|Released||Sep 30th, 2013|
|Running Time||148 Min.|
|Cast||Toni Ribas, Cameron Dee, Presley Hart, Adrianna Luna, TJ Cummings, Xander Corvus, Asphyxia Noir, Capri Cavanni, Asa Akira, Tommy Gunn, T.J. Cummings, Eric Masterson, Jessica Drake, Julia Ann, Steven St. Croix, Brad Armstrong, Derrick Pierce|
Adult entertainment fans can be certain of one thing: Brad Armstrong delivers. Year in, year out, they can expect something big from the Wicked Pictures director—something daring, ambitious and aesthetically
exciting. It might be a sci-fi epic or an action thriller, an elaborate parody or a darkly sensual romance.
Then again, it might be something completely different.
In emotional tone and imagination, this year’s Armstrong blockbuster—Underworld—calls to mind his 2008 movie Fallen, about an angel who has lost her wings and been exiled to earth. AVN reviewer Emma Edwards wrote that Armstrong and his leading lady, Jessica Drake, had produced “what may collectively be their most compelling and sexually charged contribution to the adult industry.”
Now, there’s another contender.
In Underworld Drake is again the center, beginning from the first sex scene, in which her character, Tanya, makes love to her fiancé (Steven St. Croix) in his apartment. Soon after, as they head to the underground
garage so he can drive Tanya home, they’re assaulted by armed thieves, who shoot Tanya when she tries to fight back. Critically injured, she finds herself in the Underworld, where the ill and the wounded linger
while they wait to meet their fate.
Before that meeting, however, many others take place as Tanya treks through the Underworld—each a manifestation of the traumatic proceedings around her. Julia Ann represents the ventilator to which she’s attached, while Xander Corvus is the scalpel that invades her body. In blood-red outfits, Asa Akira, Eric Masterson and T.J. Cummings are the transfusions Tanya receives in her hospital bed, while Asphyxia Noir and Toni Ribas represent the stitches the operation leaves behind.
With the wrong execution this all could come across as a cold conceit, but the art direction (with assists from Kylie Ireland and Andy Appleton) and production work do service to the narrative, ensuring that attention stays fixated exactly where it should: on the storyline and the seven passionate sex scenes cast as directed by Armstrong and captured by crack cinematography (Francois Clousot, Alex Ladd and Paul Woodcrest). Among the 17 nominations scored by Underworld, three are for sex scenes (Julia Ann’s oral scene; Drake and Capri Cavanni for Best Girl/Girl Sex Scene; Drake, Noir and Ribas for Best Three-Way Sex Scene – G/G/B).
The rest of the nominations run the gamut for most aspects of the production, from Best Director – Feature to Best DVD Extras—a tribute not only to Armstrong but also to the large crew who came together to
explore the Underworld.