DARK KNIGHT XXX
Braun had already tackled the caped crusader in Batman
XXX, though at that time he was channelling the high
camp of the 1960s TV series. This time round, his Bataman pastiche
is a darker affair, taking influences not only from the Christopher
Nolan films, but also the comic books and, most significantly,
the video games.
The Dark Knight XXX opens with a disillusioned
Bruce Wayne Giovanni Francesco) leaving Gotham and hiding out
in snow-covered mountains. Riddled with guilt over the deaths
of Batgirl (Penny Pax) and, by interence, Commissioner Gordon
(Tom Byron) and having battled with Poison Ivy (Dani Jensen) for
the soul of Nightwing (Brian Street Team), he’s decided
that the presence of Batman in Gotham simply makes things worse.
But when Catwoman (Aiden Ashley) turns up to tell his that ex-girlfriend
Kathy Kane (Andy San Dimas) has been kidnapped by Bane (Derrick
Pierce), he once again goes into battle, only to find himself
betrayed by those he thought he could trust.
As you can see, the film is certainly ambitious – but that
is its downfall. Nolan, after all, has just taken the best part
of three hours to tell a far less character-heavy story, and he
didn’t have to find room for several 20 minute plus sex
scenes. The resulting film feels pretty messy and episodic –
each character (and in addition to those already named, we get
The Joker, John Constantine and Zatanna) gets a little scene that
is generally unconnected to anything else, and the end up feeling
like bits from far longer stories. The film opens up with the
Joker (Brendon Miller) having captured Batgirl and Gordon, but
we get no context of a story so far, and the same is true of the
scene with Nightwing and Poison Ivy (which also happens to have
the worst two actors in the film).
Braun’s Star Wars XXX
included a non-sex version that was an hour long; this has a non-sex
version that clocks in at just 21 minutes. Admittedly, with Star
Wars, Braun had a full story to spoof, whereas here he’s
effectively creating his own narrative from existing characters,
but that difference in time for actual plot development makes
all the difference. Star Wars XXX worked as a
narrative story; this struggles.
I know you might think I’m missing the point, but I disagree.
With so much porn available, why should someone pick up a film
like this unless they were looking for something more? Given the
effort put into these films, and the fact that they are now being
(smartly) marketed more to the comic book and cult movie crowd
than to regular porn audiences (and yes, I know there is a huge
crossover between all three), I don’t think it would hurt
to stop following the rules of standard porn, and cut back the
length and frequency of the sex, because no-one is buying this
to jack off to – and if they are, the sight of The Joker
analing Batgirl won’t take that long to get them where they
need to go.
Because this is an impressive effort, production wise. Braun can
do this sort of thing with his eyes closed by now, but his ability
to craft impressively atmospheric and authentic-feeling scenes
from second-hand, borrowed material remains impressive. The Batman
costume – styled after the look of the games rather than
the movies – is spot-on, as are those of the supporting
characters, Kylie Ireland and Andy Appleton do a bang-up job with
the set design, and most performances are decent – Miller
and Ashley perhaps standing out as actors, and Christy Mack as
Zatanna gets my vote in terms of hotness. This is, obviously,
head-and-shoulders above most adult product out there right now.
I’m arguing that it could actually compete in the mainstream,
given more confidence and open-minded thinking from whoever it
is (Braun? The Vivid bosses?) that demands as many and as lengthy
sex scenes as you’ll find in any basic porno.
If you just want to see your favourite characters in a slickly
produced adult film, you’ll probably be happy enough. But
I still think that these lovingly produced films are underestimating
both their own potential and their audience. As popular as they
currently are (and I’ve no doubt this will be another best-seller),
I think they could do so much more. Maybe The Dark Knight
XXX needs to lose one ‘X’ to really be the
film it wants to – and so easily could – be.
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