of 5
Ms. Neir is solely responsible for the second best scene in The Game. Saddled with a rather middle-aged man named Remigio Zampa, there is enough man paunch and love handles here to last a lifetime. Thankfully, Erika puts on a nice strip show cabaret before taking it up her various crevices. She gives the installment its fire and its fun. Zampa on the other hand is like a shaft statue, doing very little except providing a handy hard-on. One can only imagine the Eros to be offered had our actress been paired with a partner more pleasing to her particular proclivities.

Scene 3: Sheila, Jane Darling
Acts Performed: Standard Girl on Girl Action, Cunnilingus, 69 with Vibrator Fucking
Score: 1.5 out of 5
Same sex sequences are almost always dull and derivative, and this one is no different. It doesn't help that, during the 69 segment, director Fanellli holds the camera back from the action. He obviously believes that seeing two gals onscreen diddling each other with vibrators is better than getting in close and witnessing where the toys actually go. It gives this limp, lackluster lesbianism a magazine photo spread quality that does little to amplify its arousal.

Scene 4: Francesca Fellucci, Franco Trentalance
Acts Performed: Blowjob, Ball Action, Fingering, V to M, Mish, Cowgirl, Reverse Cowgirl, Spoon, Implied V to M, $hot to Mouth
Score: 3 out of 5
The last really great sex scene in the film does not come from cover art star Bambola, but from the smoking hot honey known as Francesca Fellucci. Blessed with a body that's instantly fuckable and a mouth just made for penis, she puts on a clinic of cock to cunt carousing that's hard to beat. Sadly, lead actor Franco Trentalance is a boring baller. He has very little facial expression, and his ham-fisted pawing of his paramour drains away much of the initial steam. Still, for such a lopsided match, the hardcore is actually pretty good.

Scene 5: Bambola, Omar Galanti, Gabriel Montoya
Acts Performed: Dueling Blowjobs, Cowgirl, DP in the Cowgirl Mode, Implied A to M, Anal Doggy, $hot to Mouth
Score: 2.5 out of 5
She's the supposed star, and has a nice face and body to warrant the ballyhoo, but as a fuck buddy, Bambola is no great shakes. As a matter of fact, in this first scene, she's merely a series of sex holes for Omar and Gabriel to fill. The lack of real positions we move from oral to DP in a matter of moments - the desire to stay in the two dick dynamic for far too long, and the bland, basic camerawork really work to undermine the moment. Indeed, it seems that every time Ms. B starts to stand out, her partners pull her back in for more formulaic fucking.

Scene 6: Bambola, Giorgio Grande
Acts Performed: Blowjob, Cowgirl, Reverse Cowgirl, Anal Reverse Cowgirl, Anal Doggy, Mish, $hot on Vagina
Score: 2 out of 5
Believe it or not, Bambola is not much better one on one. She tends to play it too soft and sensual, like she's starring in a Made for TV movie and not some supposedly steamy hardcore sex flick. Giorgio's sad sack face and lack of masculine moxie (he's about as feminine as our lady lead, to tell the truth) also destroys the atmosphere here. This is supposed to be some manner of celebratory screwing Giorgio is no longer in debt and his passion for Omar's babe can now be fully realized but all we get is a series of by the book XXX moves that add up to nothing very engaging or entertaining.

Disco Dirge Peter Meter Rating: 3 out of 5 (Recommended)
Cohabitation Certification: Granted
With only two of the six scenes delivering definitive pork power, and another two tending toward the mediocre, this is clearly a confusing title to judge, overall. Somehow, even with the less than successful sex and long, lame Poker based exposition, this movie mostly works. Perhaps its because the first two scenes leave us with enough of an erotic afterglow to get us over the latter, bumpier bits. Maybe the hilarious dubbing, sometimes more confused than a real couple's conversation, keeps us from recognizing The Game's more routine elements. Whatever the case, this is still a Recommended title, especially for those who like their femmes foreign and their men mediocre in the ways of XXX love. Couples will find nothing offensive in this lavishly staged, if laughably presented, slice of sensuality. As a result, a Cohabitation Certification is easily awarded. If you're hoping that The Game delivers the kind of balls to the wall Euro-trash tool time that you've come to know and love from the Continental crowd, one look here will dash all you erotic expectations. If you're willing to give it a go, however, you'll be rewarded with some interesting sex, and some sublimely silly voice work.

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