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The Strange Things Boutique




DVD. Ninn Worx / Adam and Eve.

The FourIt’s sobering to realise that it’s now almost twenty years since Michael Ninn first came to global attention for his seminal works Sex, Latex and Shock – movies that stood at the forefront of what was a decade-long new Golden Age for the adult industry, marked by a new sense of creativity amongst filmmakers and a much-needed backlash against the moral prudishness of the 1980s. A lot has happened since – the prudes have returned, the internet has decimated the creative side of the adult industry just as video did in the early Eighties, and Ninn has moved from VCA through Private and onto his own production house. He’s been pretty quiet for the last few years, but now is back with a long-awaited epic, The Four.

Effectively a porno sequel to 300, the film takes place in 480 BC and features Brea Bennett, Renee Perez, Nikki Kane and Cassidey as the wives and daughters of the fallen Spartans, who seek revenge on the Persian God King Xerxes (Marco Bandaras). Through The Oracle, the four are granted the power of the 300, and they set out to defeat their enemy…

Stirring stuff, but don’t expect a conventional narrative here. The story is essentially fleshed out in a relentless narration, while the film concentrates on visual symbolism – the four girls being filled with power and sexuality while the film flashes back and forth between battles, sexual encounters and plotting. Essentially, The Four plays like a mix of music video and erotic vignettes, keeping dialogue to a minimum and visual stimuli to the max – very much the classic Ninn style, in other words.

This is undeniably gorgeous stuff – Ninn’s fast-paced editing, his penchant for slow-mo, continual camera movement and weirdly, deliberately artificial sets and CGI graphics (some effective, some not so much) very much to the fore here. No other adult director – in fact, few directors full stop – have Ninn’s ability to make video look so good - the warmth, richness and depth here is certainly a match for anything shot on film.

The FourThe four leads acquit themselves fairly well – Renee Perez in particular is impressive in the well-mounted fight scenes, which stand comparison to the likes of Spartacus – Blood and Sand and its offshoots (another show that deals in a world of hyper-unreality - though there is rather less blood on display here!), and the epic scope of this can’t be questioned. If there’s a downside, it might be that the lack of a conventional narrative structure tends to distance the viewer from the characters, especially as the film naturally comes to a stop every so often for a lengthy sex scene.

Still, this is hugely impressive stuff, and while I personally miss Ninn’s cybersex, fetish-flavoured approach of the mid-Nineties, there’s no questioning that this epic production is a strong return to form for one of the adult industry’s genuine visionaries.

The DVD release of The Four is as epic in scope as the film itself. As well as the three hour plus movie (split over two discs for optimum quality), there’s over two and a half hours of exhaustive, if sometimes repetitive behind-the-scenes footage on a third disc, and a fourth disc that is effectively a free film – The Girls of Ninn Worx, which is essentially a series of beautifully shot vignettes featuring Ninn’s contract stars (the stars of The Four plus Jana Jordan). At well over three hours, it’s a pretty impressive addition to the package, reminiscent in style to Ninn’s earlier plotless projects like Diva – slick, sensual, soft-focus erotica that shows off Ninn’s visual style perfectly (and why is there not a book of Michael Ninn photographs available? Hello Taschen, this sounds a job for you…).

An astounding effort, The Four shows that Michael Ninn can still teach the new breed of porn directors a few tricks. If you were a fan of his classic titles who lost touch with his work in the late Nineties, this is a very good place to reacquaint yourself with him.



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