Friday, June 30, 2023

Dr. Jones I Presume: THE RETURN OF INDIANA JOAN (1989)

Hard to believe it has been almost thirteen years since we began the important archaeological task of covering Indiana Jones rip-offs. We promised to be thorough and explore every cinematic crypt to find any and everything that had a tinge of Dr. Jones. That included the often scorned world of adult entertainment. Pivotal to that quest (at least in terms of blog views) was the elusive INDIANA JOAN AND THE BLACK HOLE OF MAMMOO (1984). Not only was it the first of the X-rated Indiana Jones parodies, but it was part of an alleged trilogy from director Vince Benedetti. The two sequels remained even more elusive, but we always had top men on the lookout for them. In a stroke (haha) of good fortune, the intervening years saw the first sequel surface and we felt it was necessary to get the first online review out to the masses. So grab your, uh, whips and prepare for THE RETURN OF INDIANA JOAN!

The film opens in the most dangerous jungle of all: the urban jungle! Yes, we get camcorder shots of vintage 1980s New York City over the opening credits. Special tip of the hat to Benedetti for including a marquee shot of a theater showing the Michael Caine Sherlock Holmes comedy WITHOUT A CLUE (1988) to pinpoint the exact year of filming. If you have a fetish for shots of shoes on the sidewalk or business men in trench coats, this footage is totally for you. Anyway, we cut into an office where the now-blonde Indiana Joan (Porsche Lynn, replacing MAMMOO’s Barbie Dahl) is getting it on with her boss, Diamond Jim (Rick Savage). It starts with a prolonged sequence where he sucks on her nylon covered feet, which is about as erotic as you’d expect from late-80s video photography of Savage (see pic). As things start to get hot-and-heavy, Joan accidentally switches on the intercom and the moaning and groaning turns on Jim’s secretary. Lucky for her a random dude shows up and we soon have dueling sex scenes. This actually results in a clever (for porn, anyway) shot-in-shot video effect showing the eavesdroppers on the screen. Yes, SESAME STREET level, but kind of groundbreaking for a shot-on-video adult feature. 

Finally around the 24-minute mark, we get the first indication of a plot. Just as things are reaching their climax, Jim tells Joan he has an assignment for her. “This is a big one! Look, I know it is short notice, but the museum called this morning and…” he says right before the film smash cuts to the other sex scene. Holy crap! Did I just blue balled on a plot point? When we finally get back to Joan, she says, “How could I say no with that big thing inside of me? But you could just send that new girl you just hired? Should I buzz her in?” What the heck is going on here? Not only do we not know what Indiana Joan’s quest is, but she is actively trying to talk herself out of a job. “You leave tonight,” he counters. “Catch the first train to Morocco. Then it’s on to Egypt. They’ve got an orthodontal dig going on there.” (insert sound of a VHS tape being rewound) Wait a sec…did this mofo in New York just say to catch the first train to Morocco? Yes, he did. What is the going train rate from New York to North Africa? And, excuse me, what the holy hell is an “orthodontal” dig? To quote Jack Burton, “I don’t even know what the hell that means!” Okay, this can’t get any more confusing can it? “Yes!” screams director Benedetti. 

We then cut to outer space (yes, outer space!) where Captain Kurt (Randy Paul) is guiding his ship with his number one Aurora (Stormi, if that is your real name). In the film’s lone intentional joke, Aurora announces over the ship’s PA system, “Please man…or lady your flight stations, whatever your preference.” Benedetti, take a bow in order to miss the rotten vegetables being thrown at you. Before they can make their way to their destination, the Captain receives a message from planet Earth that there is a passenger to beam up. When Aurora asks who it is, we get this classic exchange:

Captain: Beats me although I heard she’s female.

Aurora: Wow, an earthling female? We haven’t seen one of those in eons. Should be terrific.

