Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Movie Review: Rival Girls

Mood Pictures (released in 2004)

Entire Story In Fewer Words Than Are In This Sentence:
Smoking can be damaging to your buttocks

Victim Appeal:
This is the second film Mood Pictures ever released, back when they were a brand-new name among spanking video producers, and their first one featuring more than one victim (Ancient Regime originally came in two separate volumes). Two girls get caned here, Mandy Moon and Kate Lust, both of them fairly hot. Mandy is a curly blonde with a tanned, gorgeous body. Kate has straight, lighter blonde hair, paler skin and a similarly lovely figure (she later appeared in another Mood movie and did an interview for Miss Lust, a small-time adult video and webcam model, is the more lively of the two. She even does a half-decent acting job, which one wouldn't necessarily expect from a "Hungarian porn girl (briefly) turned spanking victim". Pity that she didn't make more CP videos.

There is a third, dark-haired girl in the film, going by the name of Lara Coal. But except for a single experimental stroke in the "Behind the Scenes" segment of the DVD, she doesn't get thrashed. That's a pity, too! I shouldn't complain, though, because the victim appeal of "Rival Girls" is pretty good overall.

Gratuitous Sadism:
Here is how the inevitable punishments unfold in this one: Christina (Kate Lust) and Esther (Lara Coal) are pupils at a boarding school, in their room, chatting. Stereotypical "girl talk" about boys and the handsome new PE teacher. When Christina learns that their roommate Monica (Mandy Moon) is going out with her ex-boyfriend, she decides to get Monica in trouble so that her rival will be grounded and she can get the boy back in the meantime. Despite Esther's objections ("You're completely out of line! What if she gets caned?"), Christina plants a pack of cigarettes among Monica's belongings.

Monica returns soon thereafter and actually talks to Christina about how awkward she feels, going out with her ex. Christina gives a wonderfully dishonest smile and shrugs: "I don't really care! I can hardly remember him. And you are my best friend!" The two embrace and Christina grins contentedly, in anticipation of what is about to happen to her unsuspecting "friend".

When a teacher (played by Mood regular Maximilian Lomp) inspects their room during one of his routine visits, he discovers the cigarettes. Monica protests that they aren't hers, but to no avail. He punishes her on the spot: "You will receive 50 strokes with the cane! Christina, bring me the cane and the straps!" Fifty strokes? Straps? Wow, they sure use some draconian measures at this boarding school... Monica has to kneel on the bed with her pants down and her upper body over a wooden box with a pillow on top of it (a rather sorry excuse for a whipping bench, but hey, this is Mood Pictures in their very early days). The other girls strap her down. She keeps her sweater on, but it is pulled up to her shoulders so that we can get a glimpse of her breasts.

The teacher then canes Monica, all the while admonishing her that smoking is forbidden at the school and that she should have known better. In between her cries, the girl continues to protest her innocence. After it is all over and a sobbing Monica puts her pants back on, the teacher continues his inspection - and finds more cigarettes! At this point, Esther finally breaks her silence and informs him that the whole thing had been Christina's ploy all along. So now, it is Christina's turn to get thrashed (Esther merely gets grounded for not interfering earlier). As a compensation of sorts for the injustice she suffered, Monica gets to administer the strokes (50 in number, naturally). Christina goes on the bed and over the box. Unlike the other girl, she has to strip completely naked. Another caning follows, much to Monica's and the viewers' satisfaction.

Best Reactions:
Watching this early Mood film again after several years, I was struck by how tame the canings are. I wouldn't exactly call them light and playful - we are talking about two times 50 strokes here, and they are applied with moderate force, some of them in the "fairly hard" region. But compared to the super-vicious stuff Mood Pictures put out today, this is positively harmless. Both girls get visible red stripes and even a couple of darker welts, but that has more to do with the fact that they have obviously never been caned before than with outright severity.

However, this is not to say that there isn't anything of interest for the sadistic viewer here. I found "Rival Girls" quite enjoyable, because the victims show strong and genuinly pained reactions, flinching mightily under the cane and complaining about how much it hurts (the "vanilla factor" again). Kate Lust, in particular, is a joy to watch. During the first twenty plus strokes, she is tough, defiant and visibly angry at the other girl who dishes out her revenge. Mandy Moon aka Monica then snarls "I see you haven't had enough yet!" and suddenly goes harder. Kate starts breaking down and crying real tears until she is sobbing uncontrollably and barely able to count the last few strokes aloud. Not a particularly hard thrashing (at least not by Mood standards), but one with a very satisfying - and very real - effect.

Best Line:
At the beginning of the movie, Esther tells Christina how Christina's ex-boyfriend adores his new sweetheart: "He is so romantic, giving her roses." The line itself isn't funny, but the annoyed, eye-rolling grimace which Christina makes in response is absolutely priceless. Hilarious (over-) acting by Kate Lust, who really hams it up.

