By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
My dictionary tells me that science fiction is "highly imaginative" and "typically involving some actual or projected scientific phenomenon." Trade "scientific" for "biological," and you've practically defined pornography. (If you don't think porn is highly imaginative, consider the last time you double-teamed a chick or nailed a Girl Scout.) I.K.U. (Eclectic), a Japanese "sci-fi" porn previously screened at Sundance and just released on DVD (the title means "I'm coming"), links these two trashy modes of fiction, imbuing both with Technicolor flair and gender-studies nuance. Also, fisting. Lots of fisting.
The disc's special features provide exposition and character details, but the film itself moves like a Frisbee: a swirl of images with a simple arc. Reiko, a replicant built in 2019 by the Genom Corporation to collect "orgasm data" for virtual-sex cartridges, joins her male counterpart, Dizzy, in an elevator (she kicks over an origami unicorn on the way, a nod to Blade Runner's fundamental influence). A disembodied female voice sets the mood ("Touch me . . . fuck me . . . suck me gentle") while Dizzy strips Reiko down to her red lingerie, pulling on her nipples and grinding his sizable gray-boxered package into her crotch. Yet, even though she begs, he won't give up the goods. Wouldn't want to waste biodisc space on non-human data!
Once on the crowded subway, Reikowho has transformed into another body, one of seven possible no-mere-mortal coilslets a businessman grab her business through her red cocktail dress, returning the favor to his cock and tail. Her commands appear on our screen, Terminator-style: "There is no problem in your function. Go to Harmony Club. Mission: Dance, dance, dance." Pole dance, that is. Having thoughtfully chosen a particularly large-breasted appearance, Reiko mounts a mirror-floored stage and writhes out of a silver-sequined outfit (cupless bra, G-string) in a flash of quick cuts, then sits on some guy's face. The camera is completely unmoored, flipping sideways, upside down, or just spinning drunkenly. At other times, the sex is thrown against a psychedelic backdrop of spurting color: lasers, stars, ripples, and trails.
Then things start to get weird. Reiko's right hand spins, jelly-like, into a unicorn horn. Suddenly, we're sitting on the guy's prostate, and the computer-generated hornwhich morphs into a fist and then a dickis coming right at us. This is how she collects her orgasm data (so much for sperm samples). The next round takes place in a tunnel (so much for the large intestine). Reiko and a motorcyclist friend trail a van occupied by an aggressive guy and thin, babbling girl with stoplight-red-streaked hair and a mirror-covered blouse. When the girl finally mounts him, the penetration is pixeled out, but the hyper-real squishing sounds couldn't be more explicit. Reiko gets their data, too, in a scene actually shot through a plastic bubble. I guess that adage about not knockin' when the van's a-rockin' doesn't always apply.
Reiko does find trouble when she knocks boots with Tokyo RoseGenom competitor Bio Link's virus-spreading replicantafter being intricately bound and slowly lowered into Rose's translucent-pink bowl, which sits at the bottom of a huge spiral staircase in Club Pink. She quickly recovers, goes on to free herself from Genom by rubbing her clit (key detail, long story), introduces the movie's only cumshot from the far side of a fish tank, and discovers that Dizzy has a vagina, previously glimpsed package notwithstanding. Not to worry: Dizzy pulls out his Dildo Gun, lit up like a runway, andin a final perversion of porn convention and biological "normalcy"actually extracts data from between Reiko's shapely legs (as opposed to, you know, depositing DNA). Director Shu Lea Cheang gets name-dropped in Reload: Rethinking Women and Cyberculture, a thick-ass academic book, for her politicized video art. No surprise, then, that I.K.U. reconceives porn so smartly. I wish somebody would write Blowing a Load and explain why the movie gave me such a big boner.
If you're looking for a load of crap, buy interactive DVD The Dream Machine 2(New Machine). I couldn't tell from the box, which has more typos than I.K.U.'s English translations, but the disc is actually a "game" (to be fair, I now notice the part that says "intense game play"). Hit the forward, left, or right arrows, and you'll either move through a blurry 3D landscape, or encounter one of three things: a weapon, an anthropomorphic "virus" to use your weapon on, or the cover of a porn flick. Click on the latter and get a code granting you access to a short clip. Kill the virus, and you're given a shot at the woman he's been raping. Choose from come-ons like "Take off your clothes" and see how she responds, or just get the cheat code online. (All I could get her to say was "You're funny." Story of my fucking life.) Saving grace: the bit from Please Cum Inside Me where Tera Patrick wraps her legs around this guy and bounces on his dick until the cum splatters on her ass and thighs.
That's mainstream porn's sci-fi attempt; The Life(Wicked) is my narrative flick pick (hey, you try fashioning a coherent theme with I.K.U. as the centerpiece). Gloriously rounded Gloria (Kylie Ireland), former in-house call girl, starts tricking again in order to write an exposé (a Voice feature in the making?), but blows her cover after only a couple of blowjobs. Now, I'm no expert on houses of ill reputeheck, I've never even paid for sex!but Gloria's cathouse has all the catty talk and expensive pussy I imagine one would. The always adorable and effervescent Aurora Snow giggles her way through a scene in which a skinny businessman sheds his gray three-piece and stiffly pounds her from behind; Kylie confidently strides through a couple of sloppy threesomes and, using a large dildo, lovingly stuffs her skinny girlfriend like a Thanksgiving turkeyand without even collecting orgasm data or a paycheck!