DVD. Ninn Worx / Adam and Eve.
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.
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