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Case Number 19020: Small Claims Court

Buy Focus/Refocus: When Porn Kills (Retail Version) at Amazon

Focus/Refocus: When Porn Kills (Retail Version)

Breaking Glass // 2009 // 75 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // June 4th, 2010

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All Rise...

Judge Brett Cullum doesn't get why you want a prude porn, but here you go...

The Charge

One more effort at legitimizing porn. Sigh! When will they learn?

The Case

Focus/Refocus: When Porn Kills is being released in two versions: one a more "soft cut" with only the story accompanied by trimmed sex scenes, and another full-out porn version with the sex acts fully filmed to completion. So basically you can either get a porno or a film made up of the bits of a porn that occur between the sexy parts. Porn stars aren't all that great with plot or real dialogue, and so Focus/Refocus can't be what it wants to—a gay version of Basic Instinct. I will say it has a nice look to it, an attractive cast, and a hint of hardcore sexuality, but you'll have to hit the adult bookstore to get the really good bits. Trying to watch these guys act for an hour and ten minutes doesn't quite work, and if I'm going to go this far I may as well go all the way. This "retail version" is a tease that will just make you either throw your hands up in frustration or hit up a more adult-friendly outlet to find the more explicit version.

The thin plot has a couple of guys in San Francisco who film themselves having sex and they end up posting their taped session on line. Their exploits in home movies get them a lot of attention, and one of the guys decides he likes the cyber acclaim too much. He goes deeper and deeper making sex tapes with strangers and posting them online. Eventually he realizes there is a serial killer out there slicing up guys he has hookups with. So will this new filming-sex addiction lead him to pleasure or an early grave?

The sex scenes are trimmed, but they are still there in a form I would define as an x-rated version. You see full frontal shots, and there are definitely sequences that would curl the hair of the MPAA. There is a lot of thrusting, a lot of male nudity, and it gets pretty graphic. Yet they pull back and cut anything with penetration or climax until the very end. But hey, if you want to see guys getting carnal just get the full-out XXX version and be done with it. I'm not quite sure what this watered down one is supposed to accomplish. Maybe a way to sneak some gay porn in to retailers that normally wouldn't carry the stuff, and act as a gateway drug for unsuspecting consumers? Or is it an attempt to legitimize porn actors by giving them a little more to do than what is required on the bed? Either goal seems silly, because the film only works when the guys are doing what they do best and not in the part that wants to be Hitchcock.

DVD Verdict was sent a screener that was a single disc with no extras. Amazon indicates its set is two discs, so perhaps there is more to this release than meets the eye. From what I can tell our screener is missing video diaries that document the production, an audio commentary from one of the actors, and a making-of featurette. My suggestion would be to hit up the TLA video adult web site if you want the "real deal" shipped to you which is advertised as containing over five discs of hardcore material. That makes more sense than settling for this which feels like a photo shoot in a cool location. San Francisco is shown a lot, and we get tons of looks at the Castro. The city becomes a character, and acts better than any of the cast members. The only problem is the film makes the people there look pretty harsh as the sex action in a back room continues despite a dead body lying in a corner. I guess that's the whole point of the film: you can't stop sex even with death is hanging right over you.

Focus/Refocus just makes me pine for something else, and that's the main problem with this "retail version." If you're looking for a "real movie" with graphic sex I would recommend Shortbus over this one; it shows more and has a better plot. If you're looking for a sexy murder thriller set in San Francisco you'd be better off with Basic Instinct. And if you want porn then go to the TLA web site and get the full version of this flick which should make for a pretty good porno thanks to having a plot for a change. The only thing this particular version of the film does is skip parts most people are going to want to see anyway. I mean who needs their porn to be a little prude and hold back? More "cock" and less "hitch" would help these guys out immensely, and this one just doesn't satisfy.

The Verdict

Guilty of trying to make porn have a plot, a pointless exercise in painful acting and stylish censored sex.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 69

Perp Profile

Studio: Breaking Glass
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 75 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Erotic
• Gay
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary
• Video Diaries
• Featurette


• TLA Video Store

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