With a budget of $375,000 (reportedly), "Upload" is one of the most expensive porn movies ever made. It had better be great, and it is.
Borrowing a little from bleak science fiction like "The Matrix", "Minority Report", "Strange Days", "eXistenZ", David Bowie's "Space Oddity" (with Hillary Scott as Major Tom) and, for some reason, selections from the score of "American Beauty", "Upload" integrates very dirty sex plausibly into a compelling, challenging script by Alvin Edwards and director Eli Cross.
Read our review after the gap.
Studio: Sex Z Pictures
Director: Eli Cross
Cast: Eva Angelina, Hillary Scott, Derrick Pierce, Trina Michaels, Sandra Romain, Bryn Pryor, Kylie Ireland, Evan Stone, Adrianna Nicole, Marco Banderas, Tee Reel, Brian Surewood, Alex Sanders, Julie Night, H.M. Smith, Michelle Aston, Delilah Strong, James Deen, Madison Young, Lorelei Lee, Aiden Starr
Most dramatic porn requires a suspension of disbelief. We watch performers play-acting serious dialogue like they are trying on strange clothes in an 80's montage sequence. And why should we expect more? When they're having sex on film, is that the way real people do it?
But "Upload" clicks each time, and just when you start worrying that a performer has bitten off more than he can chew, when you think, "Uh oh -, " the movie takes a corner.
Eva Angelina plays Cassandra Cray, an agent with the top secret, licensed to kill Digital Security Agency of the Homeland Security Department.
"I don't have to make you an enemy combatant to make you disappear from the planet," she says during an interrogation.
Angelina is on the trail of Tesla (Hillary Scott), a gal who records her sexual escapades onto a chip, or SIM, that allows others to experience what she does. She is, in the world of the movie, a SIMwhore, and that's illegal enough to attract Cassandra's attention.
But Scott isn't carrying any SIM. The data encoded on the chip Scott is protecting is a little more dynamic, and presents a threat to national security.
Other people's sex on a chip planted into one's own neck provides ample opportunity for relevant sex scenes. We watch what turns on Hillary and Eva as well as what passes through the minds of male leads Derrick Pierce and Bryn Pryor.
The movie is told in flashbacks. Angelina is brought before an Internal Affairs psychiatrist (Pryor) and she recounts the sordid tale of how she tracked down Tesla, what Tesla's interrogation revealed, and why love, when reduced to ones and zeros, might be worthwhile if there are enough of them to make the relationship interesting.
So the story is ambitious. "Upload" is not the first porn movie to shoulder a weighty script, but it does it more effectively than any porn movie I've seen. It trusts the audience to follow it along, doesn't overexplain, and has the admirable quality of joining scenes toward the middle of the action and leaving them before it's obvious they're through.
One example comes early in the movie. Angelina explains to Pryor how she first became aware of a new wrinkle in the local SIM-trafficking market. We follow her as she gets promoted past disgruntled wannabes in line at a club. She meets underworld types Evan Stone and Sandra Romain. Here warning bells rang. Why was Stone wearing sunglasses in the club? Was he a Terminator? No matter. As Angelina explained to her interrogator, she got her information not from an exchange of money, but -
- the scene shifts to the three of them fucking the shit out of each other, the demonic Sandra Romain slapping Angelina's pussy and face in rapid succession as Stone fucks the good agent. Clearly Angelina works in unorthodox ways.
But, she points out, in "Upload"'s filth-positive context, "I wasn't molested by my father, my Uncle Ronnie didn't touch me...wanna hear how my Dracula doll tied up and raped my Barbies when I was five?" Sometimes people feel dirty for no reason at all.
Eva Angelina is fantastic. "Upload" takes two discs to unravel and she is in almost every scene. Her character sometimes takes things lightly, sometimes hates herself, sometimes is inappropriate. In other words, she's in a porn movie but she has a character.
"I think you fantasize about being that agent that was taken captive," Pryor declares, after Angelina paints a vivid (but not Vivid) picture of the torture of tasty torturebait Julie Night by Adrianna Nicole and Alex Sanders, who growls over a dildo he is about to shove up Night's ass:
"Get it wet or I'm gonna stick it in you dry."
Angelina and partner Pierce become targets when they get too close to the identity of Gagarin, the man poised to take over the world's digital grid and, knocked out, Pierce has his own fantasy about being a 30's private eye, complete with black and white interludes with juicy femme fatale Kylie Ireland and willing secretary Delilah Strong.
"Upload" has planty of scenes that might not please timid couples. There is fisting, pissing, lots of anal, lots of choking, torture, rape, and running around topless while drinking. There is even an orgy scene in hell which, compared with the numbing effect of some of the other scenes, didn't make hell look that bad.
Standout scenes include the three-way with Stone, Romain, and Angelina, a glorious gang bang with Scott and five guys, including Brian Surewood in one of his for awhile, and a dusty desert menage a trois featuring the objects of Angelina's (and my own) fantasy: Adrianna Nicole, Lorelei Lee, and Madison Young.
"Upload" comes in a four-disc set with lots of extra features, most of which I didn't watch. A 12-minute sock puppet interpretation of the film, Laundry Load, is included on disc four and is a goofy but very faithful primer on the movie.
The people who make porn that seeks to be something more than Just Porn have the odds stacked against them. No one wants to believe it can be done, not because it can't, but because it often isn't. Even the unfortunate public relations department of producer Sex Z Pictures can't fathom having released a good porn movie. Here's the headline of a recent press release:
Seriously: Upload Is Great
"Upload" tries, and it succeeds. This is the type of movie performers like Angelina and Pierce, who have together been in hundreds of scenes, can be very proud of. It is certainly the best porn movie I've ever seen, and I usually can't stand the stuff.
· Buy "Upload" (sexzpictures.com)
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