Bound, Gagged, and Strung up to dry.



While desire has always been the name of the game when it comes to the many varied takes on Just Jaeckin’s French classic Emmanuelle (1974), perhaps this new spin out of Italy doesn’t quite get it.  Emanuelle’s Revenge (Do Ut Des) leaves a bit to be desired as an erotic thriller and its DVD release does as well.  Which, of course, is not exactly the desired desire in any case.

With a glossy direct-to-video veneer permeating the film’s requisite world of wealth and privilege, Emanuelle’s Revenge unsurprisingly pulls more from Fifty Shades than its bygone (however differently spelled) namesakes. Yet, it’s also a remake of schlock master Joe D’Amato’s 1975 film of the same title, though more commonly known today as Emanuelle and Françoise.  Both stories revolve around an aggressive male “player” of women (Gianni Rosato) who, after doing wrong by a young model (Ilaria Loriga) in the first half, spends the second half taken prisoner by another woman in his life, the enigmatic Emanuelle (Beatrice Schiaffino). 

The film finally turns compelling at the forty-five-minute mark with the prolonged scene in which she seduces him into her secret “playroom”, strips him, binds him tightly and leaves him hanging from the ceiling.  And just when he thinks he’s stumbled onto the receiving end of the hot-girl bondage fantasy of Eric Greitens’ dreams, she throws a switch.  Or rather, she wields one.  WHIIIP!  WAP!!  CRACK!!!  YOWWW!!!  He’s on the receiving end, all right… of some good old prolonged physical and psychological torture.  Time’s up, Mr. Rich Lothario.

Basically, Emanuelle’s Revenge is a movie with a glaringly wanting first half and a reasonably absorbing second half.  As a remake of Emanuelle and Françoise, it’s miles from D’Amato’s threshold of explicit eroticism, registering beneath that of old Showtime edits of couples-centric adult movies.  Emanuelle’s Revenge, in fact, fits the bill for couples interested in a movie with an erotic edge that stays safely in the realm of softcore.  While female topless nudity is frequent, every instance but one is extremely brief.  Sexual themes and innuendo abound, but that’s about it.  No need for a safe word with this movie.

The DVD release needed another pass through Quality Control.  The standard definition picture is okay-ish, though the biggest issue, by far, is the horrendous synch problem on the default 5.1 audio track.  With dialogue off by a good second, it becomes an untenable sit very quickly.  Thankfully there’s also a 2.0 soundtrack that is in synch and is enough to get viewers through the night.  Both tracks feature the film’s native Italian dialogue, which can be accompanied by English subtitles.  Besides a few trailers for other Cinephobia Releasing releases, there are no extras on this disc.

While Emanuelle’s Revenge fully commits to its vibe of illicit doings and undoings in an upper-class world, it withholds the true hedonism of its characters.  It is not a terrible movie, though it is lightweight within its niche even when the titular sadomasochism kicks in.  One could say that for this Emanuelle outing, the flesh is willing but the spirit’s weak.