Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Misterio en las Bermudas" (1979) d/ Gilbert Martin

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By 1979, it's safe to say the lemon that once was the phenomenon of Mexican lucha libre movies had been squeezed of nearly every drop of entertaining juice, and tonight's review, known as Mystery in the Bermuda Triangle en ingles, is a brittle, dialed-in epitaph for the zany genre, bereaft of any real thrills. El Enmascarado de Plata, or Santo, as he was known worldwide, was already sixty-two years old(!) here, and though he would make four more wrestling movies before his death in 1984, the writing was already clearly on the wall.

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"A thousand masks and you haven't got one condom?"
After a plane vanishes from sight during a tropical storm caused by a mirrored periscope of sorts, two Mexican anglers snag the mask of Santo from the rippling surf, leading one of the fishermen to tell the not-that-amazing tale that led up to this event. We see Santo, The Blue Demon, and Mil Mascaras dust off some ham n' egg opponents in a brief triple tag team match before they're asked by the government to go undercover to protect an Iranian karate-princess while she signs an important treaty. What's undercover for three guys in masks whipping around in convertible sports cars and stretch Cadillacs, I ask you. On the evil, scheming side of the peso, is an egghead assassin who's enlisted a trio of Mexican Mata Hari's to seduce valuable information out of the wrestlers/super heroes/special agents. He's also hired some thugs to rough up Mil Mascaras on a pier, and jack his wristwatch. What a bastard.

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"As if you couldn't tell by the matching silver lame' headbands and jumpsuits, we're from an underwater city..."
Our heroes have a sloppily choreographed scrap or two with the egghead's beefy henchmen, save a drowning countryman from grainy stock footage of a shark, have a pair of uninspired car chases (and a boat chase) that show off their flash vehicles (and motorboat), and sit around sipping champagne in their best leisure wear (and color-coordinated maskies, of course). Santo's sympathetic spy-girl, Rina (Silvia Manriquez), is kidnapped by a pair of humps in silver lame' jumpsuits and taken to an unnamed city under the ocean, which has it's own sun, grass, and luxurious hotel, apparently. There, after being purified (by standing in a fountain in a bikini, mind you), she is reunited with her scientist father, who informs her she will never dwell among the surface folk again. In the end, they rescue the princess, but are transported off-camera to the underwater city, leading to the inevitable nuclear apocalypse that will no doubt occur in a Lucha Libre-less world, as evidenced by footage of a stock mushroom cloud. Could this really be the end???

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"Which one of you high school gymnasium assassins has Mil's action slacks?"
If you set out to see every single Lucha Libre movie as a weird goal for yourself, I suppose you'd probably want to add this one to your list. Compared to earlier efforts, though, this one is flatter than the sounds coming out of a seventh grade marching band practice. The two stories barely intersect (or make sense, really), and the usual rough n' tumble action you might expect from one of these things is phoned in and lifeless. Notably, Mil Mascaras appears on camera momentarily without a mask on...from behind. Wah wah wah wahhhhh. You'll be blowing sad trombones of your own throughout this mess, which only manages a single Wop on the rating scale, a thrown match if there ever was one. Avoid.

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"After this mission, we should become masked Chartered Accountants..."
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