Pointless, too, is the Roman setting. Never mind that the history’s all wrong—as a matter of fact, I was impressed that someone knew enough of Commodus’ reign to screw it up in recognizable ways rather than simply making up the story from scratch. (The benefit of an Italian director, perhaps.) But nobody cares about that anyway. Of far more importance—in a porno context—is ancient Roman fashion. It works for the men—the emperor, gladiators, and Praetorian Guardsmen all have distinctive costumes; I’m happy for the six people whose eyes are glued to them. The women, however, are left to wear nondescript white togas, and these come off with such rapidity that they might as well have worn nothing at all. If Adamo were going to go to all the trouble of filming a period film, he might at least have chosen a period with better fashion sense.
Many of Adamo’s women could only be hotter if their wardrobe were as eye-catching and attractive as they. Of course, Adamo’s hardly the first to fail to recognize the erotic power of couture. On the other hand, when an Adamo film goes bad, dressed or not, there are always the women to mediate the disaster. The sex here isn’t particularly erotic, but the women are almost always worth looking at.
The sex is certainly professional, it simply lacks passion—and I realize that passion doesn’t always enter into it. When the empress’s paramour takes her in an anal reverse cowgirl, the wonder and delight of the shot is the smooth, deep penetration, not any lovey-dovey attitude on the performers’ part. When Claudia Jamsson gets the same treatment in another scene, it’s exciting to watch her grind. But passion shows, and over the course of an entire scene or film it can be the difference between hot sex and conventional fucking. Poor Lynn Stone gets tapped for two double facials; she takes them like a good little porn star, but clearly isn’t comfortable in either case. (One of them, however, is interesting in that one of the guys cums like a teenager on steroids; the sheer amount of it is extraordinary.)
Technically, the film is top-notch, even if the sets, like the actresses, are sparsely dressed. Adamo’s artistic intrusions are kept to a minimum: there remains a bit of slow-motion and a significant portion of one scene is shot at a 45 degree angle that quickly becomes tiresome, but for the most part, he shoots the film straight and effectively captures the action. The girls all look at the camera far too often, but that’s a given. Adamo’s weakness here is choreography. It’s worth harking back to the lesbian portion of the second scene mentioned earlier because this film’s girl/girl malaise is consistent throughout. Two other scenes feature performer combinations that bring two or more girls into contact with each other, and Adamo seems at a loss how to work girl/girl in with the straight stuff in every case.
“Gladiator III” is good-looking porn, but it’s strictly factory issue. Adamo should have spent less time trying to breathe life into ancient history and considerably more on improving the sexual chemistry of his contemporary stars.