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Mobster's Ball (HD-DVD) (HD DVD)

Studio: Wicked Pictures » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 8/1/07

XCritic's Advice: Highly Recommended

Note: This review is for the newly released HD DVD version of Mobster's Ball by Wicked Pictures. The movie itself has not been altered and unlike all previous HD DVD offerings, it was mastered in 1080p, not the lower resolution 720p that was a step up but not the best it could be. Most of the changes in the review reflect the technical aspects and the changes in extras this version provided, the double dip being worth a Highly Recommended to me largely because it showcased yet again why higher definition versions can add to the fun if you have a large TV or use a projector. If you're still watching an older TV and aren't hooked up to a decent home theatre, the upgrade will not make sense for you but most consumers seem to be making the leap forward so you might want to give this one a look. In the coming year, I expect to see titles like Operation Desert Stormy, Coming Home, and other highly anticipated new releases to blow these re-masters away but until that time, this was a fine example of what is available to show the worthiness of porn on the high end so give it a look. I still think that high definition porn will not decide the format wars currently underway but consumers should appreciate that some companies are willing to develop the market for them and just as every new entertainment format has had smut available (be it slide shows, 8 mm projectors, U-Matic tapes, Beta/VHS, and dozens of others over the years), all the meddling by Sony and Toshiba can't keep fans from finding what they want to see; regardless of the format involved.

Mobster's Ball HD-DVD

Wicked Pictures

Genre: Vignette

Director: Brad Armstrong

Cast: Jessica Drake, Jasmine Byrne, Brad Armstrong, Carmen Hart, Jenaveve Jolie, Tommy Gunn, Angel Cassidy, Eric Masterson, Jada Fire, Ginger Rocs/Lea, Brian Pumper, Steven St. Croix, Tory Lane, Cherokee, Mia Smiles, Marco Banderas/Duato, Randy Spears, Brooke Haven, Chris Cannon

Length: 125 minutes

Date of Production: 8/14/2006

Extra's: For many of you, the best extras will be the two bonus scenes described below; one from The House Sitter starring the lovely Jessica Drake and the other from 1000 Words with cutie Carmen Hart. Together, they total over 30 minutes of additional sex material so while I like newly shot stuff, they looked and sounded superior in their newly minted HD versions. I like new extras that are geared towards the release in hand so I enjoyed the 19:47 minute long Behind the Scene feature by talented Mark Stone more but I prefer unique extras in my movies more than most. There was more sex, nudity, and short interviews as Mark meandered around the sets of the flick, talking with cast and crew, spending a lot of time getting the inside scoop from director Brad. This appeared to be the same BTS as the one from the original release and was not upgraded so your mileage may vary as to how good it looked compared to the feature though. There was also a whole minute of bloopers from the multi-day shoot and the 2007 Promotional Reel, with a cardboard protective sleeve on the DVD case and a double sided cover for those who care. In general then, the extras were upgraded but offered a different package than the SD version.

Condoms: Yes

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Audio/Video Quality: Mobster's Ball HD-DVD was presented in the usual 1.78:1 aspect ratio widescreen color as shot by director Brad Armstrong for Wicked Pictures. This version was remastered in 1080p using the VC-1 codec that makes it the latest such offering in the limited market; most previous HD DVD titles coming out in the lower resolution 720p instead. What this means for those of you with TV's smaller than about 50" is that it won't matter but if you have a larger set or even a projector, the quality of the picture truly shines by comparison. The SD version of the movie, when blown up to a 60" size on my new TV set, amplifies all the visual imperfections a lot, making me prefer to see it on an old fashioned TV instead. The HD DVD version had the expected increase in resolution, detail, and ability to handle the many darker scenes without looking like crud. While this was nothing compared to what a newly shot title should look like if properly handled in the new format, it was a nice leap forward and probably the best looking HD title I've seen from a porno, surpassing even the recently remastered Camp Cuddly Pines Powertool Massacre HD DVD release. If the additional resolution is only 20 to 25% increased on a high end title like this one, it is worth getting for those of us wanting to watch porn on something beside our computers in one of the new formats. The audio was presented with two choices, the primary one being a 5.1 Dolby Digital + English track that balanced the vocals and music nicely or a 2.0 Spanish language track with dubbing that wasn't exactly the best thing I've heard of late. If Wicked Pictures ever starts paying significantly more attention to making true 5.1 tracks (instead of the channels remixed off of 2.0 vocals and music scores), I hope they show the rest of the industry how it's done to lead the way in advances yet again. This time, the vocals were clear, the special effects nicely synchronized up to the visuals, and the music a pleasant change of pace as it added to the atmosphere of the erotic vignettes comprising the movie.

