Mickey Rourke is back as John but Kim Basinger just did the smash hit L.A. Confidential so she sure as shit wasn’t gonna appear in this thing. Instead we have Angie Everhart (The Substitute: Failure Is Not an Option, Jade) as an all new character called Lea.
John is depressed and all he can think about is Elizabeth so he finally decides to get up off his ass and go look for her in Paris. When he gets there he meets Lea who works with (for?) Elizabeth and asks to see her. Lea doesn’t comply and gives him the runaround leading to some precarious situations and boring events.
It seems that the idea was to reverse the roles this time and have Lea be the one in control and John the fish out of water. But that’s not really how it goes. Lea pathetically tries to seduce John and come up with some wacky shit to expand his horizons and make him feel vulnerable. The problem is John has been doing this shit for over a decade. This motherfucker is the master of twisted dumb sex games so to try and get the drop on him would be like me thinking I could defeat The Rock in a wrestling match. What’s cool is that the filmmakers actually realized this and had John act like the unshakable sage that he is. And it’s great how at the end Lea gets the comeuppance that she deserves for trying to play in the majors.
There are a few callbacks to the first film like Lea swipes her hand across John’s suits hanging in the closet, honey gets poured on Lea, she does a striptease (except backwards, she starts half naked and then puts clothes on), blindfolds, sex in a back alley and others.
In terms of story instead of a straight rehash they actually tried to continue the narrative which is a good idea. It’s just too bad that they made it so dull. If you found the original unexciting then you definitely won’t care for this. The way they tried to recapture the feeling of the first picture is very contrived and the loose premise is pretty aimless. Once you find out what happened to Elizabeth (which is fucking hilarious and seems completely out of character) the movie should end. That was John’s ultimate goal and he achieved it. But it goes on for another half hour with John and Lea shaking up in a hotel in the countryside having sex. And I didn’t get the subplot with Lea’s assistant and her physically abusive boyfriend. Not only was it superfluous but I don’t think it was resolved either.
This one wasn’t very good but it did make me think about something that I can’t believe I never noticed before. All of these sexy thrillers are directed by men, particularly white men. This movie was directed by a woman, Anne Goursaud (Embrace of the Vampire, editor: The Outsiders, Dracula (1992)), and when I saw that during the opening credits I consciously tried to find anything that may have been handled differently from most other sexy thrillers. I came up with a big ol’ goose egg. Nothing stood out to me with how the relationship was handled, how the sex was shot, how men and women are portrayed, etc. But it is a curious thing that generally men helm these sexy thrillers, especially if you think about the intended audience (but I’ll get into that at the end of this piece).
The first thing I noticed when I saw this was Mickey’s face. It was clear that this picture was shot after his rebooted boxing career because he looks like he had a ton of work done. His face may be shot to shit but at least he developed a low scratchy kinda hoarse voice that sounds really badass. So should you see it? Mickey did Double Team the same year as this using his new face and voice to much greater effect so I would recommend that instead.
Sex Scenes: One and a half. The half is for a scene between John and Lea that gets as close as you possibly can to a sex scene without the two of them actually having sex.
After Sex Scenes: Two.
Strange Cameos: Steven Berkoff, who’s been in lots of great stuff like A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), plays Lea’s business partner.
Dougray Scott (Mission: Impossible II) plays Lea’s assistant’s asshole boyfriend (I think).
Moving on to The First 9 ½ Weeks, this one has nothing to do with the previous two films. It’s about a stock broker, Matt (Paul Mercurio (Exit to Eden, Dancing with the Stars)), that needs to travel to New Orleans to close the “big deal” with a millionaire (Malcolm fucking McDowell, yes A Clockwork Orange, Caligula Malcolm McDowell). The rich guy’s wife (Clara Bellar (A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Dominion: Prequel to the Exorsist)) seduces Matt and she opens his mind to a world of fucked up…games, that don’t have much to do with sex actually.