The earthling female in question beams aboard and it is Indiana Joan dressed in nothing but leather bra and panties and with a whip. Flight surgeon Kim (Siobhan -- gesundheit! -- Hunter) shows up to inspect the new arrival and soon we have a full blown four-way happening on the transporter (a black 1980s bed). Emphasis on the blown here as Kim’s preferred method of foreplay is using straws to blow on Joan. I’d make a straw joke here, but they all suck. After everyone has reached the final frontier, Joan is beamed back to Earth. Surely this bizarre plot tangent will figure later into the film, right? “Nope!” screams director Benedetti. 

Jump back to Earth (!) and we see Carter (David Morris) telling Anna (Melissa Murray) he has to break his dinner date with her because Indiana Joan has a job for him. We still don’t know what it is, but we get a hint when Carter mentions it is a “treasure hunt” before he and Anna go on their own treasure hunt on the couch. We then cut to some travelog footage of Egypt and camels before we see an Egyptian Prince Toto (Joe Simmons) inside his royal chamber using a mortar and pestle while his servant girl lights some candles. Denim-clad Joan and Carter traipse through the jungle, which is probably the woods behind the production studio in New York. Authenticity is established when they spot the entrance and behind them is clearly a chain link fence. 

The duo climb down the rope into the soundstage…er, authentic Egyptian tomb and Joan exclaims, “There’s the secret scepter. We’ve got to seize it.” By God, Jim, we finally get the plot at the 59-minute mark! Up until this point we had no idea what Indiana Joan was after. Now we will surely find out why this scepter is secret, right? “Fat chance!” cackles director Benedetti. Okay, let’s speed this up: Joan and Carter are immediately captured and she is forced into a three-way with the Prince and his servant; Joan is thrown into a cell with Carter but entices the guard to come in for another three-way; Joan and Carter escape and snag the scepter after which he says, “There’s a secret passage way out this way.” THE END!

Well, Indiana Joan indeed returned. You have to admire that at some point in 1988 that producer-director Benedetti read that Spielberg and Lucas were filming a third Indiana Jones film for release in 1989 and said, “Okay, we’re getting the band back together.” Of course, you have to revoke any admiration when you see the final product. It seems the only returning elements here are lots of flesh and a bumbling Benedetti. Despite having ten more features under his belt since the first Indiana Joan feature, Benedetti still struggles to make a decent film. One of my complaints about the first film is that the cover had Indiana Joan whip-in-hand, ready for action only to not give her a whip at all. Well, the new Joan gets a whip that is shown prominently in two scenes…and never gets used! Doubly disappointing when the lead is now the attractive Porsche Lynn. This laziness carries over to the script (if there was one). Seriously, you can’t make any Indiana Jones jokes or references? Nobody was smart enough to whip up some puns? Lack of comedy combined with haphazard editing and mangled audio (you can actually hear Benedetti giving direction at certain points) and you have a miserable experience. Yes, more depressing than realizing you are reviewing an adult flick and looking for plot. I’m not asking for high art from an Indiana Jones porn parody, but seriously can you imagine what a Chuck Vincent Indiana Jones spoof from this era would have looked like? (That sound you hear is tears streaming down Tom’s cheeks.)

If I have to give this film any credit, it is that it contains the most out of this world (and out of nowhere) sex scene. The film’s dalliance with sci-fi is so shoehorned in that I can only imagine Benedetti walked into Adventure Studios in New York, saw a leftover sci-fi set and thought, “Okay, we can work with this.” This is the king of “most random sex scenes,” which says a lot in the world of porno. To paraphrase James Karen in RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985): “Oh, kid, I have seen random sex scenes come and I have seen random sex scenes go. But the randomest sex scene I ever saw just had to cap it all. Did you see that movie THE RETURN OF INDIANA JOAN?” To the director’s credit, he beat George Lucas to the inclusion of aliens by nearly 20 years. Unless Lucas drew inspiration from this film. Hmmm, Georgie, you got some ‘splain to do! The film ends with the promise of a third film titled INDIANA JOAN IN THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE. Actually a brilliant title, but whether or not it exists is a source of question as the Internet Adult Film Database only lists one person (Porsche Lynn) starring in it and has no scene breakdowns or cover images.This suggests it happened in thought only, which is probably best for my sanity.

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