What we get here is very solidly shot piece of work presented in anamorphic widescreen. At times it does have a cheap shot-on-video look, which is partly due to the fact that it was shot on video, partly due to the lighting not always being expertly done, but by porn standards itís still quite good in the visual department. The big question, however, is of course to what extent Woodman manages to emulate the style and the stylishness of the original. This is porn so no-one would expect it to look as stunning a Sin City, but there were a lot of scenes shot against a green screen and filled in with CGI in post-production. Ideally, this could have helped to create that comic-book-come-to-life feel of the original but more often than not it just gave a feel of fakeness to the scenes. So Woodman never really succeeds in nailing that comic-book-come-to-life feel, but what he does is to mix black-and-white footage with color footage and also to highlight certain objects with color in otherwise black-and-white scenes. I must say that I found the black-and-white nicely done and often it was when a scene changed into color that it started looking a bit cheap.
Story and Acting
Quite a lot of feature porn takes its inspiration from mainstream films, sometimes in an easy attempt to tell a good story, sometimes by doing a parody. Sex City is very faithful to the story of Sin City, telling the tales of three men who all in their own ways go up against the corrupt men in power who run the city. The focus here is on the counterpart to Mickey Rourkeís character, a big strong guy whoís often very violent but whoís also got a good heart deep-down. There are also counterparts to the characters played by Bruce Willis (one of few honest cops in town) and Clive Owen (whoís helping out a gang of prostitutes in their struggle for power), but in Woodmanís version these two characters take the back seat. Ultimately the big guy and the cop do however team up and bring the show to conclusion.
Since it is a blatant rip-off, the overarching story is a lot better and more complex than in most feature porn, but unfortunately the dialogue is so incredibly wooden that itís just a pain to sit through. Itís badly written and then the delivery is just so flat. And apart from the voice acting (dubbing, which is employed here, is rarely the road to greatness in that department) the acting in terms of facial expressions and general demeanor is on a level far below that which you find in American porn. Itís a pity because it makes the whole project a bit pointless. Thereís obviously been a bit of an effort put in here, but when it comes to the feature bits of this piece of feature porn, the results are barely watchable.
Each part clocks in at about three hours and given that the story is still a bit thinner than in Sin City, itís easy to understand what you get here: a lot of sex. All in all, I think there are about thirty sex scenes here. They just keep coming. And thatís also one of the biggest problems with Sex City, there really is no build-up to the sex. If two or three people are in a room together, they will suddenly start to have sex. Why are they having sex? Well, because they can. Obviously Woodman doesnít subscribe to the idea that the point of feature porn is that there should be a point to the sex. It just happens. Again and again and again. Itís a bit numbing really.
Now, Pierre Woodman is no hack when it comes to shooting anal-themed sex and there is an undeniable level of craftsmanship here, but the sex is still very formulaic. Itís almost always the same-old blow-job to vaginal to anal in all the standard positions (with a little ATM and even ATOGM thrown in for good measure). The positions and the camera angels donít vary much from scene to scene and thereís very little chemistry between the performers. There has been talk the last few years that Private is now gearing towards the so-called couples market and one might think that a production like this should provide a good opportunity for just that. But aside from the fact that in order to succeed you need dialogue and acting far better than this, I donít think the sex here really is couples material. Itís not rough or abusive, but itís just by-the-numbers porn with a lot of anal.
Of course, just as you might expect from Private, many of the women here are very hot (especially Xenia Love and Sonia Carter are really stunning) and theyíre hot in a way that looks much more natural than a lot of the performers in American porn. Also, while thereís nothing original about the sex positions or the camera angels, there are a lot of shots here that still look very nice. But ultimately itís difficult for me not to come away from Sex City with a sense of dissatisfaction. Simply put, this is quantity above quality.
If youíve watched other Private features in recent years and enjoyed them, youíre probably going to find this good value for money. The sex has that Private ďfeelĒ to it and thereís a lot of it. Now, many people (myself included) find that the sex in Private productions tend to be a bit robotic and cold, but might still enjoy an occasional Private feature if itís decently done. In that case however, there really is no reason to opt for this one.