Con Licencia Para Matar
aka With License to Kill aka Las Tigresas
Written by Alfredo Ruanova
Directed by Rafael Baledón
When danger rears it’s head, and the police are helpless, they call in Las Tigresas! A trio of fighting femmes donning black catsuits with leopard print collars who bust in and kick serious butt, then collect fat paychecks to live exciting jet-setting lives.
There are two Las Tigresas films, Con Licencia Para Matar (With License to Kill) is the second, following Muñecas Peligrosas (Dangerous Dolls), though according to some material I read, this one may have been filmed first. That’s not surprising, as both films appear to be filmed one after the other (they even share sets and actors, and Cazadores de Espias also shares sets and actors and was filmed at almost the same time in 1967!)
Las Tigresas are a mercenary group that contracts out to the IUS to do special missions (at a price!) Their liaison/mission boss is “Jefe”, Jim Morrison (who is now dating Emily, the leaders of Las Tigresas) They have a comic relief maid named Leonor who occasionally joins them for adventures, and in this film also get a comic relief butler named Hector who is sort of dating Leonor.
Las Tigresas are independent warrior women who don’t wait around for men to save them. Despite calling Morrison their boss, he barely does anything except give them assignments and take Emily out on dates (In a clear HR violation!) The ladies are independent role models, not only does Leonor spend both films wanting to be one of them, in this film Hector even tries to join their ranks.
Unlike the other Las Tigresas film, there are no English subtitles for Con Licencia Para Matar, but a TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles! Con Licencia Para Matar is the much more enjoyable Las Tigresas film, and the lack of accessibility means it still lingers in the realm of obscurity despite the best efforts of world cinema fanatics. As this film is rather rare, enjoy the far too detailed plot synopsis review below. Or else!
There seems to be a theme in Mexican spy cinema with the beginning of the film involving characters flying to whatever city the action is taking place at, and then going for a leisurely drive. Fans of that trope now have another film to add to their canon. Everyone else (which I strongly suspect is everyone ever), might want to hit the fast-forward button for a minute or three.
A group of henchmen (including a very short guy dressed as a young kid) target a van with a gold shipment and kill all four of the policemen/security guards in it, stealing the van and the gold inside it. But the killers become the killees when they park the van and are assaulted and murdered by a group of fantastic robots!
The robots would not be out of place in Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, because they are guys in green suits with giant K’s on their chests. The K’s stand for Klux, as their creator and controller is the mad Dr. Klux. He’s up to no good, and his robots are nearly invincible, leaving no one to stand in their way. Except Las Tigresas!
A council of concerned important people decide to call them in, though Las Tigresas are currently busy killing a bunch of other drug-pushing villains. They shoot them in the head, fire arrows at them, stab them with swords, throw the swords into other guys, and just beat the frak out of them.
Dr. Klux gets word of their hiring and immediately sends some robots to deal with Las Tigresas. Emily and Diana are relaxing at home, Diana shooting arrows at Emily’s book. There is a confusing edit in the middle of this scene with Diana in a wedding dress that ends and then the arrow scene continues. This is to explain that Diana will soon be retiring to marry her boyfriend Raul, but the mid-scene placement means someone was asleep in the editing booth. The robots burst in, and all the weapons Diana, Emily, maid Leonor, and the butler Hector use are ineffective: swords, arrows, chairs, bullets, and fists. The robots finally manage to be driven away by the steam bath, the heat threatening to melt them. So word to the wise: Put in a steam room if you are subject to random robot attacks!
A music video breaks out at a club with a song that has a beat similar to Stand By Me, and then the song actually turns into Stand By Me. It’s evolution in action! Diana is at this club for her hot date with her fiance Raul, but she’s stood up. Jefe has taken Emily out to dance away the terror of invincible robots threatening their home, and soon she’s dancing on tables while someone is being murdered in the back of the club (though it’s not confirmed until the later in the film, this is obviously Diana’s missing boyfriend Raul). The club is a den of thieves owned by the outlaw group partially responsible for this mess, as Dr. Klux soon arrives to chat with them. They are partners in the sense that they have some sort of militant goal and Dr. Klux is working with them for a scheme to smuggle out the stolen gold for a stiff fee. The male militant is less than impressed with Dr. Klux, but the Blonde Boss Lady Adriana (Claudia Islas) continues their deal.
Most of Las Tigresas’ work seems to be slowly investigating what we just saw. This is probably more realistic, but we demand women fighting robots, and that isn’t being delivered! Soon the ladies start going undercover to the club to investigate, punching sleazy guys while doing so. Even the maid Leonor goes undercover at the club, disguised as a man. Her goatee soon becomes loose enough she is exposed and gets captured by the villains. Investigation into Raul’s disappearance leads to the discovery that someone is pretending to be Raul, and later the discovery of Raul’s body.
Dr. Klux knows all about the Las Tigresas, and his scheme to get out the gold has an extra layer – he’s created a robot duplicate of the captured Leonor made out of gold. Klux also makes a duplicate of Morrison, you can tell the robots apart because they wear black gloves. Never trust anyone with black gloves, for they are secret gold-built robot doubles!
Adriana pretends to aide the Tigresas in finding Dr. Klux, but as Admiral Ackbar would say…”It’s a trap!” She traps two of the Tigresas in a room with rotating light that burns all it touches. They left lots of wood furniture in that room to demonstrate how horrible it is. But they didn’t count on Diana having a blowtorch in one of her high heels, which she uses to Bugs Bunny their way out the wall. I’d call this unbelievable, but almost the exact same thing happens twice in Captain America: The Winter Soldier! Adriana also forgot about the third Tigresa, who captures her briefly before being captured by other guards.
Things come to a head with the villains as Dr. Klux betrays Adriana, shooting her and having his robots deal with her men – squeezing and crushing them while Dr. Klux laughs like a maniac. There are some pretty graphic fates of the villains, who have their heads smashed and even fake eyeballs popped out!
The two free Tigresas arrive and soon the radio relay controlling the robots has an arrow in it (which causes it to catch on fire! Use UL labels, people!) and Dr. Klux is ranting and shooting a gun wildly before he gets power lines dropped on him and he’s electrocuted. A shocking end to a guy with a weird name.
The captured heroes are freed by the dying Adriana as the robot lair explodes all around them. Because all evil lairs explode when the villain is defeated. The Tigresas then go cash their huge paychecks.
Rated 6/10 (credits, butler, power, dancer, burn, a special K)
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