Monday, October 3, 2011

Spin-Kicking Hitman

Director: Ernesto Díaz Espinoza
Writer: Ernesto Díaz Espinoza
Starring: Marko Zaror, Celine Reymond, Alejandro Castillo
2009 | Chile | Not Rated | 90 mins

Action films used to involve well choreographed fight scenes that relied little on cutting and showed the action as it happened, not quick-cutting to every swing, hit, and blow as it is in the majority of mainstream cinema today. Understanding the action through properly rehearsed, discussed, and executed visuals is just as important as a telling a well-plotted story, it takes skill and understanding. And when this can be achieved by actors or stunt performers with no added special effects, green screen, quick cutting, or wire work, the action can become an unbelievable and exciting ballet of violence.

Mandrill (Marko Zaror) is a hitman who's only goal has been to discover and take out the real Cyclops, a mysterious man who killed his parents when he was just a boy. Living and learning through his womanizing Uncle Chone (Alejandro Costillo) since this incident, Mandrill is slick, suave, and tries to be just like a character his father played in a sleazy James Bond-esque series about a agent named John Colt. When he sees an opportunity to get his vengeance through Cyclops' own daughter (Celine Reymond) Mandrill finds himself falling in love and getting into a heap of trouble, fist-fights, and one-liners that are getting him no where with the girl.

Mandrill is a campy and stylized homage, and slight spoof, on the James Bond films. Marko Zaror, who uses absolutely no wire-work during the fight scenes, spin kicks and flip kicks his way through the movie pretending he really is a womanizer just like John Colt. Blending comedy and action can be a tough game and, while some of the gags work, a lot of the film's comic relief becomes repetitious as his character's limited development doesn't provide a lot to expand on. The fight scenes however are well choreographed, are not quick-cut, and Zaror has a very unique style that has not been seen in other films of this genre.

Ultimately though the film suffers from being nothing more than a showcase for Zaror's martial arts skills. The writing and direction are fairly amateurish, the characters are cut and paste, and the film runs out of steam quickly and becomes repetitious going from fight scene to flashback to one-liners and back again. It's not really funny or as exciting as it should be and runs a touch longer than it should. Mandrill is no John Colt.

All contents copyright 2011 Tyler Baptist

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