Of all the titles I had at my old job, “America’s Most Beloved Superhero Porn Parody Reviewer” was the one that got me the weirdest stuff in the mail. Rather than let it all sit on my desk gathering dust, I’m going head on into it to bring you the least erotic reviews that I possibly can. Today: Xena XXX: An Exquisite Films Parody.
Way back in 1996, the very first Yahoo! search that I ever did once I got the Internet at home was for Xena: Warrior Princess erotic fiction. That might be a little too much information to be sharing here, but I’m bringing it up for two reasons. First, because before I start throwing out judgments, I think it’s important to establish that I’m coming at it from an alarmingly informed perspective. Second, because on that fateful summer day, I learned that there was a lot of Xenarotica out there. Seriously. That is what they called it, and possibly the origin of my fetishistic love of portmanteaus.
Point being, with fifteen years of fan-fiction doing the heavy lifting (and the grunting, and the breathy longing), there’s no reason for Xena XXX to be this boring, and I blame it entirely on a lack of imagination in the story department. Honestly, even beyond the erotic fan-fiction, the actual show has seven years worth of plots that are basically just porn scripts without the sex. Here:
When an old friend of Xena’s lands herself in prison, Xena also gets herself arrested so that she can rescue her. Gabrielle begins a food fight so she can get into prison to help Xena.
That is an actual episode summary from the first season, and that’s before they really started getting into the lesbian subtext. You basically just need to shoot that and call it a day.
Instead, here’s what director Jordan Septo ended up going with: Draco wants to trap Xena by getting Eros to shoot her with an arrow that’ll make her fall in love (or at least highly theatrical lust, from the looks of things) with him, so he lures Xena into a town where Autolycus is bilking the local wenches out of their virtue. Xena shows up, but Eros gets drunk and shoots Gabrielle instead, and Draco absconds with her. Hercules shows up to lend a hand (and penis), and Xena rescues Gabrielle. Also all the cast members (plus Ares and Aphrodite) have sex with each other in various combinations, but not really the ones you want to see.
The whole thing’s just really basic on almost every level, with a really frustrating lack of effort in how it’s made — and yes, I do realize that is something that a lunatic would say about a porn version of Xena: Warrior Princess. I stand by it, though, if only because it’s hard not to compare it to Axel Braun’s superhero parodies for Vivid, which really do make the effort. Even when they’re bad — which they frequently are — they’re trying. Xena XXX, however, stops at just-good-enough, and half the time it drops the ball on that.
Case in point, here’s a shot of Tommy Pistol as Autolycus:
Dude actually does do a pretty decent job of aping Bruce Campbell’s mannerisms, but c’mon son. Autolycus has a moustache and a goatee. Randy Spears grew a moustache and then covered it up in white makeup to play Cesar Romero playing the Joker in Batman XXX, you can make the effort.
Along the same lines, while the costumes are great, the lack of attention to detail is really distracting. Axel Braun built a fucking Iron Man suit (literally) for his movies. Xena XXX leaves the price tag on Gabrielle’s boots:
Price tag aside, Lexi Belle is a pretty great choice for Gabrielle. She seems like a nice girl.
I generally try to avoid reviewing the actual sex, but I will say that it seemed to suffer from a similar lack of imagination. The Ares and Aphrodite scene in particular was super mechanical, although the part of my brain that really likes reading way too much into things wants to believe that was a choice on Tommy Gunn’s part, because of course the God of War would just singlemindedly ram into something until he achieved his goal.
Also, that is not a typo: This picture features both a Tommy Gunn and a Tommy Pistol. Tommy Rifle was sick that week.
I will say, though, that there is a downright shocking lack of lesbian sex in this movie. Xena and Gabrielle don’t even get into it until the last scene, and while I respect the idea of building to that as the climax of the film, it doesn’t really fit in. Putting aside for the moment that Hercules essentially being responsible for the rescue at the end is something that really undercuts the show’s original formula of feminism and exploitation in equal measure, I’m just going to go ahead and say this: Nobody watching a porn version of Xena wants to see a dude involved in the sex scenes. Maybe Hercules — maybe. But only because this dude is basically awesome:
All in all, it feels like a big waste of potential. I mean, there is no reason in the world that Draco is in this movie and Callisto isn’t. Plus, if you’re going to throw Gabrielle in there with a guy, I think we can all agree that it should’ve been Joxer.
They really dropped the ball not offering that part to Hollywood Actor Ted Raimi right from the start. I’m like 90% sure he would’ve done it.