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The Rawhide 3-disc set proves that, even in the adult film industry, a nice package can only take you so far. The limited edition set comes in a fake leather pouch. Very creative. Unfortunately, the film, while looking great thanks to the high production value, is a little too slow (and long) for my taste. Couples looking for a more sensuous film should enjoy this one, but most others will likely find it too tame.
Despite it's creative packaging and marketing materials, Rawhide does not come close to an adult film I'd recommend for couples. The 3-DVD set packaging is creative and original, and the exclusive mini-mag that comes with the set looks more than promising, but the film itself is boring and way too long. While all the stars are tone and taught, the bad acting and unexciting sex scenes make this feature-length adult film a waste of time in my book.
It didn't take us long to figure out what was wrong with the sex in Rawhide: If you're going to have couple-friendly, slow, romantic sex, why feature anal sex? And if you're going to include anal sex, why not make the sex a little more wild and crazy? For me anyway, you can't have it both ways. That's not to say no couples like anal sex, but it definitely seems out of place here since the sex is a bit tame, with a slow, sensuous feel to it.
But I'm not saying the sex is bad in this film. On the contrary, some of it is rather nice. Without a doubt the best scene features Carmen Luvana and Keylani Lei. These girls kiss and caress one another in such a way that it's easy to imagine these two are romantically involved. Their lovemaking is indeed passionate. Although I've seen more exciting girl-girl scenes in the past year, I don't believe I've seen any as sensual.
There's plenty of sex to go around in this film that nearly reaches the 3 hour mark. One of the more interesting ones features some fun positions by Jesse V and Julian. She obviously enjoys performing oral sex, and he shows off his huge muscles by holding her in the air while she rides him…a move not many men can handle.
For the most part, each sex scene has some really good moments, but are sometimes a little slow getting warmed up. Personally, I think this is fine, but only if it varied from scene to scene. Watching one couple have wild, exciting sex, then seeing another having more slow passion would've been more appropriate, and for me, more fun.
While there is plenty of sex in this film, it lacks excitement and desire. It appears that director Nicholas Steele set out to produce a film full of slow, passionate lovemaking. For me, an adult film should not be all about passion and love. In an adult film, there should be lustful, naughty, forbidden sex, not romantic lovemaking between a man and a woman.
The anal sex in this film also seems out of place. With the unhurried pace of the movie and the drawn-out sex scenes, the first three couples end their lovemaking with anal sex, which simply doesn't work. Plus, there's no playful dialogue during the sex scenes in this film, just background music that becomes annoying. Because of this, the music takes away from the pleasure at hand.
If there is one saving grace to this film, it's the men. Sure, sure, what everyone really wants to know is how hot the women in this flick are. So first, let me put your mind at ease: They are all attractive and more than eager to please. That said, it's not often (if ever) that an adult film includes women AND men with spectacular bodies. There are no hairy backs, unruly mustaches, or pot bellies here; only big biceps, ripped stomachs, and strong, muscular legs. Thank you casting director!
Carmen Luvana is Bianca. Upon her father's death, she inherits a cattle ranch and all of the cowboys on hand. But the city girl doesn't know how to run a ranch, so she decides to sell it. This doesn't sit well with some of the cowboys. Lucky for her, Lee (Evan Stone) is there to help her, both with the ranch and with her sexuality.
Adam & Eve and Director Nicholas Steele obviously went to a lot of trouble and expense to make this film. The costumes alone set this movie apart from 99% of the adult films on the market. Plus the story is such that there's actually an attempt at character development. Bravo!
Unfortunately, this film could use a bit more editing. Not only are the lapses between sex scenes too long, the time between story elements is too long also. A number of times in this film a pretty landscape or a roaring fire fills the screen for too long, wasting valuable time. By cutting out some of these unnecessary images, and by trimming down some of the longer scenes, the story would've had a better flow and the sex, which is of paramount importance in adult films, would've had a stronger impact.
There was a story in this film? That's news to me. With so much lag time between scenes and dialog, the story was, in a word, boring. Too much time and film was wasted on pretty landscape scenes, characters dancing, and carriages riding off into the sunset. This slows the film down and makes the action (sex or otherwise) too sparse.
Adam & Eve presents Rawhide in 1.85 anamorphic widescreen and 2.0 stereo. The film was shot on digital video, and the image on the DVD looks very sharp. The one problem here is the lighting on the set. The crew chose to use mostly natural lighting, which works fine for some scenes, not so well for others. For bright, daylight scenes, the colors are bright and vibrant and really enhance the look of the film. However, shadows become a problem too often, as do the filters used on the cameras. More times than not, it's impossible to tell if the scene takes place in the morning, at night, or even at noon. Although this problem has little to do with the DVD, the issue still exists and makes it difficult not to notice.
The sound, although not digital surround, sounds pretty good. Sound effects such as chirping crickets can be heard from the left and right channels discreetly. Voices are generally crisp and clear also. The music sounds very nice, too, but I was disappointed that it masked the sounds of the lovemaking.
There's a fair amount of extra goodies on the three discs found in the fake leather pouch of the limited edition. Unfortunately, it's pretty much run-of-the-mill material. One disc one you'll find a scene specific commentary featuring director Nicholas Steele, who generally sticks to the technical aspects of the film shoot and discusses what it was like on the set. It's a pretty informative track, but the continuous praise for the film and each scene, whether it be the lighting, the costumes, or the setting, got a bit repetitious.
The second disc contains most of the extra features. First up are two bonus scenes. The first features Luvana playing solo as she promotes her Web site. It's a pretty nice scene, but ten minutes is a bit long. The other scene features St. Croix and Del Rio having fun on the set.
The next two featurettes are both behind-the-scenes material. One is a segment from the "Evan Stone Show," while the other is a longer look at the shooting of Rawhide. Both show just how much fun it is to be on the set of an adult film production, but neither share too much pertinent information.
Also on disc two, get to know Carmen Luvana in her interview, scroll through images from the film in the photo gallery, and laugh (occasionally) at the cast's blooper reel.
The third disc is a CD compilation of the music used in the film. Although I don't get into this country style of music, it is obviously well done, and for some, worth a listen.
Perhaps the coolest extra of the bunch is found on the center spread of the pamphlet tucked away in the pouch. If you're quick enough to pick up the limited edition packaging, you'll find an autographed photo of Luvana. Not a bad bonus if you ask me.
The special features included with the Rawhide DVD are typical. There are bloopers (not funny ones), photo galleries, a documentary, and commentary (where instead of getting to hear behind-the-scenes tidbits and fun stories, you get to listen to the director continuously praise his film). There's also something called the "Evan Stone Show," which, unless you're an unrelenting Evan Stone fan, is as boring as watching a 10-minute home video your cousin made. Lastly, there's an interview with the star of the film, Carmen Luvana. Personally, I found her gritty accent and ditzy personality rather annoying, but I'm sure most guys out there will enjoy watching Luvana answer questions about how she got into the business and how much she loves having sex.
There's a lot going for the 3-disc Rawhide set, but the nice limited edition packaging and the great production value can't make up for the film that is about 30 minutes too long with sex that is a little too timid. Couples who are trying out adult entertainment for the first time might enjoy this set, but the film's length and the large amount of time between sex scenes may become an issue. I say rent it.
With so much obvious effort and money put into the production of Rawhide, it's a shame the film is such a let down. I'm sorry to say that the packaging of this DVD is the best thing going for it. Besides pretty landscapes and pretty bodies, there just isn't enough about Rawhide that makes the two and one-half hour feature worth watching.
Olivia Del Rio
Steven St. Croix
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