Pioneering gay porn production company Catalina's flagship title for the year 1998 falls into some of the same traps a lot of porn that tries too hard to rise above its status does, like according an inordinate amount of attention to a semi-mainstream, de-sexualized plot right out of an instantly forgettably action flick starring the likes of Steven Seagal or one of the fallen from grace Baldwin brothers. Another mistake, in my perhaps not so humble opinion, is the "cast of thousands" approach where a studio will call on every single member (!) roaming its back lot to put in an appearance, thereby largely wasting the considerable talents of many interesting performers by granting them mere minutes of screen time. That's the bad stuff out of the way, now let us proceed to all the things the good folks at Catalina did get right. Though it's rarely a good idea for an adult film aficionado to get too hopped up on production values, as it tends to shift the focus from what any genre fan watches these movies for in the first place, it has to be acknowledged that excellent use is made of the extensive location shooting on this project, whisking viewers from sun-drenched Catalina Island via the rural charms of mountain-strewn Colorado and the wide open plains of Arizona to metropolitan Chicago. In-house director Josh Eliot, back in full macho mode following his foray into bisexual camp territory with the tremendously enjoyable trio of THE HILLS HAVE BI'S, NIGHT OF THE LIVING BI-DOLLS and VALLEY OF THE BI-DOLLS, proves remarkably adept at manhandling the complicated logistics posed by both the variations in scenery and the presence of over two dozen performers chomping at the bit to get at each other's, well, good bits ! For practical reasons, he has divided camera chores with fellow f*ck filmmakers Brad Austin and William Hunter and it's a tribute to these men's professionalism that this has not compromised the production's unifying slick look and feel.
Retired computer whiz kid Steve Rambo, Catalina's handsome contract star and a featured attraction in most of their really big releases , finds his peaceful existence of al fresco fornication with lover Brad King rudely interrupted by a phone call from former colleague and friend Doug Jeffries, the sucker of blood and other bodily fluids from Chi Chi La Rue's THE BITE 2. Seems that Jeffries has developed a revolutionary new computer program that nefarious competitors have gotten wind of and are now actively trying to suppress via all means necessary. The disc containing this program has just been delivered to Rambo's abode, making him the bad guys' prime target. These evildoers commit the grave yet all too typical error of killing the boyfriend instead, increasing the incentive for our homo hero to get to the bottom of this (okay, enough bad puns already !) as they have just made his crusade a personal one. My advice to anyone trying to figure out this needlessly complicated and simultaneously frustratingly vague storyline is to simply relegate it to the role of time-honored MacGuffin as you'll be scratching your cranium all the way through otherwise. It's a good, nay great thing that these ultimately superfluous dollops of plot seldom interfere with the movie's plentiful sexual set-ups, most of which deliver absolutely scalding results. Jeffries has barely put down the receiver or he's making eyes at hunky janitor James West (also in John Rutherford's HEATWAVE for Falcon), leading into one of the most intense encounters in recent memory, highlighted by superb chemistry and impressive oral expertise on both sides. Rambo flees and hides out at the home of his former professor and mentor Ray Harley which predictably ends up with the men "deepening" their friendship in a tenderly romantic scene. Hirsute Harley is another Catalina contract stud heavily featured in their all star sextravaganzas like Eliot's BIG GUNS 2 or more personalized fare like La Rue's HARLEY'S CREW. Kudos to the company for bucking the trend and signing up engaging but more mature performers in their thirties (Harley) or even forties (Rambo). Those into younger, tighter flesh can feast their eyes on the professor's pupils at play, turned on as they are by the classic meeting of masculine Chad Douglas and boyishly blonde Kevin Wiles from William Higgins' legendary BIG GUNS playing on their computer screen. Most recognizable among this foursome should be Logan Reed, an always reliable performer. The others are Brian Daniels, Dylan James and Sean Dickson, who displayed his awesome auto-fellatio technique in Michael Zen's MOUTH ORGAN !
Rambo somehow manages to get himself hired as part of the catering team for the pool party at bad guy Tony Bullitt's luxurious lair where he catches the eye of lascivious henchman Cole Tucker, another older 'n' bolder stud most noted for slightly rougher stuff like the Titan masterpiece FALLEN ANGEL. For contrast, the pool posse (including too briefly glimpsed name performers like pretty, former Falcon boy Matthew Anders and the indefatigable Paul Morgan) provides vanilla frolicking of the highest order. Distracting Tucker as only he can, Rambo makes off with the computer program, only to find himself chased all over downtown Chicago, forcing him to seek shelter back stage at the International Mister Leather Contest. An explosive six man group grope, including former military hunk Sam Crockett and flawless Max Grand, provides ample comeuppance for dastardly Tucker with a nicely handled bit of non-sex action thrown in as an afterthought to wrap up any story lines left dangling. Even if it doesn't quite hit a home run in the epic undertaking sweepstakes, CATALINAVILLE nevertheless scores where it counts, supplying a king's ransom of high voltage carnality.
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