King Cobra – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

The young Sean Lockhart aka the famous Brent Corrigan goes from a nobody to one of the most recognizable names in gay porn. But, issues arise once he doesn’t feel like he is being paid what he is worth.

Review (with Spoilers)

To be honest, I’m kind of unsure why I decided to watch this movie. Granted, I love seeing LGBT films, but this one is partly about a gay porn star. Much less it has James Franco in it without Seth Rogen. Pretty much any James Franco film that isn’t a comedy, much less without Seth Rogen, generally is all flash and sensationalism but no substance. Let’s see if he continues the trend.

Characters & Story

Sean Lockhart AKA Brent Corrigan (Garret Clayton)

Young, dumb, a sculpted body, and easy to manipulate. What else could Stephen aka King Cobra (Christian Slater) ask for? Well, how about a star? One which could make him lots of money, walk around the house in his underwear, and maybe have some fun with? Well, as Robert Frost wrote “Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length” and while the good times for both Sean and Stephen are phenomenal, then comes the issue of payment, legal documents, and then other serious legal issues. All of which cause malice between the two.

Harlow (Keegan Allen)

Think Brent without the money and the fame, but add on the familiar tragedy of molestation and being kicked out of the house when you come out. That’s Harlow. But rather than him dealing with someone like Stephen who may be a bit of a predator, but is mostly harmless, Harlow has Joe (James Franco). The jealous type, the insane type, and someone who is all Harlow has. Making for a very unbalanced relationship. One which ends up doing very little good for Harlow.

Things To Note

For those who may wonder, there are a lot of ass shots but no frontal.

Highlights

It Will Make You Want To Do Your Research

Like most people, I assume, when it comes to porn I’m not that much focused on who is in it as much as if they fit my preferences. Yet, the name Brent Corrigan isn’t foreign to me and with porn features usually being documentaries or dramas about how it ruined someone’s life, a la Lovelace, strangely also starring James Franco, I wanted to give this a chance.

Well, while not the best thing out there, I do feel that between Slater and Clayton you do want to learn the whole story. Clayton, who I swear looks like Zac Efron, brings just enough naiveté to care about Sean and this world he has got himself into. Heck, even though within ten minutes Slater’s creepy little beady eyes make Stephen out to be the biggest predator you didn’t know about, even he can make you feel bad for Stephen. If only because you can recognize he likely has been closeted his whole life and be it the allure of youth, in terms of the actual young or trying to make up for lost time, you want to believe he isn’t a full on creep.

Which is why you want to do your research. For nevermind Harlow and Joe’s part of the story, it is the Sean and Stephen part which gets you. Making you wonder if this omitted anything, embellished on anything, or was this simply a true account?

Criticism

Harlow and Joe

I don’t know if Franco is the type of actor, similar to McCarthy I guess, who needs a good director to reel him in, or simply he makes compelling arguments to do as he please, but either way he is the liability of this movie. To me, it is just hard to find him serious even when not in a comedy. Which is unfortunate for you can see Harlow is in the type of situation where he is dependent on Joe. Making Franco ill-equipped to play on Harlow’s dependency well unfortunate for the sake of storytelling.

On The Fence

Sex and The Industry

I don’t know. To me, it was sort of weird how sex and the porn industry was figured in. We get a lot of sex scenes, yet no frontal nudity. There isn’t much about casting, production, or even how Stephen became King Cobra, and while these things aren’t central to the story, it did feel like leaving them out lead to a lack of flavor.

What I mean is, money wise, I was wondering how much Stephen actually made on Brent’s films? We know it is enough for fancy watches and cars, but how much really? Much less, without knowing about the casting and all that, it made it a bit harder to pin down if Stephen was misunderstood or truly a creeper.

Character Development & Missing Information

Something I’m beginning to notice is that some productions either reveal things to you either through storytelling and making your own assumptions, to just flat out telling you things. Often times without the weight of the issue being there. Strangely enough, I feel with Harlow you understand why he is in the predicament he is in and why he does the things he does because he is developed. With Sean and Stephen though, we don’t get that. It is told Stephen has never been good with women and experiments in college, hence his sexual identity, but how he got into porn and things of that nature are missing. Sort of leaving essential parts of his character out.

Same goes, in a way, with Sean. We know he wanted to work in film, and the money is what got him in porn, but what was his life like before all that? We meet his mother Janette (Alicia Silverstone), but was he raised by a single mother and what was that like? That, alongside many other questions, are what makes you want to research things for while this isn’t a biopic, it probably is one of the rare times you’ll see these people’s lives dramatized. Making it where you’d wish the bathroom and kitchen sink were thrown in.

Overall: Mixed (Home Viewing)

Setting aside my consistent need to always want more details than perhaps needed, this was an OK film. Clayton, Allen, and Slater make you care and wish to analyze their characters. Slater because Stephen has issues, as does Harlow, and honestly, Clayton just kind of benefits from his Zac Efron-esque appeal. But, unfortunately, Franco’s unhinged and wild performance puts a damper on things so, in combination with the lack of information about the industry, the almost prude nature of the porn, and meek character development, I’m left with mixed feelings about this movie.

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