No Escape (2008)

Rating: C

Dir: Lloyd A. Simandl
Star: Rena Riffel, Sabine Mallory, Marie Veckova, Lena Drasova
a.k.a. Bound Heat: No Escape

I hadn’t quite realized just how prolific a “film studio” actually was: and, yes, that site is entirely what you’d expect. But they have now churned out close to 40 of these low-budget features, with titles like Slave Huntress and Caligula’s Spawn, mostly filmed in Eastern Europe, where women prepared to undress for the camera are cheap. The meaningful cast in this one is four, plus what seems to be a sprinkling of the local WW2 re-enactment society. It’s the last days of the war, and Nazi officeress Brandt (Riffel, who has carved out a career niche in a number of these, it appears) is preparing her escape to South America, with a stash of emeralds looted from the Reich vaults. But her loot is swiped; she tracks down Alena (Casarova), one of those responsible. Using a mix of pain and pleasure, Brandt tries to convince her captive to reveal where the emeralds have been hidden, not knowing that another of the gang, has hidden out with her cousin. The relative is now also plotting to find the gems’ location – she doesn’t go for the pleasure approach much – and retrieve them first.

For what it is, this is competent enough: it’s just that the creators appear to be aiming particularly low. Riffel certainly looks the part, with the cheekbones necessary to play a 21st-century version of Dyanne Thorne, and goes at her lines with gusto. However, what it is, really isn’t very much, and the most entertainment value to be found, is figuring out to which fetish Simandl [who has made some legitimate films, with the likes of Patrick Bergin and Kari Wuhrer] is catering. Mostly the lesbian S/M crowd, it would appear, although the lengthy sequence of naked woodchopping is catering to an entire market, of which I was previously unaware. This will sound either ridiculous or blatantly obvious – possibly both – but the film definitely could have used more plot, sprinkled in between the sex scenes and domination. Brandt is a potentially interesting character, and how she got the emeralds [as well as how they were stolen] could have merited further coverage; the deceit and double-dealing is also competently handled. However, it’s pretty clear that “maintain narrative interest” is not exactly high on the list of boxes to be ticked for the makers, so feel free to make up your own stories here. Between that and the scenery, this passes as undemanding background radiation, while you’re doing washing-up or something.