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Fly Girls (Blu-Ray)

Studio: Digital Playground » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 3/8/10

XCritic's Advice: Recommended

Fly Girls (Blu-ray)

Digital Playground

Genre: Comedy

Director: Robby D.

Cast: Janie Summers, Evan Stone, Katsuni, Erik Everhard, Mick Blue, Jenna Haze, Scott Nails, Raven Alexis, Sasha Grey, Manuel Ferrara, Lisa Ann, Diamond Foxx, Nikki Benz, Ben English, Jesse Jane, Riley Steele, Marco Banderas
Non-sex roles: Frank Bukkwyd, Alanah Rae, Jayden Cole, Yurizan Beltran, Valerie Dior, Kaiser Sosay, Jamal Johnson, Brah Bones; all others uncredited

Length: 185:13 minutes

Date of Production: 9/5/2009

NOTE: Digital Playground has long been a company whose works I really liked, their contract starlets often displaying traits of gonzo gals mixed in with the contract girl dynamic, and their production values exceptionally high. In some ways, they have been an industry leader in terms of innovation too, jumping on the high definition bandwagon long before it was popular, and also propelling the Blu-ray format in porn despite what friends at distributors call "a lost cause" but forcing other companies to release movies in the format just "to keep up." In any case, some of my friendly acquaintances at the company have been asking why I am so down on their movies over the last year, suggesting that my reviews have been overly negative, emphasized problems all companies have with staffers, or even held them to an unfair standard compared to others. Frankly, I acknowledge the kernel of truth in some of their statements which is why I consciously limited how many of their titles I reviewed, subjected myself to some extensive peer analysis, and tried to figure out if I was indeed being unfair to them. Well, given that almost all of their movies are directed by the same guy, Robby D., and that his style has become very formulaic (things like the over use of close up shots, how he has yet to master the RED camera system, how the sex so often relies on the women being passive or fake porn screaming as if the decibel level equated to heat, to name a few), I think what has changed has been how he has largely moved away from movies displaying what I call "fun factor" in favor of erotic encounters of minimal stroke value, regardless of the name credited as director. The easy thing to do would be to continually sing their praises but I can't do that with a straight face. So, if you want an incredibly positive review of this movie, I guarantee you will find none as superbly detailed and supportive as the one recently written by my friend Dr. Jay, just consider my review as attempting to cover the basics and address the Blu-ray version.

Extras: As a premiere release from one of the biggest and best known companies in porn, I expected the movie to have a wealth of extras, the standard definition version of the flick being a double disc release, though the encoding of this high definition version jammed onto a single dual layer disc. Sadly, we had what I consider the bare bones minimum for a low end title, the photogallery, trailers, and 16:33 minute long Behind the Scenes feature hardly indicative of the company. I know that dedicated extras cost more to include and losing the double disc for the high definition version is a cost cutting measure some companies have been making of later but it is not at all standard operating procedure so unless you're happy with less, you will find this to be a surprisingly light set of extras. As a casual side note, the movie is rather lengthy, not compared to some of the heaping gonzo productions but compared to some of the comedy porn offered up by other companies, so those that hate extras might find this to their liking.

-- sponsored by --

Condoms: None

Audio/Video Quality: Fly Girls (Blu-ray) was presented in widescreen color as shot by director Robby D. for Digital Playground on the RED camera system. The AVC codec was used for the mastering process of the Blu-ray edition, the video bitrate hovering around the 11.3 Mbps mark when I spot checked it each time I watched the movie. The double disc standard version was reportedly only marginally weaker, the company deciding to jam the information on a single high definition disc rather than entail the added expense here. Okay, despite the press releases laden with company officials praising their equipment and movies, this flick had some serious visual issues, most relating to lighting or color tone. To me, the picture looked significantly muted or washed out, the generic reply of "it was set at night" not flying for me (forgive the pun). I've flown a lot at night and the planes did not look like this, nor did the security area look as it did, nor did the airports look even close to how the move presented it here. I'm not going to take the company to task for things like the CGI airplane wheels remaining still, nor am I going to bust nuts over the myriad of minor elements not quite right here, but once again the sex scenes were overloaded with extreme close up shots, the composition and framing weakening the appeal of them. I did see that the editing by talented Joey Pulgadas was as solid as ever, a cut above the rest as it were, but the grain and minor video noise were noticed as was the limited upgrade in detail in the 1080p flick. The audio was presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround with a sampling rate of 48 kHz and aural bitrate of 448 Kbps, the light score and ambient noises handled better than the vocals which were far to flat to come across as real. There appeared to be some dubbing taking place here and the positional headspace of the performers in terms of my speaker arrangement struck me as artificial, the vocals almost certainly recorded in 2.0 stereo to be mixed into the production during post. So, aurally speaking, the movie was slightly better than average even with so many average elements tossed in while the video was a slight upgrade over the standard definition version of the show.

