Pirates 2: Stagnetti’s Revenge
by Jason Coffman
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Porn “remakes” or “parodies” of popular films and tv series are nothing new, but 2005’s Pirates was considerably more ambitious than most of its ilk. The film was a popular crossover success, with an R-rated version finding its way into (*cough*) reputable video stores. Apparently both versions raked in enough money for producers Digital Playground to justify a sequel that (according to the press materials) is made with “ten times the budget” of the last one. However, the unavoidable question remains: who exactly is the target audience for an R-rated version of a hardcore film?
Well, from the looks of it, the audience is: people who liked the idea of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but who don’t want to sit through nearly three hours of pirate hijinks at a time. Also, more sex would be nice.
Pirates 2: Stagnetti’s Revenge opens with a brief introduction of its chief villainess Xifeng (Katsuni) before launching into ten minutes or so of exposition explaining how its main characters came to be where they are today. Evan Stone reprises his role as dim-bulb sea captain Edward Reynolds, ably assisted by first mate Jules Steel (Jesse Jane). One of their cohorts, a former colleague of evil pirate Victor Stagnetti (Tommy Gunn), has been marked for death by the King for her pirate ways. Reynolds and Steel, urged on by Olivia (Belladonna), seek her pardon, but learn they must retrieve a magical pearl stolen from the Church in order to do so. Naturally, the pearl was used to return Stagnetti from the dead, so that works out nicely for everyone.
The producers of Pirates 2 clearly understood that it would be to their benefit to make a coherent film even without the sex scenes, so the film moves along at a decent clip while packing in various wacky characters and some Playstation-era cut scene CGI that’s at least as effective as anything in the latest Asylum mockbuster. In this respect, it’s actually better than the cumbersome, overlong Pirates of the Caribbean sequels— it knows what the audience wants (buckling swashes, etc.) and it wastes very little time in serving up exactly that. There might be an extra character or two whose presence is barely explained, but oh well. For the most part it all makes sense, although I have no idea why some of these people have any stake in anything that’s going on. They’re mostly nice to look at, though, so I guess that makes up for any confusion.
One aspect of the film that wasn’t cut was its humor. Adult film is not known for its delicate, politically correct humor— after all, who’s going to be offended by what these characters say given what they’re usually doing? However, cut out the sex scenes and you end up with some dialogue that you don’t usually hear in an R-rated film. Even the most dire of Wayans brothers projects wouldn’t have a character blurt out “I fucked my retarded cousin” for a quick laugh, but that’s the sort of dialogue on display here. Additionally, anyone sensitive about racial stereotypes should give the film a wide berth, or turn the sound off any time Chinese cook Wu Chow and/or his sister Ai (Shay Jordan) are on the screen. Yikes.
So what are we left with? A guilty pleasure, although perhaps nowhere near as guilty as it would be with the extra 45 minutes or so of sex scenes in the hardcore version. It’s a fast-paced, extremely goofy 95 minutes that you’ll probably mostly forget as soon as it’s over, but while it’s on there’s not much to complain about. The acting is mostly pretty awful, but there are some moments of genuinely inspired humor— particularly Steven St. Croix’s poor-man’s Will Ferrell take on a depressed pirate. There are a couple of heavily edited sex scenes, but mostly it seems more like a parody of a porno movie: every other scene obviously leads up to a sex scene, but in this R-rated version the film just jumps ahead to the next plot point.
Pirates 2 isn’t high art, but it’s passable entertainment. And if you’re committed to spending over two hours watching pirate antics, you can just watch the unrated version, which is about as long as the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie, only probably a lot more interesting.
Jason Coffman is a film critic living in Chicago.
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