Body of Review: Brad Armstrong has long been a major part of the success story known as Wicked Pictures. Despite those in the industry that complain about all of his advantages, the bottom line is that he focuses on high end projects that are supported by the company and fans alike; typically resulting in a level of porn far more interesting as something other than merely stroke material. His latest title is Mobster's Ball HD-DVD, a series of scenes that employ a similar look as the award winning Fuck; dispensing with most dialogue and plot to allow for a fusion of Brad's usual hits with his vignette driven titles some fans like even more. The cast was such that between the contract beauties like Jessica Drake and Carmen Hart and the outside hotties added in for well needed diversity, I didn't think he could miss. As the cover put it: "Mob hits. Bank robbers. The Cotton Club. These are just a few of the things that say 1930's. Award winning director Brad Armstrong gives us a tantalizing, sensual and erotic glimpse of this time gone by. Anal, three-ways, orgies, you name it, they're all here. Take a trip down memory lane with this all-star cast and get off like never before!" If you enjoy the warmth generated by talented performers having a good time as shot by a skilled director, you will like this one a whole lot. Here's a brief look at the scenes, noting that condoms were used, as always:

Scene One: Jessica Drake, the hotty contract star on the far right of the front cover, Jasmine Byrne, the sultry Latina seen as the second gal from the left, and director Brad Armstrong, were up in the first scene testing our their firepower (in the form of their guns) in a hideout garage in front of their classic car (something out of a Bonnie & Clyde era flick). The dark room had the gals going at one another in their manly mobster suits, Brad joining in to assist Jasmine with fingering Jessica. The taste testing off the fingers aside, the sweaty antics of the ladies was dominant at first before the gals slobbed his knob in tag team fashion. They did a few positions and the music changed from something one would have expected out of a speakeasy into something more contemporary as the PTM and vaginal screwing continued. All three of them had some chemistry together and the energy levels were higher than average for the company thanks to the way all three came across as wanting to work together. Fans of dirty talk will be a bit disappointed since most of the vocals were groans and words like "oh yeah!" but it was an active ride and a solid way to start the couples oriented fuck flick. They even did some anal before he blasted a load of spew on their faces, Jasmine taking the majority of it with some cumswapping too. While not gonzo style in nature, it still offered plenty of heat.

Scene Two: Carmen Hart, the gun moll gal on the left side of the front cover, and sexy Jenaveve Jolie, finished robbing a bank as tied up Tommy Gunn sat passively by. They were all dressed in suits but not for long as the ladies decided to give him something for his cooperation, starting with a sweet hummer and kiss. Jenaveve took the rod first in her mouth, aggressively working it over with her usual style of oral heaven but Carmen got some too when Jenaveve moved to some face sitting on Tommy before actively impaling her pussy on his cock. Carmen got some too as he tapped her from behind, each gal staying involved with the sex rather than sitting to wait for their turn. Carmen took the facial and mouth load of population pudding, swapping it with Jenaveve as they kissed to a frothy finish. Like the last scene, the music worked well here, I just wanted a bit more nasty vocals tossed in than were provided.

Scene Three: Angel Cassidy, a busty blonde with a few years on most of the cast, was up next as a counterfeiter in a rundown brick setting as hired hand Eric Masterson helped scratch her itch with his dick. The lighting was interesting this time too, not providing as much texture as the last two scenes but serving more like a sepia toned photograph in motion as she actively rode his penis. The emphasis was clearly on the penetration this time and she really embraced the concept as she worked him over in several positions. The vocals were minimal and the musical score just loud enough to bug me slightly, but it was the fact that he jerked off the load to her face that was my issue here as I wanted her to do it. Otherwise, it was a solid scene thanks to how aggressively she pounded herself onto him.

Scene Four: Jada Fire, a curvy black hotty playing a lounge singer at the famed Cotton Club, was joined by cutie Ginger Lea; with Brian Pumper and Steven St. Croix filling out the cast of this interracial fuck. Initially, the couples stuck with their same race but the Jungle Fever kicked in to make the oral and vaginal action a bit more diversified than some seem to think Wicked being capable of. It was largely a slow ride, something I rarely see Jada partake in so it added something special for this fan, with Ginger impaling herself soundly as if to show a thematic ebony & ivory mix completely opposite from the roles the ladies typically embrace. The facials were okay and the scene added some warmth as well as cultural diversity to the show.

