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Blu-ray & DVD Review

DVD cover

Wild Orchid (1989)
(Blu-Ray & DVD Dual Format)


Starring: Mickey Rourke, Carré Otis, Jacqueline Bisset, Bruce Greenwood and Assumpta Serna
Distributor: Eureka Entertainment
RRP: £17.95 (Blu-Ray & DVD Dual Format)
Certificate: 18
Release Date: 08 February 2016

Wild Orchid (1989) is one of those peculiar films, which understands all the ingredients required, but fails to understand how to put them together.

The film tells the story of Emily Reed (Carré Otis) a surprisingly young looking lawyer skilled in multiple languages. She is hired by a New York firm on the spot and sent to Rio de Janeiro for travelogue purpose. There is little in the plot which requires her to be in any particular location, but if you’re going to make an erotic movie you’re going to need sultry locations to hopefully compliment the sultry couplings.

It is not long; let’s say ten minutes after the opening credits before Emily witnesses her first coupling. It really does move at that pace. In the first ten minutes she moves from Kansas to New York, straight to Rio and her first couple rutting against a wall, its life in the fast lane as a lawyer.

Her boss, Claudia Dennis (Jacqueline Bisset), asks Emily if she can cover a date she is supposed to go on with the wealthy James Wheeler (Mickey Rourke). This sets off a series of events which normally end up in some form of coupling or dress ripping. The film's conceit is that Rourke’s character cannot feel and so lives his erotic life vicariously through other people and that Claudia has thrown Emily at James to see if he can, on some level, love a woman.

The film was directed by Zalman King who co-wrote the script with Patricia Louisianna Knop. King produced the much more effective 9 ½ weeks (1986) as well as having a hand in the script, as did Knop, but with this and other pieces, like The Red Shoe Diaries they seem more content to be creating slightly dull soft porn.

The film's biggest problem is that the main cast lack any chemistry. Carré Otis is, I’m sorry to say, just not a good actress in this film. She delivers her lines like she has memorised them and is running through them in her head, she is permanently not in the scene. Rourke and Bisset are fine, but can do little with such a preposterous script.

The disc contains no extras, except for the theatrical trailer (1 min, 58 sec), but surprisingly it does have two cuts of the film, the unrated version (1 hr, 51 min, 33 sec) and the R rated version (1 hr, 45 min, 11 sec), the differences being minimal at best. Both versions come with subtitles.

I have no particular moral problem with erotic films, any more than I do with horror flicks or comedies, so long as they fulfil their most basic reason to exist. In the case of this film, it failed to be even vaguely erotic or interesting.


Charles Packer

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Blu-ray & DVD