The opening titles credit the director as being David Hills. But happily they are more open when they reveal the director of photography: Aristide Massaccesi. This film is indeed better known for being directed by him under his most popular pseudonym, Joe D�Amato.

The action begins with cheap titles set to an incredibly rousing and pompous score.

From there, we meet Francis (Menyhert Rene Balog-Dutombe), a Lord of the British Empire who has been commissioned by King Charles 2nd (Lajos Dejan) to sail a ship to Jamaica and sign a peace treaty there. The journey is set to take two months, and his pretty wife Elena (Italian porn star Anita Rinaldi) is fretful of his departure.

As they prepare for farewell sex to a sad acoustic tune that resembles the theme tune from TV�s �The Incredible Hulk� series, Elena tells Francis of a nightmare she had the previous night. It has left her with the notion that his journey will be a troubled one.

Failing to take heed of his wife�s reservations, Francis sets off on his "British war vessel" to Caribbean shores as an ambassador for his King. He is soon alerted to a burning ship on the horizon. Sensing danger, Francis attempts to steer his crew clear of the blazing wreck but his efforts are unsuccessful: pirates board his boat and a raucous sword battle ensues. There is some wonderfully awful dialogue and melodramatic music to be savoured at this point, suggesting erroneously that this was intended as a comedy.

The upshot of the above is that the pirates overcome Francis� army but keep him alive, their leader George (Henrik Pauer) telling him he will be worth a fortune in gold if King Charles pays a ransom for his safe return. If not ... they will hang him.

Imagine Elena�s despair when she receives a telegram back home advising her of this news. Actually, she barely flinches. But she does go to the King and beg on one knee for his help. Cue the sad Hulk music again.

"Your husband is a soldier. He knew the risks" is all the unhelpful King can offer, saying the best he can do is pray for Francis.

Desperate to save hubbie, Elena then dons a disguise (a red hood) and visits an infamous tavern in search of Captain Graham (Zoltan Kiss). He�s drinking in the cellar � she buys him a beer and asks for his help finding Francis, as she�s been told he knows the Caribbean extremely well. A chat and a bag of gold coins later, and Graham is on board � even though the mention of George�s name prompts him to exclaim "blistering barnacles!".

He then takes her to an even seedier tavern in Tortuga, one that "real scum" frequent, in search of his skipper Thomas Butler (Carlo De Palma). He�s the only man mad enough to head a mission against George. Perhaps miscast here, De Palma is a little young and handsome to be taken as being really dangerous, but is surly enough when a resolute Elena approaches him. Although he�s busy necking on with his mistress Pilar (Venere Torti), Elena won�t accept his dismissals � and ends up getting his attention in a rather novel (read: amusing) manner.

Butler is on board and pretty soon he leads Elena and a small group to an island where they plan to locate the pirates and recover Francis. There�s just one problem: George has already sold Francis on to the even more diabolical pirate Don Diego (Laszlo Mandrasz).

And so, the small band of desperados continues their search for Francis. Elena leads the way alongside Butler � a sore point for his fuck buddy Pilar. Along the way, they are met and joined by such invaluable acquaintances as a gung-ho six-shooter and a kung fu-fighting highwayman ...

SEXY PIRATES proves, after too many years of genre wilderness thanks to a career dip that necessitated directing hardcore porn to keep the wolves at bay, that Massaccesi could still produce entertaining tripe worthy of the D�Amato brand name.

Sets are colourful, performances are tremendously ripe without exception and the dialogue seems to have been lifted straight from the pages of an old swashbuckling comic book. It�s fantastically juvenile stuff.

To his credit, Massaccesi appears wise to this and directs without pretension. While the film is modestly stylish within the limitations of its budget and Rinaldi offers a surprisingly adequate turn in a straight (non-hardcore) role, this is pure hokum and the veteran of Eurocrap directs as such.

The pace is breakneck, the script is cheesier than the foreskin of an unwashed penis, and the fight scenes are so lethargically choreographed that asking the viewer not to titter is a formidable challenge.

It�s all great fun if taken in the right spirit. Being charitable, I would surmise that this is intended as homage to the B-movie serials that would play as matinees in cinemas when Massaccesi was a lad. Even the library music employed seems to have been lifted from them.

Bear this in mind and you won�t go far wrong. Take One 7 Movies� unscrupulous marketing of this film to heart, though, and you may well feel short-changed afterwards: there is a couple of brief soft sex scenes and some minor nudity (Rinaldi bares her bum and boobs, for example) but this is definitely better described as a boy�s own adventure � it�s certainly not to be taken as erotica.

SEXY PIRATES (the onscreen title is the original title of I PREDATORI DELLE ANTILLE) comes on a region-free DVD courtesy of One 7 Movies. The film is fully uncut and the aspect ratio of 1.33:1 appears to be correctly framed. Information on the IMDb supports the aspect ratio used.

Colours are bold and blacks are unwavering. There are no issues apparent with compression or edge enhancement. However, the picture is rather soft and grainy.

The Italian 2.0 audio is a better proposition, offering very good and consistent playback throughout. Optional English subtitles are provided, and are amusing in their broken English. Given that the film is such enjoyable trash, this simply adds to the fun.

A static main menu page opens the disc. From there, an animated scene-selection menu allows access to the main feature via 12 chapters.

There are no extra features on the disc.

One of a whopping 26 films that Massaccesi is credited with having directed during 1998 (most of the others were hardcore porn shot on video), SEXY PIRATES is a late reminder � shot just a few months before his death from a heart attack � that the man behind classic trash such as BEYOND THE DARKNESS, ABSURD and CALIGULA: THE UNTOLD STORY could still deliver an enjoyable slice of B-movie insanity.

The presentation isn�t stellar on One 7 Movies� DVD, but if you�re looking for an English-friendly release of the film in its native tongue, this is as good as you�re likely to find.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by One 7 Movies
Region 1 - NTSC
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review