Note: The following review is for the HD-DVD upgraded version of Operation Desert Stormy from Wicked Pictures. The only upgraded part is the movie itself (the extras were left on standard definition discs) but as an added incentive, a copy of the company’s 2008 promotional disc was included (produced on 12/26/2007) in the now-four disc set. I’d rather the entire production be released in the higher definition format but given the marginal improvements it provided, I can appreciate why few would argue with the business decision. The quick version of the review (which is largely based on the SD review since little was changed) is that there were still some minor nuisances visually and the audio, while better, was not much better as the HD format would allow for. Wicked Pictures has not really embraced the HD format and recent developments in the format war lead me to believe that it will probably join most other companies with occasional Blu-Ray releases but sales are not good enough to justify really pushing titles in the newer formats so until that changes, the selected few will likely be the blockbusters so many of us enjoy. My sources also lead me to believe that this title was shot in 720p to be up converted to 1080p so it was probably never going to be the stunning flagship title it could have been (either that or the mastering was rushed).
Cast: Stormy Daniels, Randy Spears, Jenna Haze, Steven St. Croix, Kaylani Lei, Lorena Sanchez, Nakita Kash, Roxy DeVille, Voodoo, Eva Angelina, Veronica Rayne, Austin Kincaid, Audrey Bitoni, Marcus London, Tony DeSergio, Melissa Lauren, Tommy Gunn
Non-sex roles: Ron Jeremy, Tory Lane, Derrick Pierce, Al, Derwood, Tee Reel, Ric Rodney, Michael Anthony, Yoli/Esmeralda, Steve Rodgers, James Montgomery, Tristan Lee, Brad Williams, Ethan Cage, Seymour Satin, LuLu, Jay Bird, Deborah Jay, Bob Saldana, Ed Lazar, Norman L. Blackman, Aido Cruz, James Cousar, John Amsterdam, Scott Butler, Martina, Steve Villegas, Maurice Fontaine, Ruddy Bravo, John Papers, Dimonico, Otto Maddox, Danika Manin, Kim Mays, Evan Stone, Munch Daniels, others not credited
Length: 180:20 minutes
Date of Production: 5/1/2007
I really like the Brickhouse Betty animated extras!
Extras: With three full discs of material, this is one of the most extras laden titles to ever hit the street so here goes at providing you an overview of what you can expect on the actual consumer version of the triple disc set (ie: none of the press packets, handouts from the recent party, or other items that are not included in the version available for sale will be mentioned). Disc One had the lengthy movie itself so extensive extras were not expected. There was a trailer for Black Widow by Michael Raven and another trailer for Coming Home by Brad Armstrong to start things off. The only other extra here was an audio commentary by Stormy Daniels and Steven St. Croix, the two skimming over the details as they discussed a number of things that delayed or altered the production of the movie, personal anecdotes about the company and movie in general. Stormy was upbeat and made it a point to emphasize her role in making the movie, using the resources and talented technically gifted people to augment her "vision" but as far as commentaries go, there was an awful lot of dead space this time; making me wish one of the technical staff was included to flesh out the discussion (it was almost as if Steven saw it for the first time and Stormy was seeking his approval without forcing it). Oh, and the DVD was a fold out book styled case with a heavy cardboard container for those who care (it was nicely done).
The second disc was full of the kind of extras we have all expected from the company in their top titles over the years. Broken into three main sections of Intel, Strategic, and Visuals, the DVD started off with a
Behind the Scenes feature lasting 42:39 minutes as shot by Mark Stone, Jax, and Voodoo (editing by Jef). I've seen works by all three of these men and each provided a slightly different take on the kinds of footage to provide so the end result was really better than usual. From the interviews interspersed into the entire production to Jonathan Morgan shooting scenes as Assistant Director to Steven St. Croix molesting Francois Clousot, to Randy showing his lack of musical skills, to lots of sex clips and a finishing touch by Ron Jeremy; I found this to be one of the best BTS releases of the season. This was followed by a Brickhouse Betty cartoon courtesy of the Rum Runners (any relation to Jim Holliday's old band?) in the form of Operation: Desert Slappy where Stormy and Betty infiltrate the evil lair of a madman and get caught; being forced to have sex. It was very cute and led to a 15:14 minute long series of interviews with the Harem Girls (Roxy, Veronica, Austin, and Audrey) by Jonathan Morgan. Then there was a 2:07 minute clip of Stormy and Steven in the sound studio titled ADR on ODS (Stormy making sound effects and claiming how good she was). That was followed by a Blooper Reel lasting 3:56 minutes; mostly flubbed lines but some physical comedy as well. There was then a 6:17 minute long series of auditions by Jonathan Morgan as a variety of men and women were shown doing cold readings of the material with some prompting by Jonathan.
