Direct from Vancouver music-video hell comes this tarted-up mongrel of an erotic/political thriller that's so overwrought it rises to tabloid-level surrealism. Released on video under the title ULTIMATE DESIRES, it just may lure movie trash aficionados who'd thought they'd seen it all. Amidst much smoke, shadows and fog, portentious voiceovers, dream sequences...read more
Direct from Vancouver music-video hell comes this tarted-up mongrel of an erotic/political thriller that's so overwrought it rises to tabloid-level surrealism. Released on video under the title ULTIMATE DESIRES, it just may lure movie trash aficionados who'd thought they'd seen it all.
Amidst much smoke, shadows and fog, portentious voiceovers, dream sequences and incoherent Steadicam sweeps, the film relates the ultralurid tale of Samantha Stewart (Tracy Scoggins), a prim, bespectacled public defender in a neon-lit American metropolis. Her sheltered life changes when she gives
a lift to Vicky (Suzy Joachim), a sexy prostitute on the run from assassins of "za Brotherhood," an underworld tribunal of silhouetted guys with funny facial hair, crazy post-synced voices and lines like "We cannot rest until we have the broach!" Vicky the hooker is soon murdered, but not before
passing on the broach to Samantha, who decides from their brief meeting that the late B-girl was her best friend in the whole world. Logically, the heroine concludes it's fun to be a whore, and she adopts Vicky's attitude, wardrobe and street corner.
Samantha "discovers the darkest aspects of her own sexuality," as the publicity notes put it. On screen this translates into the succulent Scoggins donning a fetishistic assortment of lingerie and lace and preening in front of her window at night, as disco melodies on the soundtrack reach
saturation. This, plus her repeated inquiries into Vicky's death, draw the attention of the broach-hungry Brotherhood. "The blame for a new Cold War must fall in Soviet hands, not in ours!" declares a Mr. Big with a voice uncannily like that of Oscar the Grouch from "Sesame Street."
A handsome agent named Jonathan (Marc Singer), supposedly employed by the Brotherhood, seduces and saves Samantha, blowing up the whole cabal of baddies in their purple lair. In what passes for an explanation Jonathan tells Samantha that he's part of a joint conspiracy-within-the-conspiracy
between the CIA and the KGB to kill the peaceful US and Russian presidents and plunge the world back into the immensely profitable two-superpower arms race. He departs to do his bit, leaving Samantha back to dressing like a librarian again, sadder and wiser.
So what do we learn from ULTIMATE DESIRES? First and foremost that the direct-to-video filler market has a bottomless (more often topless) appetite for erotic psychosexual cheap-thrillers, like NIGHT EYES, BODY CHEMISTRY, MIRROR IMAGES etc. Some of these debased relatives of BODY HEAT and BASIC
INSTINCT venture into softcore territory, but ULTIMATE DESIRES doesn't get quite so explicit, confining itself mainly to Scoggins acting out the whole Frederick's of Hollywood catalogue. Not until late in the film does Samantha actually have sex with Jonathan, superhuman self-control for the
genre. When the bedroom scenes roll around the voyeurs will get what they want.
Second, producer-director Lloyd A. Simandl has little faith in Washington's New World Order, as further evidenced in his later PROJECT: SHADOWCHASER, an equally garish action/science fiction melange with a government coup and an ill-fated president involved. ULTIMATE DESIRES certainly doesn't lack
ambition as the filmmakers expand from T & A noir into global intrigue, but the sleaze negates any nihilistic intent.
Third lesson: on the soundtrack someone named Cathy St. Germain belts out a cover version of "What About Love" that's as torrid as Heart's original hit single. ULTIMATE DESIRES, meanwhile, remains a poor imitation of a movie. (Violence, substance abuse, profanity, nudity, sexual situations, adultsituations.)
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