Body of Review: Digital Playground has been on a roll in recent years due to their pirate movies and lead contract starlet, Jesse Jane; their vocational series of movies garnering some success as well. Every year, they make a couple of big budget titles to win awards, pulling out all the stops in order to compete with their peers across the world, typically successfully reeling in a lot of accolades in the process. Well, 2010 is here and they are starting off early with Fly Girls (Blu-ray) by director Robby D.. This time, there was more of an attempt at plot than usual, the title being their latest vocational movie using all of their current contract performers from the time it was shot, including Jesse Jane, Riley Steele, Katsuni, Janie Summers, and Raven Alexis while the others were MIA. The basic plot centers on a porn crew planning to shoot a porno on a plane without getting caught, a series of misunderstandings leading to humorous results. Despite some wooden acting and stale dialogue, the movie was fairly entertaining too, showing the ladies engaging in more enthusiastic sex than most productions at the company have allowed of late while still providing a coherent (if whimsical) plot. The look of the movie was frequently off but I appreciated the attempt to try something beyond the sitcum craze so popular today, even if it wasn't always on target. Here's a brief look at the scenes by cast and action, noting that no condoms were used for those still interested:

Scene One: Janie Summers, a cute blond formerly (and now currently) known as Heather Starlet, was up first as a horny passenger. She wanted to see the cockpit and was greeted by co-pilot Evan Stone, her blue jean shorts and loose top falling away as his hands ran over her body. He bit her nipples and she made the appropriate faces, the close up camera work weakening the scene for me substantially. She gave him a dry lap dance that became a bit more than that as her clothing was taken off, her thong riding up her ass crack before it was removed and she blew him. Janie is not known for her skills with a male and this was no different, the gal concentrating on the head of his cock during the hummer but giving a shallow titty fuck too (but I hate it when a gal tears up during a hummer because she is pushed too far, if I want to see that kind of thing, I go to JM Productions or Max Hardcore). She choked a bit but was soon actively riding his pecker vaginally, the sweat pouring down her from head to toe (a pleasant surprise from her previous works where she was passive). Evan bent her over to allow himself to take over, drilling her again-passive pussy until he rubbed one out into her mouth, her taste testing a few times helping the scene work better. The facial wasn't caught that well on video but whatever limitations Janie showed, this was one of her best scenes to date despite the lack of chemistry between the two.

Scene Two: Katsuni, a long time gonzo gal turned DP contract starlet, was up next as a frisky fraulein enticing studly Erik Everhard and Mick Blue into coming back to the flight attendant's station to get some loving. Her method of using a riding crop and dirty talk would probably work for most men (and women) so it wasn't surprising that she put them through the paces before allowing them to service her body. That led to an all too short set of hummers as she dropped to her knees to please them, soon alternating between the men as they boned her like they owned her, plenty of taste testing provided as well. This was another case where the lighting was below optimum, the likely comments about how airlines are lit falling on deaf ears since I travel enough to know what it looks like (and yes, even in the cockpit for those that care), Erik taking the lead to drill her fast & hard while Mick tried to get into her head. Katsuni was an active rider though, no surprise there, and just when she'd be doing her anal antics the scene ended, the men rubbing out wads of genetic juice to her face (though with some edited footage tossed in to distract).

Scene Three: Jenna Haze, one of the cutest young ladies in porn now for years, was up next with passenger Scott Nails, the man zoning to his music and catching some sleep as she gingerly removed his pants. His turgid member showed he was alive and she began sucking him into awareness, her talented tonsils surprising the lad when he finally snapped out of his slumber. He made no move to stop her (of course) and things soon progressed to a series of vaginal and anal pounding, both partners aggressively appreciating each other in what amounted to perhaps the very best the movie had to offer sexually. Her fishnet stockings, dirty talk, finely honed sexual skills, and pure desire to work with him elevated the dynamic substantially, their chemistry for one another making it real. Her love of anal made it better too, be it when she fingered herself or allowed him to do so, culminating in those picture perfect poundings of hers. The technical aspects were weaker than I wanted to see but if the rest of the scenes had been even close to as good as this one was, I would have agreed with my associate on how he rated the movie as a whole). In any case, they took ample time to savor the experience, making it well worth watching repeatedly, the cute gal swallowing his wealth of population pudding launched her way.

