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  • As Vivid's most productive in-house director, Toni English forever finds herself playing second fiddle to the almighty Paul Thomas who has helmed most of the company's flagship titles. Nevertheless, she has chalked up quite a few worthy efforts of her own like BOILING POINT and the EXTREME SEX series. With an unfussy style, she usually manages to make the most out of a minuscule budget and a rushed production schedule. The odds have defeated her however on the unimaginatively if aptly titled BORDELLO, which was – given the cast and sets – presumably shot simultaneously with the slightly superior BANGKOK NIGHTS.

    Cheap-looking sets are easy enough to forgive. Lukewarm sex on the other hand is not. First problem is the casting of Felecia in the lead. Though sufficiently pretty, she's one of those female performers who'll only "do" other ladies on film. When the feature being shot is not an all girl sextravaganza, this means you've got a problem on your hands. Now Vivid had some experience in this field, catapulting Janine (who had been billed under her full name Janine Lindemulder on Andrew Blake's exquisite HIDDEN OBSESSIONS) towards super-stardom well before she relented and agreed to "work" with men. Their slightly silly M.O. consisted of always having at least one male spectator present during the lesbian sequences with the leading lady inviting him to participate and the latter, incredibly, declining to do so. As if ! Adding insult to injury, Felecia's totally miscast as Oriental (huh ?) Miss Ling, proprietress of an upscale brothel cum gambling den, especially with real exotic performers like Tricia Yen and Cumisha Amado (okay, so she's from the Philippines, but close enough) on hand. Drifter Colt Steele (former paramour of Vivid contract girl Dyanna Lauren) loses all his earnings at the roulette table and offers his life to Miss Ling in return for one more spin of the wheel. Rather than take him up on his offer, Ling offers him the chance to sleep with the aforementioned Amado (the prototype of a performer who makes up in enthusiasm for what she lacks in physical beauty) and slender, small-breasted Alex Dane. The next day, the Madam recounts the fate of the previous visitor who had proposed the same agreement (handsome Nick East, who proved a surprisingly adequate thespian on Paul Thomas' JUSTINE : NOTHING TO HIDE 2 , but appears completely detached here) and how this landed him in hot water with the mobster (character actor Steven St. Croix, always good value and by far the only one making an effort on this occasion) Ling's indebted to and who's attempting to take over her house.

    Minimal if not entirely worthless plot leaves plenty of room for sex, most of which turns out to be instantly forgettable however. Felecia, a cherished supporting performer whenever she's trotted out for the one scene (livening up, amongst many others, Jim Enright's SINISTER SISTER), struts her Sapphic stuff twice : in a threesome with Dane and Yen (combine those two names and you tellingly get something like 'Yawn') with Nick looking on and a bit more effectively with creamy Nikole Lace (who played a naughty angel in Gregory Dark's DEVIL IN MISS JONES V) for evil Steve's viewing pleasure. Amado literally hurls herself into double penetration territory with East and St. Croix, though neither of them seems to taken with the prospect, and Steele and Yen (never looking lovelier than she did in Michael Ninn's SHOCK) provide the closer and best – only good ? – scene with some good chemistry. Many of Vivid's mid-'90s offerings were made with cable sales and the couples crowd in mind, so you can already guess that camera-work could've been a lot more probing for the true genre aficionado. Latter is bound to find precious little of interest here for this is just another mediocre porn tape to clutter up already way overburdened Adults Only video store shelves.