Pirates (Not of the Caribbean, but It Was Their Intention to Knock Off and Sexually Confuse You!)
A bodice ripping review by Leigh Wood
Long story short, I ended up watching the R rated version of Pirates, the 2005 purported porn blockbuster, late one night on Showtime. It is so weird- top-notch production values, a plot. It’s stupid, it’s funny, there’s sex. I must discuss!
Pirates Victor Stagnetti (Tommy Gunn) and Serena (Janine Lindemulder) capture newlywed Manuel (Kris Slater) and search for some sort of pirate treasure map key thing. Though inept at pirate hunting but a mighty mast in the bedroom, Captain Reynolds (Evan Stone) and his slutty second Jules (Jesse Jane) rescue Manuel’s soon to be not so innocent wife Isabella (Carmen Luvana). The trio pursues Stagnetti and bump uglies with Madelyn (Devon), Christina (Teena Presley), and Marco (Steven St. Croix). They fight skeletons and sail into the sunset. But really, why bother with the details?
I jest, sure, because critically looking at a porn film does take a tongue placed firmly in cheek after all. However, the story from director Joone and co-writer Max Massimo isn’t that bad. Though I’m not sure who or what Joone actually is, the attempt at something more than your average smut is much appreciated. So, Pirates is by no means high drama, granted. Yet there are huge strides towards action beyond the bedroom, non-sexual drama, even character development not seen in run of the mill pornos. Of course, a flair of self reverent humor helps, too. The character names are also a joke- but I don’t think that was intentional! Perhaps meant as some sort of anti or parody, there are even priests and church talk here amid the brothels and, uh, pirate booty. Not that it’s given any serious depth or presence, but honestly, were you expecting a priest in peril in Pirates? The dialogue presented also isn’t uber woeful as expected. It’s a bit anachronistic and badly delivered, but we do have some ye est olde speaketh like- let’s not push it. Such dialogue, humor, and irony work for the sardonic men drooling over the wenches- and even the nautical terms sound in the spirit. I kept picturing the guys on Hornblower giving the same seafaring directions and that sounds just fine. So what’s the difference in Pirates? Talent.
Even for porn, Pirates has a woeful cast brimming with too many too modern pretties who can’t act out of a paper bag- much less a pirate sash. Both those who act like rookies and the regulars who should know a little something get caught between horribly weird spoofy combinations of Jack Sparrow and Captain Hook. Oiy. While some may genuinely attempt to ham it up or others at least try to portray something more serious, most of it falls flat. Yes, the audience likes that there is a real story beyond those standard ‘6 people in a hotel. How many sexual combinations can you make? The end.’ snoozers to tie scenes together, the acting in the non-sex scenes really makes you want to fast forward. The stereotypical supporting players add nothing, and in some scenes, you can’t tell who is who- with both the pirate dudes and the blonde chicks. I think there was a brunette in there somewhere! Not that it matters much, but the positives of Pirates are hindered by the same old traditional porn failings. Though Janine Lundemulder (More famous to the mainstream world perhaps as one of the other women in Sandra Bullock’s married life.) as sexy pirate Serena is somewhat decent, I swear Evan Stone is just the same guy over and over again. Yawn!
Fortunately, the stylized production makes Pirates worth the watch. The original music is great- far beyond the usual bow chica wow wow staples. Its period rousing and even dare I say it, romantic. Sure, the ship sets probably aren’t any good when compared to mainstream films, but the art and décor is damn fine in comparison to those angled in the corner hotel room beds of Skinamax fair. Real and authentic locations go a long way as well. The costumes are also fun and jazzed up enough in the high seas fashion to look one grade above the satin or crushed velvet Halloween costumes we expect. And yes, there’s plenty of open corsets, too. Even the CGI in Pirates is halfway decent-again not on par with blockbusters but it’s superior for smut. Most scenes are, however, damn dark, or at least, everything seems to take place at night. I suppose this is a smart cheat on the CGI or in reuse of slim set pickings, which I understand, but I wish it were a little brighter. Nonetheless, the candlelit interiors do look nice. Although I’m not sure about some of the bottle blonde hair styles, over done makeup, or hot pink dressings in ye olde Caribbean. Again, the blank stare acting ‘performances’, plastic boobs, and big manicure nails detract from the lovely production strides. I wish the smart style would have been all out including cast appearances, but let’s not push it! (Ah, push it. Push it real good!)
Naturally, I should mention the erotic quotient, as after all that is the point, isn’t it? Even in this Pirates R release, we jump into the bumping uglies immediately. However, do to the editing of hard-core pornographic content for this mainstream release, things are over pretty quickly. A man could get a complex on these brief durations, but I understand why the filmmakers sought to double their profits with a safe version. The bim bam editing in the tame edition here is good for people who want to enjoy an amusing higher end porn picture and get their share of boob shots, too. In fact, the getting right to it is a lot better than all those damn slow motion undressing yawners. Unfortunately, those who like their hard core and want the down and dirty, uh, length won’t find it here. Sure, there isn’t as many explicit sex scenes as expected; but the obligatory multiple brothel action, assorted positions, and lady action keeps the porn pace. However, I do find the pirate dudes who have their hands safely on their beer mugs whilst chanting over two chicks grinding for their sport totally unbelievable!
Honestly, I don’t care if we have plastic Barbie women in soft-core films or not. It’s an unrealistic trashy male ideal with which we must deal: the unsexed school marm in need of a Big O who somehow magically already has double D silicone, a tongue piercing, and a back full of tattoos? I think not. I can handle if the women are all not that pretty or are easily interchangeable, even indistinguishable from one another. I just don’t understand the obvious soft-core girls rapidly smacking the inside of each other’s thighs and moaning as if it is best thing since sliced bread. They aren’t doing anything! How is this hot? Alas, my complaints don’t technically apply here- as Pirates was eunuched from hard to soft. But what really bugs the hell out of me is the way all the soft-core men are treated as Ken dolls. Can’t we not loose an eye on those explosive detailed shots- like the ones in the uncut Pirates XXX version- and have a ‘medium-core’ with some realism to it? Most soft-core tosses in the racial and lesbian varieties for well rounded flair, but penis never gets any equal opportunity exposure. Penis, people! It’s about penis I say! Fin rant.
Sexy period piece films can indeed be done with the right mix of decoration and cast, but only half the attempt was made for Pirates. It might be reaching for too much to have real actors and mainstream film come down to this kind of dirty, but you also can’t set your sights too high when hoping soft-core will, hee, rise up. Is the XXX version any better on the acting front? I’m going to go ahead and say that’s a no. The version I saw was 87 minutes, and Netflix offers an 85-minute DVD. The original 129-minute intact (Anybody got a circumcision joke?) Pirates Special Edition set looks expensive and tough to find but could be worth the pursuit. Of course, those interested in harder action can easily find more juicy smut if you know where to look. However, even the toned down version of Pirates can be amusing for at least one viewing. It’s fun for a mature or kinky party and obviously best enjoyed away from innocent eyes. Yes, it could get seriously confusing and is probably a real mess if you really get into the nitty gritty, but really, how many times does one watch a porno all the way through?