Nice Psychological Touch:
I like the basic setup with its themes of justice and revenge, with the evil-doer receiving her comeuppance in the end and the framed, innocent girl getting to cane her. It's a simple yet effective way to spice up a conventional "catty schoolgirls" scenario, to put both M/F and F/F action in the film and to let one of the models act as top and bottom. No, the idea certainly isn't new, but it works and the "turning the tables" results are always fun to watch. Especially here, where the chemistry between the players is quite good. Kate Lust as Christina and Mandy Moon as Monica give each other plenty of wonderfully dirty looks.

Mood Pictures make the most of these dynamics with nice little touches. For instance, when the girls prepare Monica for her punishment, it is Christina who pulls Monica's panties down and her sweater up (smirking with the secret knowledge that her nasty little scheme worked). The teacher then orders the other girls to hold Monica down for the caning, so Esther and Christina each grab one of the victim's hands. While Esther (the silent and uncomfortable accomplice) squeezes Monica's hand with tender compassion, Christina grins wider and wider after every cane stroke. The contrast is nicely captured by the camera. Moreover, the teacher orders Christina to count the numbers aloud while Monica suffers. Needless to say, she is only too happy to do the job, and you can hear the gleeful purring in her voice.

Later, when Christina is thrashed, Esther holds her hand. There is a brief, interesting out-of-character moment after stroke 25. The actress playing Esther is the only one who can see the victim's face, so she is the first one to realise that Kate Lust aka Christina is starting to break down and cry. She gives the actress playing Monica a quiet, wide-eyed look, signalling her: "Wow, you are really making an impression now..."

How Good Is It Really?
This is one of Mood's very first efforts. Naturally, the scale of it is much smaller than that of their later, more professional and grandiose work. "Rival Girls" takes place in only one room, there are no props or costumes to speak of (just look at the poor man's "caning bench"), and only two girls get spanked. Moreover, in terms of the CP action, this is the lightest of all their films (it is also one of their most light-hearted - in the "Behind the Scenes" extra, everyone is goofing around, drinking tequila, and even Max Lomp gets a "revenge" cane stroke over his trousers from the girls).

However, while a producer's first couple of films are obviously never as polished as the later ones, they usually offer an interesting look back. This is certainly the case here. Fans can get a glimpse of Mood Pictures in their early and less extreme days, before they started churning out monthly CP epics where half a dozen girls or more receive the hardest beatings ever recorded on video. While "Rival Girls" isn't typical for them, it is a highly enjoyable little movie in its own right - the technical craftsmanship is decent, the story is fun, the two victims are pretty and there are some great reactions during the CP. With its comparatively low severity, this is also a good choice for viewers who want to see sexy Hungarian girls spanked, but not ultra-hard.

(Mood Pictures now offer "Rival Girls" in a package with one of their other early films at a bargain price.)

What You Learned:
Smoking can be damaging to your buttocks.

Okay, I already used that for the "Entire Story In Fewer Words..." section. I'll try to think of something else... How about this: Hungarian girls look great while being spanked. But we didn't really need Mood Pictures to demonstrate this - all girls look great while being spanked! It is common knowledge. So I guess I didn't learn all that much. I liked the flick, though.

(What you, my dear readers, will have learned from this review is that I apparently made it back alive from my recent journey into darkness. The more perceptive among you who read that post will have divined that the journey lead me to Hungary. Quite a coincidence, eh? I have many things to tell you, and I should be ready to publish the first part of my travel reports in a few days.)


! said...

Goddamn your stupid obsessive-compulsive posting schedule! I wanted to hear about your journey today!!!

Anonymous said...

I have a spoiler email. ;-)

Should I post it here?

Should I?


Ludwig said...

Rachel: It's not just about my obsessive-compulsive schedule. My travel report wouldn't have been ready on Wednesday, anyway. It's a long piece, even longer than my average post, and I'm also putting maximum effort into the quality of the writing. So I needed a few more days. In the meantime, I posted this movie review, which I had largely written before my departure, so that you would have something to pass the time.

Believe me, I understand your eagerness to hear all the news, but I'm sure you on your part can understand that I wanted to get this piece just right. Trust me, you're going to like the results of my labour. Just a little more patience now. I'm taking care of the last little details, and then I'll post my travel report during the weekend.

Niki: Post my email as a spoiler? Not unless you want to make the acquaintance of a Mood Pictures-type thrashing yourself...

! said...

Ludwig - I know...I'll be patient

Niki - Save your ass. I'll just...wait it out.

Anonymous said...

OK, OK, I definitely don't want that. Instead I'll just share the lovely text I was sent on the day of the shoot (after countless "Hostel" jokes had gone back and forth):

i ok. you not wory. it nice here and i stay now! i say bye. ludwig

The only thing missing was a head shot. :-D