LOS ANGELES — In one of the most ambitious adult films of the year, AMKingdom takes on the fate of the human race in “Saving Humanity,” a thoughtful sci-fi epic with a strong social commentary at its core.
The film jets through four different time periods with rapid speed, building a multi-layered narrative that unfolds in the present day, flashes back to pre-historic cavemen, boogies into 1958 and blasts into where it shines brightest — in the ultra high-tech year of 2054.
Writer and director Kim Nielsen crafts a narrative filled with corruption, jealousy, romance and tongue-in-cheek humor in a movie that manages to deliver a message about modern society without taking itself too seriously.
A large ensemble cast led by Sinn Sage, Celeste Star and four-time XBIZ Male Performer of the Year, James Deen, keeps viewers guessing for most of the first two acts about what the ultimate end game of “Saving Humanity” will be. And that’s part of the fun of a film that throws down some sizzling sex at unexpected times, pulls off campy violence and surprises with a couple of choreographed fight scenes skillfully executed by Star and Sage.
Deen plays John Weinstein, the maniacal president of CloneTek, which has created a time machine that can transport humans back and forth into different periods.
Celeste Star is his lead scientist Raven, who despite many attempts can’t seem to get the damn thing to work.
“I’m sorry, you’ve been trying for years now and you’re nowhere closer than when you first started,” Weinstein finally tells Raven. Then he removes her from the project and places her colleague Sara (Sinn Sage), in charge. Raven is pissed about being demoted, while Sara assures Weinstein she’s up to the task.
“I promise I won’t let you down sir,” she tells him as a pair of Weinstein’s goons take Raven away.
In a beat, we’re taken back to a cave during 367 B.C., when a grunting clan of cavemen and women — of which Sativa Verte’s sexy Loana is the central figure — is sitting by the fire, looking for food and sometimes having casual sex.
Meanwhile, the 1958 portion of the story begins taking shape, as the greaser Johnny (Anthony Rosano) sneaks into the bedroom of his girlfriend Karen (Riley Reid) for a welcomed boff while ’50s music plays in the background.
Cut to present day in 2013 (principal photography started two years ago) and we see college student Sandy (Andy San Dimas) playing video games, while her friends and fellow band mates played by Skin Diamond (Allison) and Ela Darling are hanging out. It turns out that Sandy and Allison have a sexual thing for each other that we get glimpses of before we’re thrust back to the future. That’s where Sara is now getting off to “robo erotic stimulation” complete with a mysterious voiceover from “The Corporation” that is controlling her pleasure.
As we juggle time periods, we can’t help but wonder how are these girls all connected? Then comes the big reveal: a giant, pyramid-shaped form casting a golden light that appears with no explanation in front of our protagonists, putting them in trance-like states and erasing their memories of the event when they snap back to reality. They call the unidentified flying object a monolith.
It turns out the monolith projects an essence that is something not of this world and everyone is affected. Sara unlocks the code to the time machine and sends herself 10 years into the future, where she sees the lab destroyed and discovers herself in a body bag presumably waiting to be cloned by the diabolical Weinstein.
Not wanting to be part of Weinstein’s human clone factory, Sara and her lab partner Kora (Ana Foxxx) access a government database that links the monolith to different periods in history.
“It says here that the monolith may have given man knowledge of space travel,” Sara tells Kora.
It’s the “aha” moment for “Saving Humanity,” which still has plenty of story left to tell.
When Loana came into contact with the monolith in the cave, she gained extraordinary speed and strength; Karen got telekinesis, or the ability to move objects with her mind; and Sandy became known for the highest video game score ever. But the fate of humanity rests with Sara, who believes it’s her duty to now go back in time, find the other women who have seen it and form an alliance to stop Weinstein and destroy the monolith.
“Kora, if I don’t do this, the future doesn’t stand a chance, humanity doesn’t stand a chance,” Sara reasons.
So she does just that. But trouble lurks as Weinstein catches onto her mission and orders his former top doctor Raven to track down Sara and “exterminate her.”
As we hurtle toward the finish line, we watch Sara and the resistance force come together while Raven goes on the hunt.
Despite the complexities of the story, the message of the film comes through loud and clear, emerging during one of the more dramatic scenes — set in 2013.
An aged Johnny, now referred to as Professor Williams, is actually Sandy’s college Astronomy teacher. And the old man shows up at her apartment wondering why she drew a picture of the notorious monolith that he once saw with Karen in 1958 on her last quiz.
Meanwhile, Sara barges into the room naked with Karen and Loana — in order to time travel the girls have to be nude — creating one of the movie’s many surreal moments.
“I’ve seen many changes from the time Karen and I were in our early 20s to the present,” Professor Williams explains in the best speech of “Saving Humanity.”
“On the one hand there have been tremendous technological advancements and life is more convenient and entertaining in some ways, yet I’m not convinced the world is a better place.
“It seems we’ve lost the core of what truly makes us human. Things like family values, true passion, and love and respect for others seem to have diminished. If we continue on the path we’re headed, I agree with Sara. Disaster probably looms.”
He adds, “The government has become increasingly controlling and large corporations influence so many aspects of life. … In fact I’m not sure life is much better and we’re any happier than we used to be.”
And that’s the underlying theme of “Saving Humanity,” which contains a few more cliffhangers before Sara and Raven come to blows in the climactic fight scene.
Two sex scenes in particular highlight the movie’s carnal action — one comes out of seemingly nowhere as midway through Weinstein (Deen) invites his blonde assistant (Tara Lynn Foxx) back to his office and orders her to undress. The passionate hookup reaches the upper level during an incredible side doggie-style shift. Deen later erupts in Foxx’s mouth — in slow motion, no less.
Foxx returns for the all-girl grand finale in which the entire resistance force made up of Sinn Sage, Riley Reid, Andy San Dimas, Ana Foxxx and Cindy Starfall orgies up in a festival of flesh beautifully shot with an all-white set.
That paves the way for one final twist: a music video-style dance number. Choreographed against the green screen, the video features the entire cast of “Saving Humanity” dancing in costume with San Dimas doing lead vocals for a song called “The World Will Never End” — that was written by Nielsen and composed by editor Mark Nicholas. Even Deen takes part in the outrageous performance.
In addition to its heartfelt message, what “Saving Humanity” will be remembered for most is its imaginative CGI effects that recreate the fantasy world of 2054, simulating space travel and futuristic gun battles. Digital Dave of XXX Effects delivered all the special effects that keep “Saving Humanity” on the cutting edge.
The film also marks the return of Jinish Shah, who won the XBIZ Award for Best Cinematography for his work on “Revenge of the Petites,” which was AMKingdom’s first feature film in 2012. Shah brought the same exceptional camerawork to “Saving Humanity,” which was shot on the cinematic ARRI Alexa in what is believed to be a porn industry first.