Porn takeoff on Robert Redford/Demi Moore film -merely OK
CHECKMATE is one of several Joe D'Amato '90s porn films (see also: DANGEROUS, GANGLAND BANGERS and RAW AND NAKED) where an attempt was made to create an American-style product, rather than his usual Euro approach. Despite a workable premise, it doesn't coalesce into a real movie. Credits are confusing, as it is listed as a "Joe D'Amato film" but director credit explicitly goes to "D'Salvi", namely his producer Salvo Di Liberto.
Shooting in English, with Hollywood backdrops (but since 99% of the action is indoors for sex it might have been shot in Europe), the film gives away its ancestry with its subtitle: OBSCENE PROPOSAL. It's a dumb knockoff of the silly Adrian Lyne movie INDECENT PROPOSAL. I remember vividly the catcalls back in 1993 at the Paramount press screening in the G&W building that greeted that campy tale of filthy rich Robert Redford buying the sexual services of Demi Moore from cash-strapped couple Moore & Woody Harrelson.
D'Amato oddly enough takes the gimmick more seriously, though he drops the ball early on. Ubiquitous porn stud Mark Davis gets the Redford role, happily married to beautiful but kinky Jeanna Fine but ogling his next door neighbors Alex Dane and even more ubiquitous porn regular Jonathan Morgan making love.
Dane, a slightly built and frankly unimpressive starlet of Asian ancestry, didn't turn me on but for some reason Davis offers $500,000 to hump her. Fine chimes in with another $500,000 if Morgan will hump her, totally ridiculous, but in pornoland anything goes.
While Lyne's script by the previously talented Amy Jones (what a lousy career arc she had!) was dumb, Robert Lyon's CHECKMATE scenario is dumber. He has Morgan receiving a letter from the judge ruling he owes $500,000 in past alimony to his ex-wife, payable immediately or he goes to jail. Talk about stacking the deck! After some beating around the bush (literally) to raise money in a hurry, our protagonists naturally accede to the rich folks' wishes, cueing an orgy. Utterly pointless in every respect, with no twist, unless you consider "Davis gets the girl" an earth-shaking ending.
Glamorously styled, Fine is just fine here, and the sex in general is up to standard. There just isn't any enthusiasm, it's mechanical lovemaking with an emphasis on mixed combo action. As is common knowledge, D'Amato's lack of involvement in these latter day XXX exercises definitely infects his casts with a living dead-aspect while screwing, unconsciously dovetailing with his horror films.
Cast is nearly all-American (plus Davis from Blighty) with a couple of Continental starlets thrown in.
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