Lady Ariel first came on the Mood Pictures studio scene in Martial Law III as an anonymous guard charged with executing corporal punishment on a convicted spy played by Lyen Parker. While her roll had zero dialogue (and zero nudity), she still managed to strike a chord with viewers who were curious as to who this new actress was with the face of an angel and the body of a supermodel. She was given a starring role in Wheel of Pain 22, which cast her as a reluctant submissive competing for prize money, followed by Domina Competition where she dazzled the audience with her portrayal of a dominatrix competing for the Top Dom title for Mood Pictures. As an actress, she showed good promise in that film's closing scene, which both set the stage as a backstory for Martial Law IV as well as being one of my favorite non-corporal punishment scenes Mood Pictures has ever had.
Martial Law IV picks up some time after the series of events in Martial Law III, with a government inquiry into the abuse of power by the officials who interrogated Lyen Parker's character. The top officials, as always, shift the blame to the lowest rung on the ladder – the guard. That guard just happens to be played by Lady Ariel. She's arrested and brought in for questioning, but in this prison, questioning is done under duress; a lot of duress.
Up first is a stint on the Parrot Perch, where Ariel is subjected to electro-torture.
There aren't many actresses that would be willing to do a scene like this, since the position itself puts a tremendous strain on the knee and wrist ligaments, so I give Ariel credit for attempting this for the film. It's a good scene, and if you're a Parrot Perch fan, you'll want to keep this one in your library. If you're just Parrot Perch curious, you'll enjoy the scene for the angles it presents.
The government inquiry presents the opportunity to tell Lyen's story through flashbacks to her whipping scenes, so you get both Ariel's Parrot Perch and then Lyen's whipping. I won't go into details here, because it's all covered in "Martial Law III", so look there if you want to see her whipped.
After the government gets all the evidence it needs, Ariel is locked in a holding cell with another prisoner; the courier who had delivered the secret government password mentioned in Martial Law III. The punishment executioner, played by Lady Amanda, comes to the cell and commands the two prisoners to strip so that they can undergo a physical examination prior to receiving their punishment, to confirm that they can withstand the abuse. After all, it would be unwise to whip a girl to death, right?
To be honest, this is one of my favorite scenes in the film. Even though there's no real physical abuse involved, the fact that a woman as beautiful and statuesque as Ariel is forced to strip and submit herself to the will of another is a huge turn-on for me, and this scene packed a bigger erotic punch for me than the later whipping scenes.
Ariel has the sort of body that looks fantastic in the Arms Over Head position, and she plays her role as the reluctant captive very well here. That body, with that face, looks stunning when stretched and locked against a prison cell's bars. Plus, if you need the corporal punishment to put an exclamation point on your interest in her, you'll certainly get that. However, there's a warm-up act first.
The courier, stripped naked and forced to undergo a medical check, is bound to the execution frame and whipped.
The actress playing the courier has a tight, petite body that looks good spread wide across the bar. The apparatus seems to dominate her physically, and that really adds a nice element to her whipping. She cries out nicely, and her body jumps and trembles with each lash of the whip very well. Hopefully she'll be willing to return for future films, if she can survive this one.
After the courier's punishment is completed, we go back to Ariel, still bound naked in her cell, her wrists cuffed high above her head. As her body presses against the cold steel bars, her old nemesis Lyen enters the scene, to tell her that Lyen has been granted the opportunity to get her revenge on her former tormentor.
This sets the stage for Ariel's long, agonizing whipping. The scene opens with Ariel bound to the parallel bar, her arms stretched out and securely knotted to the apparatus. Lyen delivers the blows very well, relishing her opportunity to give to her tormentor the punishment she herself had received from the woman now stretched out naked and helpless before her. To really appreciate the backstory to this scene, it helps to have watched both Martial Law III and Domina Competition . Otherwise, it'll just appear to be another one of Mood Picture's overly dark whipping sequences.
Which brings me to a criticism of Mood Picture's most recent work. They seem to be overly fond of shadows and keeping things hidden in the dark. This would be ok if it weren't for the fact that all of that darkness wrecks havoc with film speed and image clarity. In order for the camera to capture the action, it has to raise the ISO speed, which introduces a lot of grain and "noise" to the image. Brighter lighting makes for slower speed, which makes for better image clarity, which makes better pictures. Even older cameras with brighter lighting can produce a better picture than what an overly dark set causes Mood Pictures' new cameras to produce. Add to that a frame that is set a little too tight to the subject, thereby cropping off anything on the edge of the frame, like, oh, say the expressions of the subject when she jumps at the crack of the whip, or the expression of the tormentor when she throws the electrical switch of the Parrot Perch, and you end up with a film that could have been so much better. I'm also not too fond of the height of the parallel bar in Ariel's whipping scene. The bar obscures the view of Ariel's nipples. Had the bar been raised a bit higher, we could've had a real good money shot as her breasts bounce from the impact of the whip. Instead, with both the darkness and the bar blocking our view, the effect is lessened.
Of the four "Martial Law" films, the first one is still the best one, particularly since it's been remastered to more current film standards. However, Martial Law IV is a good second-place on the strength of the Parrot Perch scene and Ariel's Arms Over Head scenes. Will there be a fifth installment in the series? Probably not. But if there are, I hope the prison gets a good electrician in there to fix the light fixtures.