The befuddled Judge Bill Gibron cannot remember why that title seems oddly familiar.
It's time to sample the Lara Croft of lesbianism!
The famed archeologist, Cora Loft, has some problems. Her sleep is usually interrupted by a Divinyls desire to touch herself. And when she's not "petting the llama," Cora's fending off the advances of lesbian assassins. Called in by the callous criminal mastermind, Professor/Doctor Scrotus to retrieve some ancient icons, Cora initially refuses. But when the chance to discover what happened to her explorer pappy is dangled before her D-cups (along with a chance at some international sexcapades), our girlie grave robber can only say, "Sure."
First stop on the wicked world tour is "Arabia," that far-off and mystical land of "Arabians." There, Cora must infiltrate the harem to swipe the sacred something from a pseudo-sheik. She uses lesbianism to win the day. A single-engine aircraft flight later, and Ms. Loft is loosening her loins at Lion Country Safari…oops, in "Africa." There she must defeat an eternally vigilant vixen who hasn't had any lesbianism in 300 years. Cora gracelessly offers her Sappho services (and gets the second sanctified "it" along the way). Final Destination…was a better movie than this. Anyway, Cora goes to Tibet and finds the third holy widget in the shrine of some sex-starved statues. You guessed it, lesbianism is utilized to satiate the golden figurines. But won't you know it, just as Cora has her batch turned, one of Scrotus's hench-wenches steals the trio of trinkets. And it's up to Cora to find a non-lesbianism way to retrieve them. This is one tough assignment for our labia lover. After all, they don't call her Cora Loft, Womb Raider, for nothing.
Wow! It's hard to imagine a movie more in love with the notion of gal-on-gal glad-handing than the Picasso Trigger pretender, Womb Raider. This familiar, formulaic approach to softcore sex flicks (utilizing the adult entertainment ideal of putting a spoofy spin on an easily recognizable pop culture icon or film title to make a lusty lampoon) stands out from all the other coaxial crap that passes for erotic adventure moviemaking for one reason, and one reason only: its celebration of matching mammary mischief. Any chance this movie has of getting the lead lassies to let down their lingerie and allow their fingers (and tongues and various and sundry other "body" parts) to do the Tantric talking is illogically leapt upon.
Director Randolph Scott (RAN-dolph SCOTT!) understands that every computer geek or flesh-happy fanboy who's spent broad bandwidth time downloading homemade hump films of the world's favorite "crypt robber" will be lining up the lotion to experience a non-Jolie version of their beloved video game vixen. And what better showcase for Ms. Croft's (make that, Ms. "Loft's") considerable "talents" than a slick bit of ersatz porn with plenty of sin and skin. Womb Raider truly delivers in double-D delirium. It takes any opportunity to have actress (?) Lauren Hayes strip off her skivvies and gallivant about in her body makeup birthday suit, carefully crafted surgical seductiveness flawlessly lit and photographed. This adventure wench will be climbing a sand dune in the middle of the "Arabian" desert or driving a jeep through the "Veldt" or "Africa" and, when the merry mood hits her, she'll take a moment from her quest and unleash her binary-barreled boobs. It's a true hallmark of Womb Raider's raison d'être. And this itching to get fetching must be contagious. Any other femme our heroine runs into gets stark raving buck-ass naked the minute "Cora" sets chest on her.
Indeed, the world of Womb Raider is a strange and Sapphic one, a land where lipstick lesbianism is used to commemorate any and every thing. It's a greeting, a kind of handshake substitute. It's a peace offering, a way to make ancient immortal Zulu warriors (yep, this movie's got one of those) let down their guard. It's a means of convincing a guest to attend an invitation-only meeting with a mysterious doctor of anthropology. And it's the celebration at the end of a job well done, a bonus for the co-worker who stuck beside you the entire time (even when she was actually working for the other side for most of the movie—huh?). Yes sir, on the Lay Lady Lay scale of girls gettin' it on, Womb Raider's is right up there with Bound and The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars in the art of artificial aardvarking. In true blue movie methodology, the paltry portions of plot will suddenly shut down as a couple of actresses, enhanced with sacks of silicone and buckets of baby oil, proceed to flick each other's chickens for far too many moments. In the world of the softcore sex film, there are really no perceivable limits to lesbianism. Some would argue that there is no such thing as an overdose of disrobed dames discombobulating each other's dirty pillows. But Womb Raider makes a strong case for keeping the vaginal vectoring to a minimum, if only to keep the audience from rolling their loins and saying, "Oh boy, yet another scene of babes bumping breastplates. Yeah."
