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PIRATES
DVD region 0. Digital Playground.

PiratesPirates caused something of a storm in the adult industry when released back in 2006, setting a new standard for big budget, high concept hardcore and arguably spawning the new generation of porn parodies. The first adult movie in decades to be re-edited for an R-rating and given theatrical release, this alleged $1 million production successfully showed what needed to be done to combat the threat of the tube sites – namely, making something that bedroom amateurs couldn’t compete with, and producing a film that can cross-over beyond the traditional XXX marketplace.

While obviously inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean, Pirates sets itself apart from the parodies that followed by at least having an original plot. Pirate Captain Victor Stagnetti (Tommy Gunn) kidnaps just-married Manuel Venezuela (Kris Slater), the descendent of Incans who have hidden away some sort of magical sceptre that only he can locate. Chasing them down are pirate hunters Captain Edward Reynolds (Evan Stone, channelling William Shatner) – a rather incompetent blowhard – and his first mate Jules (Jesse Jane). After the rescue Manuel’s bride Isabella (Carmen Luvana), thrown to the sharks by Stagnetti, they follow him to a secret island where the two forces do battle.

There’s no arguing with the fact that Pirates is a pretty impressive effort. With sumptuous sets and costumes, a huge cast and some decent CGI (the Jason and the Argonauts-inspired living skeletons are particularly impressive, and it’s a pity that such cool monsters are pretty much thrown away in the story), this could easily be a better-than-average SyFy movie if you took out the sex (as the R-rated cut did). You might choose to question the authenticity of virginal brides who have tattoos, but the film isn’t taking itself too seriously anyway, so such anomalies can be accepted.

PiratesAs you’d expect, the acting is variable. Stone is amusing as the egotistical but inexperienced Captain, Steven St. Croix is effective in a small role and Gunn is suitably unsavoury as Stagnetti, complete with his blind eye and gold teeth. The female cast are less effective – Jesse Jane just about manages to deliver her dialogue effectively, but looks way too much like a porn star to convince as a sailor, and Janine, who I’ve seen give decent performances before, seems strangely one-dimensional. Carmen Luvana does her best, but seems a little wooden while acting, and visibly relaxes during the sex scenes.

And the sex scenes come at regular intervals and are as raunchy as you’d expect. Luvana and Jenaveve Jolie probably have the best scene, a lesbian encounter surrounded by cheering pirates that oozes with genuine passion. The rest of the cast give their all too, with the frighteningly tiny Jesse Jane proving to be particularly flexible.

Witty, ambitious and genuinely entertaining, Pirates is a good example of what the adult industry is capable of when it tries. And the DVD matches the luxurious nature of the film, coming in a nicely boxed three-disc set. The feature has an audio commentary by the starts and (voice disguised) director Joone, and there is a lively behind-the-scenes documentary, FX comparison shots, plentiful trailers, painful screen tests, bloopers and more, as well as a soundtrack CD, previously released separately (fans of the bombastic orchestral scores found in most blockbusters will enjoy this more than me). It would’ve been interesting to have the R-rated cut included too, but to complain about omissions here seems rather churlish.

DAVID FLINT

BUY IT NOW (USA) DVDBLU-RAY

BUY IT NOW (R-RATED VERSION)

 

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