The Strategic portion of the second disc was interesting too, beginning with a 5:45 minute long Briefing where some of the main actors went over Stormy's script with her as Jonathan taped the meeting and interjected from time to time from the head of the table. There was then a 5:02 minute long clip called Kick Ass at Stormy's place as the leads learned some fighting moves. Then there was a 3:23 minute short of Stormy learning her dance moves called Tango Time as Felix Chavez helped her and Randy learn their parts. Then there was a 4:54 minute long feature called Coordinates where Stormy showed off some of the settings from the movie, a 58 second box cover shoot, a 3:37 minute feature called Spy Tips by Tony DeSergio sharing tips of how to be a better spy using clips from the movie, and a series of short profiles on the lead characters. The Visuals section then had 25 photogalleries (including star galleries, separate galleries for the sex scenes, a BTS and general photogallery too. That was a LOT of extras!
The Tango sequence between Stormy and Randy.
The Third disc was labeled More Top Secret Stuff, with the heading as The Ugly on the main menu screen where the disc was broken up into three sections; Lexicon, Essentials, and Unclassified. The Lexicon section was broken down into two interviews; a 13:47 minute long interview with Stormy where she claimed that she got the idea for the movie from the success of Camp Cuddly Pines and Space Nuts as well as how it cost about $250,000 to make. There were many problems but she found it to be a great experience thanks in large part to the assistance received by all the resources at Wicked Pictures behind her. Steven's interview lasted 9:02 minutes and he mugged a bit but kept it on track (alluding to Pirates spending more money on special effects but this being a bigger flick otherwise). For the record, both interviews were conducted by Mark Stone. That was followed by a 4:06 minute long feature where Ron Jeremy gave advice; the comedy being how poorly it worked when he tried his mack daddy lines on the harem gals from the show. This was followed by the related Ron Cam lasting 5:12 minute as he shot additional footage of Lorena Sanchez having a swell lesbian experience with Nakita Kash before his battery ran out.
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The Essentials portion of the disc was probably the part that most of you were hoping for since it involved additional sex footage; broken into three subsections of Deleted, Bonus, and Stormy's Favorite sex scenes. The deleted scenes had a 7:27 minute scene between Nicole Sheridan and Derrick Pierce in a dark office while the second scene was Tory lane bumping uglies with Voodoo for 12:20 minutes in the throne room. Tory did anal and was a better ride overall; the scene looked too smoky but substantially better than the other scene. The bonus scenes had nothing to do with this release, one being a scene between Kaylani and Chris Cannon from Candelabra and the other being from Black Widow between Carmel Moore and Randy Spears. Stormy's favorites started off with her taking a tour of the warehouse; her favorite boy/girl scene of all time being from The One (a scene I liked too I might add as it opened the movie with one of her best performances in a long time); one from Sleeping Around between Stormy and Randy Spears; and What's A Girl Gotta Do? with her and Steven St. Croix (her first time working with him). The entire bit lasted 36:53 minutes. The final section included the usual DVD ROM content, spam, the 2007 Promo Reel, and trailers to Operation: Desert Stormy, Coming Home, Black Widow, Melt, Delilah, The Predator, Last Night, The One, The Muse, and Just Between Us.
Married for six (seven!) years, guess how they get along?
Audio/Video Quality: Operation: Desert Stormy HD was presented in the usual 1.78:1 ratio widescreen color as shot by director Stormy Daniels for Wicked Pictures (with the help of Jonathan Morgan, Randy Spears, and a horde of other technically skilled helpers/assistants/crew; five, maybe six of them known as directors themselves) to now be released in 1080p using the VC-1 codec. The composition of the shots was largely handled properly to make the ladies look their best under adverse circumstances, the bit rate tended to hover around the lower end of the HD Mbps mark so I saw some compression artifacts, some aliasing and the grain during the night scenes looked weaker than average but it was still a decent effort on the technical side of things even if it did not live up to some of the more recent releases made for far less by the company (at least forgoing the artistic route this time). The HD resolution did indeed add more detail to the mix though and folks with an HD player might seriously want to investigate this one thanks to the amount of fun and extras the set had. The audio was presented with two choices, the primary one being a 5.1 Dolby Digital+ Surround English track that balanced the vocals and music nicely. There was also a 2.0 Dolby Digital track in Spanish available for those who care but the fact is that the dubbing seemed as bad as ever to me. Otherwise, the audio on the primary track seemed to be another step in the right direction for Wicked Pictures, even though the vocals were a bit hollow and seemed to be slightly out of synchronization at times. Still, the music was well done and the overall quality of the audio was significantly better than average as well thanks in no small part to the track being handled by The Surround Factory and the theme song by Mark Stone.
