REVIEWS
Cafe Flesh 2

The same old cliches of porn are true in many productions. There’s no plot, no concept, bored-looking models who can’t act just going through the motions. On the other hand, in adult videos that have taken the time to lay out a concept, sex scenes are often bogged down with insufferable dialogue and ridiculous self-importance.

Twenty years ago, a film called Cafe Flesh directed by Rinse Dream broke down the cliches and came very close to achieving mainstream status. The concept that drove the film was easy to understand: five years after a nuclear holocaust, the world is inhabited by a population who are 99% "sex negatives" and 1% "sex positives." Not only are the negatives unable to make love without becoming violently ill, they have established places of public amusement where the positives perform for them. This jumping-off point sets the groundwork for a series of creative, if a little dark and twisted, sex scenes. This movie was created with care, actors who could act, entertaining sex scenes and a solitary artistic idea that still holds up today. One reviewer even commented that you might want to fast forward through the sex scenes just to keep up with the plot.

Nearly twenty years later, Cafe Flesh 2 adopts the concept and puts an all-new spin on the classic. Gladly, the formula works again and manages to avoid the same cliches avoided by the first and even works as the rare sequel that is as good, if not better, than the original. The first and most noticeble difference in this version directed by first-timer Antonio Passolini and released by VCA Pictures is the color palette. Gone is the dark, brooding mood of the first, replaced with a lively, candy-coated look that blends retro-kitsch with neon colors. But this film is still full of dark atmosphere that give the whole film the twisted feel of the original.

The sex scenes are more and more imaginative ranging anywhere from a bullfight with voluptuous Raylene to delectable French model Rebecca Lord taking on two mimes to Mustang Sally Layd in her own 1960s retro-kitsch fantasy. Stacy Valentine appears as an erotic disco diva from the 1970s who was frozen during the era of free love and experimentation and then thawed out in this post-apocalyptic world. Not only does she look stunning in the role, her hair and makeup easily make up for every Farrah Fawcett fantasy you may have had during the original run of Charlie’s Angels.

Outstanding as well is Jeanna Fine who, finally, we can see as an actress as well as the sexual dynamo familiar to many fans. Fine is Violet Chinchilla, the owner of the club where all of this elaborate and creative decadence takes place. She even has her own scorching moment in the film in a welding shop scene amid sparks (literal and figurative) and industrial fetish style costume.

With "a talking brain, wasteland nomads, haunting twins in matching electric charis, a get-rich-quick sewer rat" and just about everything else in this psychedelic setting, Cafe Flesh 2 is bound to have something for just about everyone looking for a film that is sexually explicit without being dumb and interesting enough without being boring or preachy.

Cafe Flesh 2 Directed by Antonio Passolini, starring Jeanna Fine, Raylene, Stacy Valentine, Mustang Sally Layd, Rebecca Lord, Vince Voyeur, Alec Metro, John Decker and others (VCA Pictures 1998), $24.95.

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