As an interesting side note, if you do watch this episode, listen closely to the voice of Sally... it's none other than Stacy Ferguson, a.k.a. Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas.
First off, the music. Bad '70s porno music meets Asian karaoke. Seriously. There are really only 2 songs here, and I don't know the names of them, so I'll give them names: "Like A Sailing Ship," which has a ship horn in its chorus ("TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!"), and "I Wander Safe At Night," which is played most prominently during the big group drug/orgasm scene, perhaps the standout scene in this film: a bunch of people smoke pot (or some mind-altering drug), then get horny and get freaky. All to the strains of a bad guitar solo. This should be a requirement for all soft-core porn.
Laura Gemser is pretty hot, she could easily still stand out even today. Come to think of it, all the women here are not bad-looking at all. If you can stand the fact that a lot of George W.'s last name is in full force here (personal grooming wasn't in in 1976, kids), you might like the ladies.
"Emanuelle in Bangkok," a standout film from my lonely teenager years. I don't even remember the plot, and I don't care. Seeing this now brings back memories of me with Cool Ranch Doritos and a bottle of Pepsi, keeping the volume low so my parents wouldn't hear it, settling back to Showtime's late-night lineup, which included this film and "Red Shoe Diaries." Those were the days...
As for the stars of today and where they were in 1998...Chris Benoit? In WCW. Rey Mysterio? Ditto, as was Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Booker T, and Big Show. John Cena? Probably in college. Batista? I'd say a bouncer. Kurt Angle? Trying to make a living outside of wrestling. Edge? In the Canadian and Northeast independents, teaming with Christian. In other words, if you're looking for these guys on the '98 version of No Way Out, you're out of luck.
What you do get on this show: a great main event between the makeshift team of Steve Austin, Owen Hart (RIP), Cactus Jack, and Terry Funk against the pre-DX team of HHH and the New Age Outlaws, along with Savio Vega. You also get pre-JBL Bradshaw taking on Jeff Jarrett; take a look at Bradshaw on this tape and look at JBL today and you almost can't connect the two. (Jarrett's defending the NWA North American title on this show; today he runs NWA:TNA.) And you see the Rock, pre-Hollywood and a member of the Nation of Domination, with the CLASSIC old Intercontinental championship belt. I miss that belt; imagine how great Carlito (probably in middle-school back in '98, as young as he is) would look with the old I-C belt. Now that would be COOL! Is this show worth buying? For workrate, not really. For a solid waste of 2 1/2 hours and to see how the WWF (not WWE) did things back in 1998, then get this tape, and also get the '98 Royal Rumble and WrestleMania 14. After writing this review, I almost feel nostalgic and want to see this show myself...
The rest of the card isn't so hot, but Benoit's virtuoso performance is a must-see. There are other highlights in that Rumble: Ernest Miller's soul-brother routine (SOMEONE CALL MY MOMMA!), Mick Foley making a surprise appearance and eliminating Intercontinental champion Randy Orton. But it's really Benoit's show, and he delivers with gusto.
Wow, 10+ years later, and I still remember sneaking into the living room at 14 years old to watch this show with the volume turned down low so my parents wouldn't know what I was watching. (The same held true for Friday Night Skinemax and Showtime's various Emmanuelle and Red Shoe Diaries films... those were the days...)
This show was just as funny and clever as Mr. Show with Bob and David, which came out a year later. And if THAT show can get a DVD release, surely "Hardcore TV" should.