Ron Jeremy's role was too small and Voodoo's character was best used in bed.
Body of Review: Stormy Daniels is best known as the female contract performer turned director at Wicked Pictures. Her movies to date have shown a lot of promise, running the gamut between light comedies and darker dramas, but often fall short of the mark as though rushed and held to too tight of a budget. Well, after over a year of whining, pouting, begging, and using a whole lot of other means of persuasion, she was finally given the green light for one of the most expensive movies of the year (reportedly a quarter of a million bucks) in Operation: Desert Stormy HD. In it, Stormy plays an administrative assistant at the CIA who is married to a hapless agent played by Steven St. Croix, who is thrust into a mission to save her boss from the clutches of evil dictator Hussein played by Ron Jeremy in another (thankfully) non-sex role. The back cover said it like this: "As one of the largest productions to date, this Wicked Pictures' blockbuster has it all! Action...Romance...Drama...Suspense...and even a little big of Comedy! Okay, a whole lot of comedy! Join award winning writer/director Stormy Daniels as she leads you on a wild and hilarious adventure. With the head of the CIA (Randy Spears) presumed dead and word of an impending terrorist attack lead by the evil Hussein (Ron Jeremy), the fate of the world rests in the hands of two unlikely and extremely unskilled heroes. Does a secretary (Stormy Daniels) and her wannabe agent husband (Steven St. Croix) have what it takes to put aside their numerous marital issues and travel overseas to put an end to Hussein's quest for total world domination...and his ridiculous get rich quick ideas? With the help of two no-nonsense British agents Jacks and Watson, some beautiful and horny harem girls and one ornery camel, the "heroes" embark on a sex-crazed and explosion-filled expedition into hostile territory. Will Operation: Desert Stormy be a success and our "heroes" save the world or will we all be wearing turbans?" This being one of the most anticipated movies of the year; I was certainly psyched when the quadruple disc title came in for review the other day, the wealth of extras taking longer to watch than the three hour movie itself. Is it any wonder the movie merited inclusion on our 2007 Top Porn List? If you're still interested, here's a brief look at the short sex scenes, noting that condoms were used in all scenes where men engaged the ladies:
Scene One: Stormy Daniels, the busty babe on the front cover, was up first after dancing the tango with stately Randy Spears. The two are celebrating her newfound status as an agent in bed, Randy spending some quality time on her body using his oral skills; savoring the taste of her titties and cookie, the pair actively boning when she got on top of him. I missed her giving him a hummer but my patience was rewarded when she ended the scene by draining him dry of population pudding and swallowing his load; the short scene showing some chemistry but hardy had enough going for it to open a blockbuster such as this.
Kubrick is spinning in his grave as I type this.
Scene Two: Jenna Haze, a cutie with a lengthy career on both extremes of the spectrum (lesbian-only to hardcore gonzo anal princess), was up next as a scientific weapons, gadget siren type, showing agent Steven St. Croix the latest virtual reality technology that included her in a naughty aqua nightie that showed off her curves as she ravished his body. They pawed each other through their clothing in this simulation, the thumping soundtrack was a chore but she gave a far better blowjob than Stormy had in the previous scene; making me wonder why his sex starved character didn't pop before her lips ever wrapped around his modest member. Still, she was the same as ever, pushing back on his cock during the vaginal sex and making those moans of hers, the picture deliberately made to emulate that of a computer screen as they worked it to the bone. She was also active during the anal ride, her dirty talk providing a much more satisfying experience even with the condom being used, Steven eventually rubbing out a modest load that oozed from the head of his cock as she licked him clean. For a feature fuck, this was actually pretty solid!
Scene Three: Kaylani Lei, the only straight chick at a gay/lesbian/transgender luau, was up next with clueless Randy Spears; the man having been hit on and eyed by a bunch of the mean in the sausage fest gathering. Impressing her with his preference for women, the colorfully clad guy used some really weak lines before she dropped to her knees to give a mechanical blowjob; leading to her gyrating her hips as she slowly rode his cock. There were only a couple of positions and a pop shot to her ass cheek, the short scene more in line with the first one as a couples scene in a feature movie (okay for Kaylani's fans more than anything).
