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Wicked Temptations (2002)

Video  -  Thriller
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 112 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 2 critic

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Title: Wicked Temptations (Video 2002)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Samantha 'Sam' Sharpe (as Scarlet Johansing)
Keri Windsor ...
Audrey Hunt / Marcy Snavely
Frank Harper ...
Robert Lydekker (as Chip Albers)
Daniel Anderson ...
Karl Ericcson (as Dan Anderson)
James Bonn ...
Guy Webb
Joseph Alfieri ...
Detective Mateo
T.J. Hart ...
Laura Lydekker
Angelica Sin ...
Cheryl Cross
Wanda Curtis ...
Merey Thom ...
Karen Hodges
Kevin Vilensky ...
Leonardo Aceves ...
Pool Cleaner
Raymond Ventura ...
Hotel clerk
Kimbria Skylar ...


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Trying to provide all things to all men is a truly wicked temptation
9 August 2007 | by (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada) – See all my reviews

Many of my generation still regret the demise of the traditional Hollywood B movie made by major studios with high production values; and intended primarily for late night showings, or drive in theatres, where a simple linear story line was all that was required for audiences who just wanted to relax. Occasionally one of these films, such as "French Quarter" which rated far more highly than most, has remained memorable long after it has disappeared from cinemas and video rental libraries; but most B movies had approximately the same relationship to major film releases as pulp paperback fiction has to the novels of Galsworthy, Ibsen or Tolstoy - and all have an important role to play. However despite the introduction of plentiful eye candy as an additional attraction by film makers such as Russ Meyer and Andy Sidalis, the true B movies proved unable to survive the competition of cable television. They have been largely superseded by "made for TV" films created inexpensively on electronic media by production companies without major studio resources, and only in exceptional cases later transferred to traditional film for showing in theatres. Since a large proportion of the market for them is now the late night film showings provided in most hotels, they generally continue to incorporate some nudity to add eye candy to their appeal and also frequently include soft-porn sequences showing simulated sexual couplings, often with little or no relationship to the story line (which can sometimes be squeezed right out). Such films no longer provide the pure relaxation that we used to be able to expect from any of the old Hollywood B movies.

A few of them are exceptions, taking care to retain an interesting story line without demanding too much attention from somebody relaxing after a hard day. These deserve viewers respect even if they are low budget productions and some cast members have limited acting ability. When the production values and acting are above average they can be well worth searching out. An advance review of Wicked Temptations led me (despite its lurid title) to believe that this might be such a film, but it unfortunately suffers from a split personality. It stars Monique Parent (credited here as Scarlet Johansine). An experienced actress, she has competently played a long string of parts during the past 15 years, including many roles in traditional B style movies. Here she plays Samantha Sharpe a glamorous but fairly hard boiled private detective investigating the suspected murder of the wife of a businessman, in a story which is very similar to that of Raymond Chandler's thriller "The Lady in the Lake" (although this novel was not officially credited in the film version I saw). The original intention appears to have been to use a sexy novel to create a movie which would be a sexy thriller with lots of eye candy. Monique was probably a very good choice to play this part, and the result should have been a very successful low budget thriller. But somewhere along the road it seems to have been decided that the ultimate product would be more successful as an "adult" film - presumably intended for late night hotel circuits. This decision seems to have required the very clumsy addition of a number of superfluous and irritating soft-core porn sequences to what was a reasonably compact and coherent crime thriller. For example, the film opens with a rather lengthy soft core coupling sequence showing a man cavorting with two women to background music. Although perhaps typical of many soft-core porn films, this is totally redundant here. The same sequence reappears twice later, first as the source of still photographs (the existence of which had been indicated by instantaneously superimposing rectangular frame lines on the screen during this introductory sequence), and as a videotape. These two later scenes would have needed little or no change had the long and totally unnecessary introductory sequence not been included, and the film would then have opened logically by introducing its principal characters. Deleting it would immensely strengthen the films' credentials as a legitimate thriller. I suspect that many potential viewers actually turned it off during the 4 minutes or so that this sequence lasted.

This problem unfortunately proved endemic throughout the film - as it progressed I found I was repeatedly asking myself whether I was watching a crime thriller or a soft porn film with virtually no story. Ultimately, as this film is edited, about one third of the screen time is devoted to sexual activities that have little or nothing to do with the story-line. Give all the material filmed to a decent editor and he would probably be able to create two different movies each capable of holding the interest of a different audience group; but no editor in the world could have created a film that would hold the interest of both groups from the material which I saw screened. The resulting mishmash left me angrily wondering why I cannot award it a rating of zero (or even a negative rating for spoiling potentially enjoyable material). This was a great pity as I felt the film could have been an interesting lightweight thriller, featuring competent acting and enough quality eye candy to help retain the viewers interest despite an admittedly lightweight story-line. Nowadays most viewers expect eye candy in films of this genre, and also accept sequences showing sexual couplings that contribute to the story line. But lengthy soft or hard porn sequences that have been arbitrarily introduced when not required quickly make for an extremely boring thriller. Those who want to watch nothing but sexual couplings of all types have no problem finding suitable material; but with the conventional romance, horror story, or thriller such sequences have no place unless integral to the film-script.

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