Passion Network

Wonderfully, Needlessly Complicated

Look, actual graphics in a Skinamax film! There goes the special effects budget! A pretty cool graphic, too, the sort of thing you might expect to see on a 70s detective novel.

I have a weakness for movies like Passion Network, OK? Not because it's a Skinamax film -- though that helps, definitely. It's because it has a wonderfully, needlessly complicated plot about secret sex clubs that cater to the tastes of the wealthy and degenerate -- one of the staples of Internet bondage porn stories.

Like the soon-to-be-reviewed Velvet, Passion Network is another case of a wonderful framework for bondage fantasies that misses out completely on the bondage. In fact, the one bondage-like segment -- a spanking delivered to gorgeous protagonist Stephanie Beaton's very spankable butt -- is edited almost completely out -- it lasts for less than two seconds. Unlike Velvet, Passion Network is fun even without the bondage, in part because it's so baroquely silly.

The story starts with Beaton reporting the shooting death of her husband to a couple of disbelieving cops. And frankly, I don't blame them, because her story is, well, needlessly complicated.

The first part of her story seemed immensely believable to me, however, since it involved Beaton writhing on a bed lasciviously and then being discovered writhing there by her husband, and then making love to her husband. Beaton is a gorgeous redhead who apears to have made adroit use of self-tanner to make her complexion -- and I mean every square inch of her complexion -- match her hair. Beaton writhes so beautifully that she looks like a coppery pool of shimmering woman-lust. I BELIEVED that part of the story, alrighty.

A coppery pool of shimmering woman-lust -- BELIEVE it.

It seems that her husband and her were really, really good at having sex with one another. Olympian-level fuckers, in fact. Somehow (it's never explained how) the people of the Society of The Ring (aka the Passion Network) find out what great fuckers they are. The Passion Network finagles them into coming to one of their wealthy enclaves, where they both have sex with lots of people (and Stephanie, as already reported, gets spanked).

The many faces of Stephanie. Left, she's smokin' a ciggy and lookin' cool as she tells her story to the cops. Center, she grimaces over a one-second spanking. Right, her agent informs her how little she's getting paid for being in this flick.

After their session, they meet one of the Passion Network's higher-ups who tells them they have an incredibly high sexuality quotient (whatever the hell that is) and that their sexiness makes them good prospects to join the Passion Network, where they'll be given lots of money to have sex with other members of the network on a strictly voluntary basis.

Stephanie smells a rat and wants out immediately. Hubbie is interested in the deal -- the huge amounts of money and all the sex with lots of different beautiful babes interests him for some reason.

Now, you gotta give Passion Network half a credit for thinking to ASK a question that begs to be asked in movies of this type: "What's the big deal with wealthy swingers setting up swing clubs and having lots of sex?" This is the VERY question I've asked myself time and again while watching films with such plots, which occur in bondage-themed stories with amazing regularity.

Lets' face it, if you're wealthy in America -- say, you're a millionaire -- you can enjoy the sexual favors of very attractive women for what is, to you, chump change. For a few hundred bucks at most, a hot babe will be kneeling at your feet, sucking your dick and doing whatever else you might like.

So, what's the point of setting up these elaborate schemes which often involve murder, kidnapping and other illegal activities, just to get a something you can have for pocket change without getting involved in activities that can land you in jail? (OK, theoretically hiring a prostitute COULD land you in jail, but the odds are very low, and so are the penalties, whereas murder, kidnapping, etc. carry some HEFTY time.)

If all you want is straight sex, or even kinky sex if it's consensual, you just pay willing women what are to you small sums of cash and you're THERE!

The fact that Passion Network has a protagonist with the presence of mind to ask such a question is an indicator that somebody involved in the movie had a little something on the ball -- probably the scriptwriter.

"You are obviously intelligent young people. Therefore, I'm going to have to ask you to ignore the fact that what I'm about to tell you makes no sense."

Unfortunately, the question isn't adequately answered, in fact, it isn't answered at all, for reasons that seem to make sense later in the film, but which ultimately make no sense at all.

And I can't reveal any more than that about the story without giving away the twists of what's a surprisingly twisty little plot, for a Skinamax film. Considering all the gratuitous sex scenes they packed into the film, they really did a great job of keeping the plot rolling along. (They used the cop interview format to provide a lot of narrative exposition that went from sex scene to sex scene very easily and naturally -- as if it were an episode of Law & Order that instead of showing the suspects being interviewed and the guilty being rounded up, showed the suspects having sex -- which on most Law & Order programs would be enough justify an arrest.)

What I'd like to see is something LIKE Passion Network but with a bondage theme. The REASON the sex club would be secret would be that the wealthy people running it were depraved evil captor types who, when they're not working on plans to dominate the world, like to have some genuine sex slaves to play with. Not ho-for-dough sex slaves, the real thing, which would explain all the kidnapping and secrecy and such.

And it wouldn't have to be a straight-ahead sexual bondage story, you could have tons and tons of vanilla sex as part of the slaves' training and performance, along with all the sexual bondage. Something for everyone, as it were.

All the bondage and captivity would add a LOT of dramatic urgency to the story, which is missing in the case of stories cast in the mold of "Passion Network" because it's so hard for normal folk to figure out what's so terrible about people having sex.

Playboy will probably never pick up on the dramatic potential of bondage in such stories, as it has pretty much eschewed bondage themes, but you know, Spike is gonna need content as it develops, as will other men-oriented stations (FX seems to be moving in that direction).

Maybe someday soon there'll be a Passion Network with all the DiD action you could ask for. In the meantime we have Passion Network in all its silly, needlessly complicated glory. That's something, alrighty.

No, she's not YAWNING! That's former Playboy Playmate Devin de Vasquez livening up a couple of sex scenes in Passion Network with some enthusiastic writhing and humping. Even without bondage, Passion Network is still fun to watch. And this seems a fine way to end our review.