Tommy Gunn traded in his Pirate costume for another villainous role.
Scene Four: Lorena Sanchez and Nakita Kash, both playing harem girls (complete with veils), were up next in a lesbian scene in front of Ron Jeremy (who was taping them with a camcorder). The gals licked and caressed each other but the majority of the fairly short scene included penetration of pussy and ass with a clear dildo (plastic or glass, I couldn't say for sure). Considering this had followed a lengthy dialogue sequence, I had hoped for more, reminding me that the pacing could have been better.
Scene Five: Roxy DeVille, playing another harem girl in a luxurious bedroom suite at night, was up next with Voodoo; the guy playing an Aunt Jemima type effeminate stooge for Hussein. Roxy looking the part fairly well here thanks to her make up and seductively good exotic look, started working the meat pipe orally with the help of her hand for added friction. He did not reciprocate and went to boning the beauty instead, the darkened room helping to conceal the condom a bit as they bumped uglies. She was an active rider and moaned porn style a lot, fueling his ego rather than employing dirty talk as he gave her the dicking she desired. As the scene progressed, he gave her a lick or two but the best part was when she pushed back on his rod in the doggy position as the Middle Eastern flavored music played. The scene ended when she actively worked out his load on the bed using her hand and mouth.
The worst training sequence in porn, though done to a soundtrack that sounded very familiar (Eye of the Tiger knockoff)
Scene Six: Eva Angelina, Veronica Rayne, Austin Kinkaid, Audrey Bitoni, Marcus London, and Tony DeSergio, were up next in a harem orgy after the men stumbled upon the gals in need of rescue from their captor. The men were going to leave so the ladies demanded some satisfaction first, beginning with the ladies blowing the men and giving themselves some quality riding time on cock and face alike. The ladies drained the men efficiently and quickly (a titty pop and a mouth pop with cumswapping), making wish for a little less dialogue to accommodate lengthier sex scenes.
Virtual reality will open up a whole new wave of clown porn.
Scene Seven: Melissa Lauren, playing a virtual reality computer simulation, was up next as Tommy Gunn cycled through different settings (cheerleader, nurse, clown, and dominatrix), to find one he liked. He ended up going down on her, spending time on her ass and biscuit while squeezing her tits, before her truncated blowjob led to an active vaginal ride. The sex was edited into the plot portion of the movie and the clunky transitional device was used between her move from vaginal to anal sex (where she slowed down a lot as a result), her sweaty body receiving his load to her mouth before the scene faded out.
There was even a skydiving sequence, though it made little sense.
Scene Eight: Stormy Daniels, back in bed with Steven St. Croix, closed out the movie with one last screw. They orally worked each other over for a short bit and then started vaginally screwing, him holding her throat at one point for those that don't like choking in any form, but the biggest problem with the scene was how passive she was sexually; forcing him to do almost all of the work as she gave generic comments about how good it was. He busted a nut on her abdomen and the credits rolled quickly.
That's going to leave a mark!
Bonus Scenes from the Fourth Disc included in the HD package:
Scene One: Black Widow: Stormy Daniels, the curvy hotty on the front DVD cover with the knife, was up first in a scene with perennial favorite Randy Spears in the bedroom. She was the femme fatale wearing a loose fitting polka dotted dark dress and he was the businessman wanting some play from his sweetie. She undressed him and while at no point did I think she looked even close to 20 years old, she slowly savored the moment as she built up some sexual tension nicely. The Stormy corkscrew handjob during her hummer was hot and I can safely say that her oral skills have long been among my favorite at the company, Randy's sweaty brow providing enough evidence of the way it felt too. His oral was truncated so she did not get as much fun before they screwed vaginally in several positions but they did manage once again to display some energy and chemistry that is lacking in feature porn all too often. There was some porn overacting during the sex but the artistic manner in which it was shot really did lend itself to the comments on the commentary track about a sensuous look. He busted a nut of population pudding on her chest to close it up and while I wished it lasted longer, it fit the story elements well.
