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Courtesy of DigitalPlayground.com
The female cast of Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge: (from left) Sasha Grey, Shay Jordan, Jesse Jane, Belladonna, Stoya, Riley Steele, and Katsuni.
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Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge

Written/Directed by Joone

Digital Playground

Starring Jesse Jane, Shay Jordan, Katsuni, Stoya, Riley Steele and Gabriella Fox

Now Available

Porn is a particularly difficult breed of entertainment to quantify: can a porn film be critiqued as more than just a vessel of sexual fantasy? Ought it be judged merely on the quality of its sex scenes, or can such topics as cinematography, acting, and (dare I say) plot make into the conversation? I have one particular film in mind.

Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge (released September 2008) is the sequel to the immensely popular Pirates (2005), and stands as one of the most talked-about porn movies of year. Pirates II tells the story of pirate hunter Edward Reynolds and his unnaturally good looking allies as they battle the evil Chinese empress pirate Xifing, who plots to bring back the late Victor Stagnetti from the dead.

The result is a myriad of deathly battles and sexual encounters — and overwhelming critical acclaim. Clocking in at over two hours, Pirates II was produced and directed by the world-famous Joone of Digital Playground. It boasts a ridiculously large budget (around $8 million), making it one of the most expensive porn movies of all time and has received such AVN (Adult Video News) awards as Best Special Effects, Best Director, Best All-Girl Couples Sex Scene, and Best Actor (Evan Stone).

But such stats beg the question: why all the hype?

Well for one: Hot, dangerous pirate chicks are put in a wide variety of intense sexual scenarios. Sex scenes range from rough girl on girl, to steamy threesomes, to an orgy in a belly-dancing tent, to the classic slave girl and her master. While the intent is to get the viewer horny (which, given the film’s popularity, I can assume is an overall success), you’re often left feeling more impressed than anything else (Is he really hanging onto the ceiling? How did she fit that in her mouth?).

Which leads me to my next topic: acting. Industry favorites Jesse Jane and Belladonna star alongside Best Actor recipient Evan Stone, and both their celebrity presence and on-screen chemistry make for a good show. As is usually the case, the acting is laughable — but laughable in a funny way, rather than a lame way. Due both to this and the successful execution of the parts that are actually meant to be funny, I took away a number of one-liners that will amuse me for a while to come.

The special effects are plentiful and extravagant. The sets are elaborate and the cinematography fantastic — details like lighting and camera angle are carried out quite well. And if you are able to pay attention, a rather complex plot of revenge and betrayal holds everything together. Such a focus on plot is much appreciated, especially given the film’s lengthy running time.

I guess when it comes down to it, saying a porno is good is just the same as saying Rush Hour 3 is good. Anything is good if you’re willing to forgive the characters for the plot. Given such context, Pirates II is definitely a good adult film; watch at your own risk.