Scene Four: Raven Alexis, a sexy contract performer, and award winning Sasha Grey were up next in the airport security center in a three way with Manuel Ferrara. Raven was one of the security flunkies and they were the production crew apprehended before getting on the plane, formulating a way to escape when the head honcho left the trio together. This involved Sasha using her verbal skills to push Raven's libido into overdrive, the tryst one of the few where an actual buildup was employed rather than just "look at me, let's fuck" motif so common to the production. Raven started rubbing herself and the entrepreneurs took advantage of the situation, soon feeling her up and eating her out at length. For her part, Raven joined in and provided a better performance than I have seen from her at the company in the recent past, getting into both of her partners instead of just one. Sasha was warmer than usual too, her ice princess act thawing enough to strengthen the scene, Raven providing glimpses of her potential though not consistently at her best. The chemistry and rough edges actually worked pretty well here too as the ladies took his cock, though again not always actively riding it, the vaginal action solid at times. Of interest to me too was that Manuel once again was the lead of the scene for the majority of the action, driving both women to excess. Sadly, the scene ended with Manuel jerking off to their faces, Sasha's post coital head and cumswap to Raven not convincingly swallowed (the camera cut away before it was conclusive), the guy even skipping out on the promised anal with Sasha (she wanted it and he never delivered; epic fail!).

Scene Five: Lisa Ann, Diamond Foxx, Nikki Benz, and Ben English, were up next in a scene where the real flight attendants were at his mercy. The ladies had been captured before boarding, the porn crew making it first (which was highly unlikely given how late so many in the industry are for casting calls), and he treated them as though they were scum. His ability to be an uptight jerk during the acting was actually among the best played roles of the flick outside of Frank's pilot character and the ladies got fed up with his implying they were something they weren't. This in turn fueled the dynamic of the scene, the trio of ladies pissed off to the point where they jumped all over him orally and vaginally, Ben stepping up to the plate to alternate between each of the three. As far as who took the lead, it struck me that Lisa did most of the time, driving the others further as the scene progressed. Ben was hanging on most of the time, the ladies sitting on his face or pumping on his penis, my biggest complaint being the manner in which several positions were so passive. As far as the chemistry involved, there wasn't much to speak of but the near-grudge fuck aspect of the action was in keeping with the plot so it did manage to work well enough. The scene eventually ended when he jerked off to all three of the ladies' faces as they knelt in front of him, another wasted opportunity for the ladies to truly be full service but at least they shared his semen with a degree of enthusiasm.

Scene Six: Jesse Jane, the company superstar, up and coming babe Riley Steele, and studly Marco Banderas, were up last in a scene revolving around the conclusion of the dramatic portion of the flick. While Marco was amusing in his role as a janitor-turned-air traffic controller, the gals each portrayed their respective characters well enough for a porno (Jesse as the lead and Riley as the brain dead blond). They came to the tower to reward him for assisting in landing the plane, Jesse maintaining the role of the primary porn chick, showering him with love. The initial hummer showed the gals almost in a contest of who could be the best (Jesse by a landslide) with Jesse slobbing knob like the award winning champion of cock she has long been. Riley was cute and fluffy here, contributing but only as a sidebar by comparison, unable to inhale his pecker like Jesse had done. It came as no surprise that Jesse stole the limelight during the vaginal penetration positions too, pumping back to meet Marco's heated thrusts as well as gaze upon him in a lustful manner full of appreciation. Frankly, the limited amount of chemistry between the partners kept this one from standing out as a few others had previously but in terms of energy, Jesse is tough to match in most cases (and Riley will always be nice eye candy regardless of her performances abilities). The scene finished up with Marco beating off into their mouths but the editing once again truncated my ability to see a swallow (just making the gulping motion doesn't cut it with me).

Summary: Fly Girls (Blu-ray) by director Robby D. for Digital Playground is destined to win awards of all sorts, playing to a select audience as it did and comparing favorably to other feature titles in terms of the casting, chemistry, and sexual trysts explored on screen but besides lacking any substantive extras, the whole was not greater than the sum of its parts this time, making it a bit disjointed and lacking in terms of pacing so I rated it as a strong Recommended for fans of contract performers. I have no doubt that all sorts of folks will enjoy the movie for what it was more than what it should have been but in a declining market, I suspect there will be fewer of these types of projects coming around by the AVN Award deadline so it will win by default. This Blu-ray version was only a marginal upgrade though so you will have to make the call individually as to the value of the production in this format, most people likely to be satisfied with the standard definition version. In short, I learned all about Fly Girls from my friend Jay and his review elevated my expectations way too high but those of you growing tired of the hordes of lame ass sitcum parodies (at least the ones made by second and third tier directors) should find a lot to like given the levels of fuck for the buck and modest replay value so give it a chance and see whether or not it works for you. Oh, and for the record, Jenna Haze with Scott Nails made the best action with Riley Steele's scene with Jesse Jane and Marco Banderas stood out as the next best of the lot, followed by Raven Alexis and Sasha Grey taking on Manuel Ferrara. I would have appreciated the contract ladies getting at least two scenes each but this was more of an ensemble effort so I knew that wasn't going to happen going in, a shame but commonplace in terms of following a formulaic process.


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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