Cazadores de Espías (Review)
Cazadores de Espías
Still more exciting than whenever Mantaur wrestled!
In 1969, Mexico had noticed the whole secret agents thing has gotten a little ridiculous and thus ripe for parody. Enter Cazadores de Espías, a comedic film filled with secret agents, double crosses, identical twins, a carnivorous plant, a masked villain, a seductive villainess, a luchador, a mad scientist, and even a robot. There is plenty of goofy action across the board, lending Cazadores de Espías the power to potentially be something bigger than it is. Unfortunately, there is no subtitled version at all, and the first half of the film leans heavily on verbal jokes, leaving people like me to be forced to lean on their rusty Spanish. At TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinking subtitles, but they probably would have come in handy here! Despite the lack of clear understanding of a few plot points, the general gist was easy to get, and no one needs subtitles when a robot is running around! Cazadores de Espías is fun, but thanks to the language veil it isn’t as fun as it should have been.
Cazadores de Espías was filmed around the same time as Muñecas Peligrosas and Con Licencia Para Matar, which is pretty obvious. It features familiar sets and cast members, and all are directed by Rafael Baledón (though this time the original story is by Adolfo Torres Portillo). The sets usually used at the villain’s lair is now a hotel, a control room is now a villain lair, and the familiar nightclub returns, though there is now a big wrestling ring in part of it. The goons of the mysterious Mr. X were big X’s on their uniforms (instead of G’s or K’s!) Mexican villains are all sponsored by the same letters that sponsor Sesame Street!
As the film is rather obscure, please enjoy the longer film synopsis review. But as the film is hard to follow at parts, please forgive any errors that creep in due to confusion or language barriers. As usual, I blame those nefarious Spider Gnomes of Jupiter, who cause me no end of troubles. I will defeat you one day, Spider Gnomes of Jupiter! Fans of random Mexican song interludes will enjoy the performances by Los Rockyn Devil’s, The Shadow of the Beast, Manolo Muñoz, Rubin “Penjamo” Mendez, and Jose Antonio Zevala. Non-fans will find a convenient time to go to the bathroom. Now on with the show!
Ricardo’s secret agent brother Ramiro is gunned down at Ricardo’s front door, his dying words about Mr. X. Ricardo is also an agent, and his boss is less than concerned about Mr. X, but does let Ricardo know what he wants to know about the man.
A plant enthusiast named Sylvana has a breed of carnivorous plant that she feeds guinea pigs to, and then explains her plans to some goons. She’s not a hero, but not affiliated with Mr. X, who is a rival in evilness. She feeds one of her goons to the carnivorous plant so we all know she’s evil.
Speaking of Mr. X, we meet him as a masked man who allows Sylvana’s goons to toss his identical brother out of a window to fake his own death. (like Ricardo’s brother, this brother is also played by the same actor!) This is an elaborate plan to gain control of a building he already owned to do nefarious things. I’m not sure how fake killing yourself to steal a building you own works, but then I’m not a masked supervillain. Or am I…. According to one synopsis, Mr. X is planning to plant missiles there, but then there is also some business about a type of polymer that’s good for spaceships. Let’s just say this building is filled with the glowing stuff that’s in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.
His plan really backfires because he had two distant relatives he didn’t know about, cousins Lorena and Chelelo Ochoa. I don’t know if they are cousins themselves, or if Lorena is the cousin and Chelelo is her husband. Considering they end the film kissing, I hope it’s the latter. They end up inheriting the property, instead of Mr. X’s identical twin that was really killed but everyone should think is still alive, for reasons best left to not think about too hard.
Lorena and Chelelo have different ideas of what to do with the place, she wants to open up a dance club, while he wants to have wrestling matches. They will end up doing both. Before all that happens, there are several events where different villain factions try to kill them, only for all attempts to end in comedic failure with the pair oblivious as to the goings on. Don’t worry, we’ll have occasional spy murders and music videos to break up the comedy scenes.