It’s bad and pointless and (I’m gonna spoil it right here folks) the ending is just a rip off of The Game that came out the year before (which makes it totally fucking stupid in my opinion). Obviously these people were only cashing in on the 9 ½ Weeks name recognition. The title actually makes more sense than I would like to admit however it’s not a prequel telling how John got the way he is which is what everyone’s gonna think. What a bunch of sneaky assholes. Maybe at one point that’s what this film was because that’s basically what they were going for. The problem is that it’s set in modern day 1998 and our male lead is Australian. It may be nine and a half weeks long (which seems like a longer period of time than takes place in the movie) but it’s some other random guy’s first nine and a half weeks.
Ironically this one is the most thrilling (in terms of traditional thrills) out of the three. Our lead gets drugged, thrown in jail and a gun gets shoved in his face. No shootouts or car chases but it’s more than what happened in the first two movies.
Verdict? It’s crap, don’t see it.
Sex Scenes: Three.
After Sex Scenes: One.
Strange Cameos: Frederic Forrest plays Matt’s boss and he was fucking awesome as the Army surplus store owner/Nazi in Falling Down.
James Black (The Substitute 3: Winner Takes All) is the millionaire’s valet.
And, what the hell, I’m gonna throw Wild Orchid in here because it’s more or less 9 ½ Weeks set in Rio. It’s the same people who wrote 9 ½ Weeks (Zalman King, Patricia Louisianna Knop) and King even directs this time.
Carre Otis (uhh…she’s only acted in three other things and I haven’t seen any of them) gets hired as a lawyer for some company that immediately ships her down to Rio to make sure that the “big deal” goes through on a new construction project. Like her first day on the job is the flight to Rio. Her boss down there is Jacqueline Bisset (Bullitt, The Deep) and she’s 100% brassy dame. However, there’s a problem which requires her to go to Argentina so she asks if Carre can go on a date with millionaire Mickey Rourke in her place. Carre and Mickey play some sex games, they fall in love, etc.
This one is like if 9 ½ Weeks had a plot or at least a plot with stakes. Not that I really cared if the typical “big deal” was going to go through or not but at least there was something there that drove the characters to make decisions and cause a tiny amount of tension.
The relationship between Carre and Mickey doesn’t work that well in my opinion (kinda odd considering they were dating in real life at the time). He seems too old for her (Mickey was 37, Carre was 21) and there’s this thing where Mickey doesn’t like to be touched or something. Although, that could be part of the sex games. Even though Mickey feels like he’s not in this movie a whole lot I think he really is, which is not a testament to his performance. His character is basically the same as John from 9 ½ Weeks but blander and totally forgettable. And Carre is too innocent, too new to the world of dating and men that she comes across as being in way over her head. Elizabeth from 9 ½ Weeks knew what was going on, that their relationship was strange and fucked up, but she made the decision to continue down that path. Here Carre seems like she has no idea what she’s doing or what’s being done to her and that makes Mickey look like a creepy sexual predator.
While I was watching Wild Orchid this question occurred to me: who’s the target audience for these sex games movies? I guess it would have to be women right? They’re certainly not made for guys. Is this what women fantasize about, being swept away by some rich man that pushes their affectionate and sexual limits? I would think specifically the group the filmmakers are going for are women in their 20’s and up which is a huge demographic. So I guess that’s why there are so many of these types of pictures. And I want to make clear that I’m not talking about sexy thrillers because I think noir type films like Basic Instinct and Jade are for both women and men. Those usually have fist fights, shootouts, car chases, police work, interrogation, and the like. I wouldn’t consider sex gamers (a new phrase I’m coining) a subgenre of sexy thrillers but more of a lateral offshoot. As it is sexy thriller is a subgenre itself of action and a direct descendent of film noir in my opinion. But what do you guys think? Are these sex gamers meant for twenty something and up women? And are these the kinds of relationships that most women wish they could have in real life?
Sex Scenes: Four. The last one with Carre and Mickey is graphic and sweaty. I’m surprised they got an R rating ‘cause with this scene this sucker could’ve been NC-17.
After Sex Scenes: None.