Westlake Entertainment // 2002 // 120 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Treadway (Retired) // November 22nd, 2003
Raw naked madness!
America X-Treme is vile, despicable garbage masquerading as a documentary. Prisons might consider using this disc as part of their death penalty program since any prisoners who view it will be begging for electrocution.
The documentary is divided into three parts. Part One is titled "Horrorwood," dealing with all sorts of strange and uncomfortable rituals in their quest for satisfaction. Part Two, titled "The Heroin Highway," is an exploitative look at heroin trafficking and the law. Part Three, "Exotic World," gives us a look into the Strip Tease Hall of Fame and the various show girls trying to gain acceptance into said hall.
Any of these subjects could have made a terrific documentary. Producers Jonas Behr, Chris D. Nebe, and Benjamin Chen seem to be more preoccupied with delivering shocks and titillations rather than stimulating the mind. No doubt some people have made great piles of money through the exploitation documentary ranks (Girls Gone Wild, anyone?). But I have a certain set of expectations for documentaries that this one doesn't even come close to approaching.
I have never felt so unclean after watching a film -- I have seen Caligula, so I know the feeling. I also felt very ashamed...ashamed of wasting two hours of my life on this cesspool of a disc.
The "highlight" (if you can call it that) of Part One is a woman's collection of dead animals preserved in formaldehyde. Despite the fact that this woman looks like a refugee from Repo Man (and resembles one of my ex-girlfriends), I couldn't help but wonder if that was really her hobby or if she was raiding the cupboards for anything pickled.
Part Two feels as if it's going to be a hard hitting, honest look into the drug culture. What a fool I was for actually expecting something concrete here. It's your standard anti-drug filmstrip we all saw in high school, only twenty times more explicit. And why they had to go so far to show such depravity is mind boggling.
Part Three will no doubt satisfy the millions of perverts out there wanting to satisfy themselves at home. The boob count alone will increase cases of angina and palpitations nationwide. But you need more than mere flesh to make a captivating documentary and this mess isn't it. Watch HBO's G-String Divas and you'll understand where I'm coming from.
The full frame transfer is beyond horrid. There is a major problem with pixelation in the transfer as it is soaked in it. I wasn't sure if I was watching a documentary or playing one of my brother's old Atari games. It's that bad. In addition to that, the colors are very dull and lifeless, which is deadly for a documentary. Unless it was shot on black and white film stock, dull lifeless colors have no place here. Grain is heavy at times and hard on the eyes after a few minutes.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono mix is very uneven. At the start of Parts One and Three, we are treated to an earsplitting siren sound reminding us what we are watching. Then the sound decibels decrease significantly, sometimes to the point that I can't hear what they are saying. When I have to keep adjusting the volume on the speakers, that's when I know a sound mix is horrible.
The sole extra is a preview of the upcoming America X-Treme II. The fact that there is a sequel to this turkey may be the scariest thing to surface since Paula Jones' pictorial in Penthouse.
Do I recommend a purchase? Absolutely not. A rental? Why rent this junk when there is so much better to be discovered out there? Find a movie that will raise your spirits and feed the mind instead. Garbage like America X-Treme doesn't even deserve to occupy a landfill.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Westlake Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 120 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Unrated