Review – Vivid’s The Condemned (2010)

Question: whaddaya get if you put I Spit on Your Grave (1978), La Femme Nikita (1990), and Girlfight (2000) into a movie blender with a bunch of hott chics and nine hardcore sex scenes?

Answer: Vivid’s The Condemned (2010).

the condemned

(pictured: buy your copy and/or watch The Condemned now here)

The Condemned has been described as “an epic adult film with a conscience” (here), which is a pretty interesting way of putting it. In the film, once up-and-coming fighter Jesse (Nikki Jayne) has drifted into semi-retirement and bare-knuckles underground ass kicking after surviving a brutal sexual assault. Things seem to be going pretty well for her, but then she’s kidnapped and taken to some sort of girl-fight vigilante training center!! Therein, the group’s mission is to exact justice upon men who have committed violent crimes against women that have somehow gone unpunished – fuck. yes.

Jesse is slowly indoctrinated into the group via an interesting method of pleasure-and-pain association therapy.  First, watch some asshole getting beat to shit by the vigilante ladies; then, randomly come across people having sex; and voilá – vigilante Jesse!!  Although she’s reticent at first, the process seems to work; and by the end-ish of the film, Jesse is ready to do her own spitting on some graves… until the identity of her first beat down is revealed. What happens next is pretty darn surprising, so I shall say no more – you’re just going to have to watch it for yourself.

This film has a strong “when conventional forms of justice fail…”-type message and many deep and interesting points. David Stanley’s script work is ordinarily a little too convoluted for me, but this story is pretty great; there’s forgiveness involved (I don’t necessarily agree with how it’s incorporated, but I like that it’s there); and I dig the fact that women survivors (not “victims”) are taking matters into their own hands – grrl power!! Plus, the performances are stellar. Ben English is great as Jesse’s harrowed husband/lover, Krissy Lynn is just fantastic as the ladies’ rabble rousing leader, and Faye Reagan plays flippant girl/street justice ass kicker to a tee.

But The Condemned is not all strength-beyond-strength vigilante seriousness – it has its fun moments too. For example, Nikki Jayne runs around in a tank top and trainers (no pants, no panties – why? who cares!!) for a good half and hour; English accents are always entertaining; and there’s a seemingly endless shower scene and braless weightlifting/boxing to enjoy. All this, and I haven’t even gotten to the sex…

As I said, there are nine total sex scenes in this film, the apparent highlight of which is Nikki Jayne’s POV bj to DP three-way in a weight room. In addition, Kimberly Kane lends her Kimberly Kane-ness* to a bj with Anthony Rosano and a three-way with Krissy Lynn and Mr. Pete; and Mr. Marcus does some serious stairwell acrobatics with Vanessa Leon.

But… well, here’s the thing: some of the sex in this film left me feeling rather meh. I found the sex performances from some of the more prominently featured girls in this film to be a little lackluster and kinda off-putting. For example, although she was badass in the ring, Nikki Jayne looked downright bored during her scenes. And even though she was playing a cop helping out the vigilante girls (so, tough?), I felt a little dirty after watching timid kitten/baby bunny Meggan Malone bang her partner (Randy Spears). And though Faye Reagan was great in her non-sex scenes, but she did a little too much fuck-simpering for my taste (boy feedback attests to this being hott though). Her scene with James Deen was particularly ambivalence-inducing as I wasn’t in to her performance at all, but I just loved (seriously, loved) his.

In sum, The Condemned was pretty darn solid. It’s an excellent film, well made with a great story. Just because the sex didn’t necessarily do it for me at every moment, these scenes  have gotten excellent reviews elsewhere. In my opinion, the film as a whole is not to be missed.

*I am still trying to come up with a way to describe Kimberly Kane-ness in terms of performance. It’s something akin to “autistic sociopath whore,” and this is not meant to be insulting – Kimberly Kane is an excellent performer. The blend of detachment with fascination and enthusiasm exhibited in many of her scenes is captivating… and somewhat unsettling.

Recommended for: dudes ready to enjoy some street justice/girl fight/women in prison-type awesome (with a little “you better be nice, or we’ll kick your ass” thrown in for good measure), and anyone looking for porn with an unconventionally empowered, somewhat complex series of messages/themes.

A word of caution though – this film is rape heavy (not like “rape fantasy,” like, “Jesse is a rape survivor”), which may be a triggering point for some.

Notables

Performances from Nikki Jayne, Faye Reagan, and Krissy Lynn with Tory Lane, Kagney Linn Carter, Kimberly Kane, Meggan Mallone, and Vanessa Leon.

The Condemned also features several other noteworthy women in non-sex roles (read: working out braless and endless showering).

We also have Ben English, James Deen, Mr. Marcus, Mr. Pete, Randy Spears, and other dudes.

Directed by B. Skow, and written by David Stanley. Released in September, 2010.

Buy your copy and/or watch it now here.

 

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