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Brad Armstrong is known for his super-productions, the porno equivalent of those lousy "tent-pole" big-budget junkers the mainstream Hollywood studios crank out. "Coming Home" is cited as an epic, but despite the actor-director's best efforts it emerges as merely an over-stuffed mediocre little film.
Viewed a decade later, its intentional topical tie-in to the Iraq war has worn off, and we're left with a slice of Americana, which Brad did on a far better scale earlier in his career with Stephanie Swift in "Crossroads". I like that rural genre, citing Michael Raven's "Adrenaline" and Red Ezra's "Roadblock" as similar features. But with "Coming Home", Brad goes for small-town America and war, as he plays the lead character, a reservist called up to go to Iraq, with horrible consequences.
I won't spoil the contrived main twist, which doesn't happen until over 2 hours into the bloated 3-hour feature. Many of the 10 lengthy sex scenes are extraneous, typical of porn these days, but not conducive to taking a film seriously. As if that weren't enough, in the DVD Bonus section, there's a Randy Spears sex scene with Gianna Lynn not in the final cut of the feature, and Brad even talks in his BTS segment about how Randy, as a tough drill sergeant, is appearing for him in a non- sex role, non-sex either by design or mere hindsight.
Despite its winning knee-jerk acting awards for the two male leads, I was quite unhappy with the casting. Brad as our hero is unappealing at this stage of his career, Woody Allen-ing his way to behind the camera emphasis, but as revealed in the BTS, unable to pass up the role he's written. Whether this is because no other director would want him anymore or just a selfish attitude toward his own project (he wrote it) -the project evidently doesn't come first in his pecking order, is a moot point.
It's ultimately a vehicle for Wicked contract star Kirsten Price, and she does a fine job as his wife, torn between two loves. But as best buddy, Barrett Blade is lousy as usual, an actor-director who has yet to impress me in either department. As a sexy stud in a porn film, he comes off about as appealing as if mainstream's Larry the Cable Guy were cast in such roles. On the flip side of that coin, as his girlfriend Shyla Stylez (misspelled here Styles) is fine in bed and delivering anal sex to the package, but her acting is not up to what's needed for such a big part.
Most of the rest of the big-name cast is relegated to crappy assignments that could have been filled by anybody from Porn Central Casting. Exception is Vanessa Lane as a stripper, extremely well-cast for her close resemblance to star Price.
The war scene is an uninteresting staging with lots of gun flares and bullets flying but no excitement. Similarly, the basic training is a dull montage of visual clichés. What we're left with is routine soap opera on the home front, a disappointing ending (Brad proclaims he's rejecting the Hollywood Ending approach but substitutes something worse), and uninvolving sex footage. Worst acting razzie goes to Scott Lyons as Brad's brother, reading his lines with so little conviction I was surprised his takes (and the actor in toto) were left in the final print. He's yet another "award-winning" Adult actor with zero talent.
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