Too bad this is all that Womb Raider really has going for it. Frankly, the filmmakers should have lavished the same attention to detail on the script that they spent on the settings and costume design. Ms. Hays makes a much more convincing Croft than Jon Voight's vacant spawning (they both have bad English accents, though—and Ms. Hayes is dubbed?!?), but it is mostly because her ultra-scant outfits do a better job of conforming to a gamer's ideal of glamour. The rest of the cast looks like rejects from the John Waters version of Goldfinger (what is up with Dr. Scrotus's glitter glam eye shadow? And what kind of name is Scrotus, anyway? Armenian?) and are hampered by having all the dialogue handled in a post-production ADR fashion. Aside from how really strange this is, you'd think that when re-recording the voice of an awkward, amateurish actress, you'd get someone who could actually improve on the performance. But the perverse thing about the voiceovers in Womb Raider is that they actually seem to be as bad as—or worse than—the talent-free thespians on display in the film. Taken together with the non-stop nookie pneumatics, the "taking themselves too seriously" atmosphere to the rest of the movie, and the lack of any real resolution to the plot (things just seem to gather up at the end and try to resolve themselves, kind of like a couple going through a bitter divorce). Womb Raider is just a Penthouse Forum fantasy come to life with few actually arousing antics. Its mix of sex, pseudo-silliness and super-duper stylistic sincerity just doesn't add up to a fun or frisky proto-porn flesh flick.
On the cover of this DVD, Cyber Scan Productions (who is apparently distributing this movie on their own) proclaims a digital package "loaded with extras." Obviously, these newcomers to the realm of aluminum disc description have fallen into the major studio trap of calling anything beyond the basic movie a special edition bonus. A trailer, sadly, is not a very viable extra. An ad for the soundtrack album to this film is not really added content. Legitimately, the 20-minute behind-the-scenes featurette is a welcome bit of supplementary documentation, allowing the crew to discuss the trial and tribulations of making a no-budget sex film. While they never address the dubbing, or how they got some of these actresses to exchange genetic material, it's still intriguing to see the Oz who masterminded this lezfest.
As for the aural and visual elements, Womb Raider is not half bad. The full screen 1.33:1 transfer is occasionally far too bright, allowing natural light and outdoors footage to be bathed in excessive whites. There is also an occasional shimmer to the stationary shots (like the colors are just about to flare). But for a flick with limited finances, the photography is very imaginative. And Scott does know how to direct, keeping the film focused and the pace brisk. Now if we could just teach him the value of a wide shot…
Anyway, on the sonic side, Jack-of-All-Jerks Scott is responsible for the Casio keyboard balderdash that makes up the majority of the cinematic soundscape heard in the motion picture. The Dolby Digital Stereo sets it off in impressive fashion, but this is not Brian Eno's Music for Films we've got here. The awkward ambiance Scott creates, matched against his trite techno leanings, makes the aural atmosphere a tad unbearable (but suitably pseudo-pornographic) at times.
So if the idea of a Tomb Raider rip-off that consists mostly of our Lara Croft wannabe waxing the weasels of her fellow females sounds like a superb Saturday night for you and several of your programmer friends, then by all means, grab this goof and feast your fetlocks on the flesh flood. But for anyone else, Womb Raider will be an ultra-slick adult tease title that should have just chucked the plot and simply brought on the full-fledged XXX porn. Like Lord of the G-Strings or Privates of the Caribbean, this semi-twisted take on the tits-and-ass extravaganza wants to pander and palpitate. It's just not sure whom it wants to drown in its spoofing sugared softcore.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Studio: Indican Pictures
• Behind the Scenes Featurette
Review content copyright © 2004 Bill Gibron; Site design and review layout copyright © 2013 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.