The preparations for the gogo dancer/wrestling club allows different factions to work their way into the building. Sylvana poses as a gogo dancer who is hired by Laurena, while Ricardo poses as the fame luchador Rayo De Oro and is hired by Chelelo. We get a full music video promotion and Maura Monti dancing, followed by Rayo De Oro wrestling four guys in business suits. By wrestle, I mean he kicks most of them repeatedly. Sylvana is very interested in this wrestling match, cheering Rayo De Oro on. She even squeezes Lorena’s head in excitement, very similar to the wrestling match scene in Shadow of the Thin Man with Myrna Loy squeezing on William Powell.
Mr. X drops a crate on one of Sylvana’s goons, the next scene we see a flat guy who looks like a deflated balloon being lifted for the major characters by the exasperated police investigator to ask if they recognize him. This police character demands some attention, he becomes increasingly upset at the piles of dead bodies, and knows Ricardo is involved but also a good guy. By the end of the film, Ricardo is purposefully not killing people to keep the police inspector happy.
Mr X’s hideout is right below the property in question, and as Lorena and Chelelo renovate they discover a different secret room, an old lab. They start mixing up a formula they find in the lab book. It is some sort of whiskey dust, but as they finish it they are confronted by a trio of goons who capture them. Lorena and Chelelo think fast, and soon get the three guys drunk on whiskey dust. The goons then drink other random potions in the lab. One guy gets really hairy, one guy gets old grey skin, and one guy starts rapidly inflating. Is this Willy Wonka’s test lab???
That night the three goons are killed off by unseen force as they scream in POV scenes taken right out of classic horror flicks that haven’t decided to reveal the monster yet. It is a big silver robot, that looks like a modified diving suit with a stove grill in the front of it. The robot was briefly seen in Sylvana’s hideout, and is controlled via remote control hidden in a cane by a mad scientist who looks like the villain from The Golden Child, Sardo Numspa (who was played by Charles Dance), with a monocle.
The Mad Scientist then challenges his robot against the luchador Rayo De Oro in a public fight. Chelelo sets up the match for the night. Only one problem, Ricardo is sort of being held at gunpoint by Sylvana (who decided to dress up in a skimpy nightie before she pulled out her gun!) He figured out she’s bad, and she is convinced he is Mr. X.
Chelelo is forced to dress up as Rayo De Oro to fight the robot, except the robot’s steel skin and great weight and strength makes it a formidable opponent, and Chelelo is a weakling goof. So he spends most of the match getting beat up by the robot and barely escaping death grips.
Ricardo punches out Sylvana and feeds her to her carnivorous plant, and heads to the wrestling match. He jumps in the ring and begins ripping out wires and antennas off the Robot. It soon short circuits, falls over, and catches on fire! The feedback from the fire travels through the cane and electrocutes the Mad Scientist.
Mr. X decides right now is the perfect time to send his men to attack, right after everyone ran screaming from the wrestling match and the cops arrive. So they pop up one by one from the underground lair, only to be arrested immediately or instantly knocked out by Ricardo. Mr. X sees all his men fail and refuses to come out of the hole, so Ricardo goes down to fight and defeat him. The day is saved, the Ochoas make out (boy I hope they weren’t really related!), and revenge was gotten. So, yay!
Cazadores de Espías wasn’t terrible, but it suffers from so much of the comedy not translating well with no subtitles. The goofy spy stuff is fun, and I can’t think of another spy movie where a robot battles a fake masked wrestler that isn’t straight out of one of the actual luchadores films. Still, the plot ends up too being simple despite the complex multiple twins and multiple spy villains story needed to set it up, and the characters then spend most of the film goofing around before things resolve rather neatly. An interesting film to know about, but Cazadores de Espías will probably continue to mire in obscurity.
Rated 5/10 (screaming skull, screaming decoration, cartoonish horrible violence, secret stuff, I think the robot is broken…)
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