Murphy’s Law – A SFW review of Batman XXX

Joel Murphy

Joel Murphy

With its cheesy plotlines, jazzy music and skintight outfits, the 1960s Batman TV show lends itself surprisingly well to the world of porn. But that doesn’t mean any ol’ porn parody of the show is automatically going to be a hit. This is porn for comic book nerds – unless you want to get pwnd by angry fanboys on message board threads across the net, your film needs an appreciation of the source material and a careful attention to detail.

So while Batman XXX: A Porn Parody has garnered a ton of attention from fans and the mainstream media ever since its inception (the teaser trailer alone received 150,000 views within its first 24 hours online), the question still remains – does it live up to the hype? Luckily, the fine folks at Vivid Entertainment were nice enough to send me a review copy, so today I have that answer for you.

And that answer is – for the most part, yes. It’s clear that director Axel Braun has an appreciation for the original TV show. The costumes are identical to the originals (except the trademarked logos on Batman and Robin’s chests have been replaced with Xs). It has everything you would expect to see – the generic henchmen and beautiful gun molls flanking the villains, the red Batphone wired directly to the Commissioner’s office and even Barbara Gordon’s secret revolving wall concealing her Batgirl costume. The film gets the littlest details right, as well – The Joker has a mustache underneath his clown makeup, Batman orders a grapefruit juice instead of an alcoholic beverage at the bar and the Dynamic Duo make sure to mention that they are “duly deputized officers of the law” when locking up the bad guys.

We also get many scenes that mirror iconic moments from the original series. The opening credits are animated with cartoon versions of the actors. Batman does the Batusi in a discothèque. Batman and Robin slide down poles hidden behind a bookcase to get down to the Batcave (though sadly, we never see the Batcave). There is the famous “sideways camera, climbing up a building” shot (complete with Ron Jeremy popping his head out the window to say hello in the requisite celebrity cameo – which earns a “Holy hedgehog, Batman!” from Robin). We even get a climactic fight scene with pop up sound effects and a cliffhanger ending telling us to tune in next time to find out the fate of Batman and Robin. (Amazingly though, Braun never uses the sound effect bubbles during a sex scene, which seems like such a missed opportunity.)

Of course, I wouldn’t be doing my job as an Internet writer if I didn’t also point out a few details that bugged me. One thing that I noticed was that, as perfect as the costumes are, the eye slots in Batman and Robin’s masks were slightly off-centered. I know that sounds like such a minor complaint, but it had this weird effect of making both actors appear at times either cross-eyed or as if their eyes were too close together, which is not the look you want from your two stars. Now, while that minor glitch is forgivable, my other complaint is not – they made Barbara Gordon a blonde instead of a redhead. Babs has already had to endure paralysis at the hands of The Joker and being portrayed by Alicia Silverstone in that Schumacher fiasco; so damn it, she deserves better than to be blonde in this unauthorized porn parody. Surely there had to be a ginger out there willing to take that part or, at the very least, a bottle of red dye on the set that Lexi Belle could have used.

Thankfully, the rest of the casting is pretty spot on. Tori Black, who in addition to being quite lovely actually looks quite a bit like Lee Meriwether, is perfectly (you thought I was going to write purr-fectly, didn’t you? Come on, we’re better than that) cast as Catwoman. Randy Spears as The Joker, sporting the aforementioned painted mustache, does a great job channeling Cesar Romero. He really seems to be having fun in the role, easily stealing every scene he is in. Dale Dabone and James Deen are pretty good as Batman and Robin, especially in their line deliveries. (Dabone with Adam West’s strange pauses and Deen with Burt Ward’s squeaky Robin-isms.) David Alan also gets a special shout out for playing Chief O’Hara and doing his best to capture that character’s memorable Irish brogue.

I also really enjoyed Kimberly Kane’s charismatic portrayal of Lisa Carson, Bruce Wayne’s socialite girlfriend (a role that, oddly enough, was also played by Lee Meriwether in the original series). Batman XXX’s version of Lisa is quite the philanthropist – she has plans to hold a fundraiser for deaf children with blind parents. That being said, she really isn’t the world’s best girlfriend – as soon as she is kidnapped by The Riddler, she seduces him in hopes of getting better sleeping arrangements for her cell. (Making matter worse, I’m not even sure a thin mattress was the reason for her discomfort – after watching her in action, it seems like the bigger problem was the uncomfortable ways she positioned herself on the bed).

Speaking of The Riddler, Evan Stone is the one actor who seems really out of place in the film. Stone looks absolutely nothing like the late great Frank Gorshin (though Stone would make a great caveman if they ever decide to make a Geico porn parody). Also, while I applaud his enthusiasm for the role, Stone delivers his lines as if he is playing a coked-up William Shatner with Tourette’s.

I do have to give Stone some credit though. The DVD extras (yes, there are DVD extras and yes, I watched them) reveal that he choreographed the climactic fight scene between the heroes and the villains, so Stone gets a special shout out for having Robin get knocked out in one shot, leaving Batman and Batgirl to take care of the bad guys. (When Robin recovers, he spouts off a “Holy glass jaw!” which made me laugh.) Also, if Stone had anything to do with choosing the word “Zlonk!” as one of the pop up sound effects, he is completely exonerated in my book.

Speaking of the extras, if, like me, you go to Hooters for the wings and read Playboy for the articles, you’ll be happy to know there is also a nifty “No-sex” version of the film. That’s right, you can enjoy all of the great Bat-parody without all of those tedious sex scenes. It’s also quite a time saver, too. The original film is two hours long, while the “No-sex” version clocks in at just over 25 minutes. (That’s right – one hour and 35 minutes of sex. Show offs.)

If you do opt for the full-length version, comic book fans, you should appreciate the fact that Batman and Batgirl both keep their gloves, capes and cowls on at all times. Robin, on the other hand, is pretty quick to remove his cape when it’s business time. Also, Catwoman, in a show of bad form, takes off her mask at the end of the film when Batman and Robin decide to double team her in a … um … rather unorthodox form of punishment. (When she lost her mask, it undoubtedly finally dawned on Bruce that Miss Kitka had really been Catwoman the whole time.)

Overall, I think Braun and Co. did a commendable job with this film. You can sleep soundly knowing that for the most part Vivid got it right this time. Though I can’t promise things will go as well in the inevitable sequel, when they mix things up by introducing The Penguin and King Tut. That’s an hour and 35 minutes of carnage you’ll never be able to unsee.

Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at murphyslaw@hobotrashcan.com.

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Comments(10)
  1. murf June 2, 2010
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