Taking a hardcore film and cutting out the sex seems a ludicrous idea, like removing the fights from a martial-arts flick. Yet, while the purpose of Pirates is largely removed in this R-rated version, what results is not entirely without merit, and is surprisingly watchable. The main reason for this is Stone, who plays inept pirate-hunter Captain Reynolds; he delivers lines in a way somewhere between Jack Sparrow and Rod Serling, that's genuinely entertaining to watch. He's on the trail of Victor Stagnetti, who has kidnapped the descendant of...someone, in order to do...something, which will give him...something. Sue us if we're kinda vague on the details. Whatever it is does, however, lead to much bonking, and also CGI Inca skeletons - the latter, a first for an adult film, to my (limited, but in this case, fairly certain) knowledge.
The full version ran 129 minutes, this a mere 82, but the editing is well enough done that it isn't too obvious. It feels like a soft version was an afterthought but, believe it or not, the MPAA were tougher on it than Basic Instinct 2; as a result, you'd see more flesh, late-night on Skinemax. It is, of course, utter nonsense, unless you think silicone, Botox and peroxide were abundant in the 17th century; if your tastes lean that way, you'll be in heaven. Being honest, most of the acting is as convincing as the (edited-out) female orgasms, and the special effects look as fake as the breasts - it may be the most expensive adult film of all time, that's still barely $1m. But it's a big step, both back to an era when porn had plots, and forward, blurring the lines between Hollywood and its bad - but perhaps more profitable? - adult entertainment brother.
[The film will be released in the US on July 11th, For more information, visit MTI's website.]