by Ryan Arthur
With a title like Womb Raider, I think it's safe to say that we can abandon all hope of the movie being good on any level other than passable softcore. Which it is. It's another softcore spoof/parody of a mainstream film (Angelina Jolie's Tomb Raider flicks, if you're slow on the uptake) that amps up the sex appeal by replacing it with...uh...sex. No pretense there. Where Womb Raider surprises is that it's played almost completely straight and the production setpieces are actually fairly high quality...which doesn't overcome the limp script and spotty acting that don't do the film any favors. But hey, at least there are boobs, am I right?Lauren Hays is the titular (heh) Womb Raider, Cara Loft, a treasure hunter whose father has long since disappeared. Loft's services are requested by one Dr. Scrotus (Roland Lanza, who was also the director of photography, producer, co-writer, co-editor and he also dons a Trey Parker wig to play Loft's butler/chauffer/sidekick Dylan!), the bald-headed bad guy who is meant to evoke Dr. Evil, Blofeld, Bill and, I dunno, one of the Amish guys from Witness, but who speaks like the Albino from The Princess Bride, prior to throat-clearing. Follow? Scrotus wants Loft to find the three sacred wombs, which possess (or will grant?) "the power of creation." In exchange, Loft will learn more about what happened to her father, who disappeared while working for Scrotus. The globetrotting adventures will also lead to softcore lesbian sex, which is really what anyone's going to go to this particular title for, anyway. And there's your plot.
"Not about a superhero who helps make babies for sterile Scientologists."
So. There's nakedness, which is ultimately one of the highpoints. Hays is a surgically enhanced (those DV cameras pick up the implant scars pretty easily) brunette who, despite that (I like my ladies natural), admittedly looks downright fabulous. She carries the look of Loft well: ponytail, guns strapped everywhere and in various states of undress (the scene where Hays cools down and cleans up while emptying her canteen over herself in the middle of the desert is HOTT with two T's), which is of course the drawing point. She's also the focal point of the five softcore sex scenes, all lesbian-themed: there's an arty interlude with a redheaded would-be Scrotus henchwoman named Milla (Annie Body); a three-way grope with a couple of concubines (Crystal White and Sirena Scott) in a desert tent; a jungle hook-up with an "immortal" Zulu Warrioress (Shalimar); another three-way in a temple (with White and Body under masks) and finally hot tub/baby oil tease with Natasha (Antoinette Abbott), another Scrotus henchwoman who slips in and out of her vaguely Russian accent. None of the sex scenes are bad at all, and the two threesomes are particularly steamy.
As for acting ability, Hays doesn't drop her British accent once, which is more than can really be said for Jolie's effort or "Look at me, I'm a Brit!" Madonna. In a movie like this, that qualifies as good acting. Plus, let's face it: she's hot. Lanza's Scrotus is suitably hammy, his Dylan is slightly cornball comic relief (complete with bug-eyed reaction shots and double takes) and Abbott and Body keep the talking to a minimum and make with the fake sex. That kind of softens the cheesy dialogue and the sometimes laughable costuming and props: come on, an ancient map that looks like it was drawn by fourth-graders? A foam-rubber skeleton strapped to a tree? A shitload of smoke from the smoke machine, even in scenes where it's not needed? Glow sticks bought at a Big Lots somewhere in the Valley?
The other major highpoints, if you can believe it, are the location shots (California, Utah and Arizona) and production values. I'm being completely serious. It's like the second coming of Andy Sidaris, what with all the beautiful women in beautiful locations, and that's frankly a compliment, because there's certainly a market for those kinds of films. The fact that director Randolph Scott (not the popular - and dead - star of numerous westerns) even bothered to try to give the film a little bit of a big budget/epic/sweeping look automatically earns points. Seeing Hays traipse over desert dunes, clamber through caves and hack her way through jungle scenery is infinitely better than most of the settings of 90 percent of the low-budget sexploitation spoofs out there, which confine characters and plot to a bedroom and/or a living room (Seduction Cinema, please take note). Just as impressive is the fact that Scott (and Lanza) did most everything themselves, from working both behind the scenes in just about every facet of the production, as well as in front of the camera in small roles (larger roles in Lanza's case), to filming and editing the whole shebang themselves. They're like Robert Rodriguez, if all he did was softcore instead of kids films and comic book movies. On a budget of tens of thousands of dollars instead of millions. The film, overall, looks pretty damn good, given the production's restrictions.Womb Raider is exactly the kind of film that you expect it to be, just by examining the DVD case or even just hearing the title. A little bit of T & A, little bit of scenery, not much in the way of plot. I can't recommend it to anyone who doesn't have an inkling of what they're getting into, but those that do know what to expect may not hate it at all.
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originally posted: 11/01/05 13:35:28