Inept direction of half-baked script: lame vigilante film -way over-hyped
A perfect example of the phony industry (AVN in this case) hype used to market porn videos, the so-designated "modern classic...that should stand the test of time" The Condemned is a lousy revenge feature that runs 4 hours and gets the 2-DVD "event" sales strategy.
Director B. Skow brings his gonzo experience and neglects to develop a cogent narrative, admitting in the BTS short subject on Disk 2 of the set that their project was originally a women's prison film, but supposedly that would be too costly & difficult, so his writer David Stanley concocted this silly, self-contradictory story of a secret society of mostly women who enact deadly revenge on males who assault femmes and don't get prosecuted. Bob Kelljan's drive-in staple "Rape Squad" from 1974 handled this subject with aplomb, but not so Skow & Stanley.
Heroine from England Nikki Jayne, a Vivid girl Skow promoted who doesn't read her lines with conviction or credibility (just a Liverpudlian twang ) portrays an ex-Lightweight Champ in femme boxing who is kidnapped by the squad in order to recruit her to their vigilante cause. What follows is nonsensical, led off by her attempt to escape, running around the corridors and stairways of what looks like a hospital (used as the main set) wearing a t-shirt but bottomless, pandering to the porn fans.
After initial sex scenes involving her humping her hubby Ben English (also a Brit resident in Chatsworth) after beating extra Sky Ryder in a boxing match that is staged like a scene from "Fight Club" in an underground parking garage rather than a real arena, and fight game fellow Anthony Rosano getting a blow-job from Kim Kane, she's kidnapped and wakes up in the hospital set.
Skow at this point has a terrible continuity mistake that gets the main story off to a terrible start: Nikki wakes up to see Faye Reagan humped by James Deen in a nearby bed, and she escapes while they're still at it. Yet minutes later as she's running around bare-assed she happens upon the femmes enacting revenge on criminal Darth Franklin with Faye magically one of the ring-leaders (alongside sexy Vanessa Leon) beating Darth while his victim's parents gleefully watch. How Faye got there while nude banging Deen is typical of Skow just shooting lots of sex scenes and then hoping to knit them together in the editing room, hardly the big-deal production being foisted upon the public here.
In fact this is not a Vivid big-deal, but rather a lousy Z-level feature shot on crummy sets (they call that "gritty", the euphemism for a slapdash approach to production design) but given a week instead of a typical 2-day schedule, so as to cram in 9 instead of 4 or 5 sex scenes and bloat the running time to double. Another example is that when English goes to the cops, desperate to find his kidnapped wife, instead of a police station scene we have corrupt detectives Randy Spears and Meggan Mallone at his home, giving him the brush-off.
Lots of extraneous sex scenes are tossed in, e.g., Vanessa humping security guard Mr. Marcus on a stairwell for a bit of IR content or an impromptu threesome in a storage/file room by Mr. Pete, Kane and the leader of the vigilantes, Krissy Lynn. Remnants of the original women's prison epic pop up in a lengthy girls' shower room scene in which Skow's camera ogles the wet beauties, and busty Kagney Linn Carter has sex with Tory Lane while Nikki and Faye masturbate watching.
Jayne is properly indoctrinated, and given a box of her nostalgia material from home (photos with Ben, etc.) in which press clippings show her with the champion's belt, identifying her as Jesse Jayne, not too funny an in-joke trying to compare the hyped but untalented Brit import actress with authentic homegrown superstar of the period Jesse Jane. Nikki's character name in this junker is Jesse Hughes, as she's married to Ben's character Frank Hughes.
SPOILERS: She earns her vigilante bona fides by throwing assaulter Jasper Night off the roof after the girls had tortured him in front of his victim (on crutches still) Rachel Frank, with her cutesy Southern- fried parents Cherri Trie and Marc Meadows present.
Stanley manages to subvert and negate his theme of the film twice in the final reels, as Nikki balks at killing the guy who assaulted her (clumsy flashbacks show that act after we watch a stupid three-way of her getting a d.p. from Billy Glide and Jerry plus a pov-camera blow-job to Marco Banderas whose face is never shown), but then in an insulting trick ending she and hubby English have joined the vigilantes, handling their violent kidnapping division rather than the capital punishment squad. It's cynical porn, trying to identify with that "outlaw" mentality but merely delivering mindless and in this case right-wing fascist crap content. It's as if the critics' overheated criticism of Don Siegel/Clint Eastwood's classic "Dirty Harry" when it was released was a red flag waved in front of Stanley (though too young to have seen it in first-run, obviously) when scripting this stinker.
The numerous sex scenes are perfunctory and the bloated cast wastes endless actresses (Karlie Montana, Charlie Laine, Melissa Jacobs and Celeste Star among them) as fleeting eye candy. Result: corrupt AVN praise, nominations and awards. Go figure.
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