Scene Two: Candelabra: The scene opens to Chris and Kaylani sitting at the dinner table with her blowing out the candles on her birthday cake. Chris gives her his birthday gift. The slow romantic moving seduction ends up in the bedroom with Kaylani wearing the argyle thigh high stockings. The both go to town on the other giving and receiving oral, then she rides him CG with Chris then flipping her over for some missionary ending the scene giving her a facial. (by Ravyn)
Scene Three: Coming Home: Kirsten Price, wearing a green shirt and blue jean shorts, was up next by the lake with real life partner Barrett Blade; the two having decided to consummate their burgeoning relationship as she came to terms with her loss. It was a slower, more seductive scene than the previous bouts of boning, catering to the plot dynamics better than a mechanical bit of screwing would have provided. I almost always sense real chemistry between these two in their scenes, their real relationship adding the spice needed to make it come across as true to their characters. The hummer and other oral tricks seemed heated with the passionate vaginal screwing completing the action before the obligatory abdomen pop shot. Whew!
Scene Four: The Craving: Jessica Drake, playing a princess or forest nymph traveling down a winding path; surrounded by nature’s creatures (per the narration). She stumbled across a talking frog, well he talked to her at least since all the audience heard was some fake frog noises, and after kissing him, he turned into Chris Cannon; complete in costumed attire. He asked her how he could pay her back and she whispered in his ear; presumably saying something about doing it froggy style as they were all over each other after that. He went down on her and she blew him to completion for a facial, the scene ending too quickly. That would have been it except that she continued on her way, finding a series of other cursed frogs asking for a kiss; the lady refusing to turn them down as she blew Joey Ray next. This was a really quick scene (a few minutes and he was popping a nut) and she was approached by one last frog to kiss; the magic not working as Marcus London walked up on the crazy women to inquire what her problem was. They kissed, she blew him to a facial after a couple of minutes, and she walked away with the guy to a slightly ominous ending in cliffhanger fashion.
Scene Five: Just Between Us: Carmen Hart, the hottest honey at the party, was up next in the bathroom with Brad Armstrong after he made his move on her. This act set the stage for the story's infidelity theme, the chemistry between the couple decidedly more out in the open than the smoldering flames from the first scene. She just couldn't help herself so after a gimmicky halt to the space time continuum, she dropped to her knees to blow Bard; savoring the taste of his cock with the rush of the cheating and possibility of getting caught by Randy. She aggressively blew him and it ended too soon when he started throatfucking her to completion, his wad hitting her face in no time at all. As a change of pace, I appreciated the lack of a full scene only because of how skillfully she drained him dry.
Summary: Operation: Desert Stormy HD by director Stormy Daniels for Wicked Pictures might be best described as a pornified version of Mr. & Mrs. Smith Meets True Lies handled in the spirit of Camp Cuddly Pines and Space Nuts. The pacing was off, the sex scenes too short, and the story much like any of Stormy's other movies knocked out in record time (she claimed to write it in two days without sleep so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and take her word for it) but as a cute comedy, it worked out fairly well. It wasn't designed to compete with the variety of gonzo flicks available, nor was it trying to employ the same type of appealing dramatic elements Wicked's lead director uses so well, but the movie provided many of the same types of laughs their over the top comedies have employed in the past, if relying more on Steven's adlibbing than anything else (I agree with Stormy that he earned every penny of his salary). It might not be the best feature of the season, nor the funniest comedy, but the extras package and attempt to make a blockbuster based largely on the appeal of Stormy's looks & Steven's comedic skills was worthy of being Highly Recommended for those of you wanting some light hearted entertainment. In short, Operation: Desert Stormy HD was fun, full of porn acting, and I wished that a director's cut from the "over four hours and ten sex scenes" was released for this HD-DVD version but perhaps it will be a double dip in Blu-Ray should Wicked join the rest of the industry in the near future. It was no Coming Home or Not the Bradys but it had some merits worth checking out.
Note on directing credits: Stormy claimed that when she knocked out the 84+ page script in two days that she had "no intention of directing it" but was unable to find anyone that would do things her way. Given the expense and size of the project, the movie had a few others covering the majority of technical aspects; Mark Nicholson producing it, experienced blockbuster comedy director Jonathan Morgan initially seeming to helm the project before being replaced by Randy Spears and then relegated to editing duties alone, Mike Moz on art direction, and Michael Raven & Francois Clousot working the camera (talk about "many cooks..."). Having listened to the commentary, watched the extras, and seen the entire movie, I think it is fair to say that Stormy fulfilled her credited duties and the results laid at her feet. I just wonder what she'll do as a follow-up.
As a side note, I spoke with Stormy last month during a small dinner party thrown by another company and she told me she appreciated my comments regarding her as the driving force behind the movie as well as being at the helm since she had received a lot of flack from others on the topic. That she had to scream, cry, pout, throw things, and do a whole lot more to get a project of this scope and size made would make for a book but even those she thought were causing her grief told me that it was “Stormy’s baby all the way”.
---- 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