Scene Five: Tory Lane, the brunette seen on the cover standing beside Jessica (second from the right), was up next with Brad Armstrong as a couple of illegal still operators (moonshiners for you Dukes of Hazzard fans), serving the growing demands of folks needing to drink alcohol during Prohibition. Handling their liquid product outside of a crappy shack in the barren hills, the heavily dressed duo saw fit to make out while sampling their wares. Tory is another gal that really cranks up the heat in her scenes and despite a relative lack of vocals going on, the upbeat tempo of the music and way the couple went at one another served to enhance the scene more than a little bit. A lot of time was spent by Brad as he went down on her while fingering her ass, the gal rewarding him with a sloppy blowjob as she dropped to her knees. While she only did a couple of vaginal positions before the limited anal action, they were actively done and his load to her face was enough to give her satisfaction. This would have been a good scene for an extended director cut, much like a few others in the flick.

Scene Six: Cherokee, Mia Smiles, Marco Banderas/Duato, and Randy Spears, were up next as they hung out in the hide out, playing pool and cards in the darkened criminal lair. Given the opportunities to have other kinds of fun, they soon found themselves stripping off their extensive clothing (like the other scenes, the gals weren't parading around in lingerie barely qualifying as band aid sized apparel) to have some oral fun. Mia seemed to get the most screen time up close, a shame for a Cherokee fan like myself, but each gal gave head like the kind you wish your girlfriend did without the expectations that go with it. The scene continued to provide some quality boning as the ladies actively worked the cocks vaginally, showing some level of involvement with the men that I tend to call chemistry, superior acting ability, or other descriptive adjectives with some passion tossed in for good measure. The scene ended with the gals swapping the semen tossed so casually onto their faces and into their mouths, showing as much sexual skill as any of the other scenes as a result.

Scene Seven: Brooke Haven, playing a notorious female criminal that the law caught up with, found herself in jail behind bars with Randy Spears and Chris Cannon serving as her gun toting guards. While her specialty was loan sharking, she also displayed a keen insight into the human male mind as she seductively engaged them through the bars enough to encourage them to want a closer look. Like the other scenes, she blew and rode them very nicely, never letting up as she did so to their delight. Brooke is a talented gal that needn't rely on looks from my experience and her skills were in super form as she showed why she was picked to close out the action of the movie. The music was less prominent here and she did give up some dirty talk before giving up her ass to them so playfully. They rubbed out loads to her face and the movie was finished on another high note.

Bonus Scene One: The House Sitter: Jessica Drake, Jenaveve Jolie, Lauren Phoenix, Kelly Wells, Derrick Pierce, Kris Knight, and Barrett Blade, were up next in a big orgy scene that allowed the partners to freely roam about and spent some quality time with the partners they most wanted to be with. Contrast this to the majority of such scenes where the specific partners are locked in early and not allowed to stray to understand why I found it appealing. The ladies were all well suited for the scene and Jessica looked great as did Jenaveve. Rather than play out a virtual sex script, they seemed to carry on in a natural progression, doing a lot of oral before boning like crazy. The camera roved about in order to capture it all down but aside from wishing there had been another camera angle or two that remained static, the penetrative portions of the scene just as well as the oral. The music here wasn't bad but the vocals had a lot going on that I wished was picked up better though this is a minor complaint. With lots of taste testing and the expected pop shots, it ended well enough.

Bonus Scene Two: 1000 Words: Carmen Hart in a stunning blue dress that enhanced her curves very nicely, and suited Randy Spears, were up last as they made it in bed. They did some decent, if not exceptional, oral on each other and the riding wasn't bad either as he pounded her pussy. The active riding she gave still looked hot as her ass cheeks rippled with each pulsating stroke but I could've done without the over use of close up shots employed here. The scene ended with him unleashing a very large load to her chest, with the stylish show going to credits after that.

Summary: Mobster's Ball HD-DVD by director Brad Armstrong for Wicked Pictures showed why fans come back to the company so often. While there was no circus act sex or the kind of entanglements best suited for drunken frat boys to goof on, the kind of stroke material here relied on the years of experience the cast and director brought to the scenes for fans that appreciate ladies willing to have sex on camera. Those of you preferring boyish teens that stare into the camera like a deer caught in the headlights, triple anal, or other acts that make people wince at how painful and nasty they look can go elsewhere while those wanting a title worthy of being Highly Recommended can pick up Mobster's Ball. The replay, strokability, and levels of fuck for the buck combined with some great new extras and technical care to make it this good so check it out. As predicted earlier this year, the HD DVD releases by Wicked Pictures are among the best looking available for porn and while no one is arguing that they couldn't look and sound better, high end efforts like this one are nicely enhanced by the new format (and the bonus scenes processed in a similar manner also added value).

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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