Cazadores de Espías (Review)

Cazadores de Espías

aka Spy Hunter
Cazadores de Espías
Story by Adolfo Torres Portillo
Screenplay by Rafael Baledón
Directed by Rafael Baledón

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
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!
Cazadores de Espías

Ricardo (Carlos East) – Ricardo’s twin brother Ramiro is murdered right in front of him, and Ricardo goes on a quest for revenge, which puts him in the middle of two rival criminal espionage groups and some innocent people. Part of his cover is disguising as the luchador Rayo De Oro, because that’s how you go undercover in Mexico, dress as a flamboyant wrestler.
Chelelo Ochoa (Eleazar García “Chelelo”) – A relative of the dead Mr. X who inherits part of the property that becomes the center of espionage conflicts. Wants to promote wrestling matches for money. At one point has to disguise himself as Rayo De Oro when Ricardo goes missing. Is either Leonor’s husband or distant cousin with the same last name (I was unable to figure this out). Eleazar García has a nickname, so we know from experience to prepare for comedic pain. Though, really, Chelelo isn’t that unfunny. He might be the most entertaining nicknamed Mexican comedian I’ve seen in a film. And I’ve seen quite a few! So many nicknamed Mexican comedians…
Leonorilda “Leonor” Ochoa (Leonorilda Ochoa) – Leonor is one of the not really deceased Mr. X’s long lost relatives who gain ownership of a property he controls, thus everyone tries to kill her and Chelelo. They keep failing at it. She wants to turn the property into a gogo dancing hall. Leonorilda Ochoa also appears in Muñecas Peligrosas and Con Licencia Para Matar.
Sylvana (Maura Monti) – Leader of a villainous faction that is trying to gain possession of the property everyone wants. Owns a Carnivorous Plant and a bunch of goons. Maura Monti also appears in Muñecas Peligrosas, Con Licencia Para Matar, La Mujer Murciélago, S.O.S. Conspiracion Bikini, El Planeta de las Mujeres Invasoras, and Santo Contra la Invasion de los Marcianos.
Mr. X (Héctor Andremar) – The mysterious Mr. X is very mysterious. Most mysterious of all is his plan, which makes no real sense. Hides out under the property in question all day and gives his men branded uniforms. He also has a twin brother, but he kills him to fake his own death. I’m pretty sure this is Héctor Andremar.
Carnivorous Plant (itself) – A very hungry plant that is eager to eat anything and anyone it can get its vines on! Used by Sylvana to threaten her enemies.
Robot (???) – A remote controlled robot that looks like a modified diving suit with a stove grill in the front of it. Controlled by the Mad Scientist Guy using a remote in his cane. Uses it to kill the enemies of his group, and also as a wrestling opponent in a bid to kill off Ricardo.
Mad Scientist Guy (???) – One of Sylvana’s goons who controls the Robot that kills people and wrestles. Takes great joy in seeing his creating destroy the living both inside and outside the ring. Forgot to use circuit breakers, proving he really is mad. Meets a shocking end. I am not sure who played him.

Cazadores de Espías
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Gigantes Planetarios (Review)

Gigantes Planetarios

aka Planetary Giants
Gigantes Planetarios
Story by Alfredo Ruanova
Screenplay by Alfredo Ruanova and Emilio Gómez Muriel
Directed by Alfredo B. Crevenna

Gigantes Planetarios
Mexican science fiction was in a heyday in the 1960s, not only was the lucha libre genre doing strong work and showing masked wrestlers battling all sorts of beings, but there also was a nice batch of exploration scifi. These features would fit in nicely with the 1950s science fiction output in America, especially the many early rocket films that featured long sequences of astronauts preparing for their rocket missions, taking off in their rocket ships, and dealing with every day space annoyances like meteors, which usually meant an extended spacewalk sequence to repair the damage. These films became superseded in the 1960s by films where things don’t take 75 minutes for something to happen. Gigantes Planetarios (aka Planetary Giants) comes off as a nice hybrid of styles. There is still the homebrew science astronauts and slow build to actual rocket flight, but by then we got aliens and dictators and murder, so things are happening!
Gigantes Planetarios
Director Alfredo B. Crevenna and producer Emilio Gómez Muriel decided to save on money by producing two films at once, so Gigantes Planetarios is immediately followed by El Planeta de las Mujeres Invasoras. The films have a few mirror parallels, but end up being different in tone and quality. While Gigantes Planetarios features the Planet of Eternal Night, El Planeta de las Mujeres Invasoras goes to the Planet of Eternal Light. Gigantes Planetarios has a society dominated by a dictatorial male, while El Planeta de las Mujeres Invasoras has a society dominated by a dictatorial female (and is an all-woman society!) Both films feature Professor Daniel Wolf pretending to be a tough guy villain in order to fool the aliens. Both films feature an extended boxing match that ends with a character paid to throw the fight. Overall, El Planeta de las Mujeres Invasoras just ends up being more fun, because it fully embraces its campiness while still delivering a good story.

That isn’t to say Gigantes Planetarios is bad, it just takes a while to get going before running around on the alien planet begins. But ultimately, things don’t come together into a bunch of fun, it just goes along being average. And average doesn’t always cut it. There are some golden scenes, especially when the aliens are first invading Earth and blasting people at random. Those darn aliens, who will they blast next?
Gigantes Planetarios

Professor Daniel Wolf (Guillermo Murray) – Famous professor of knowing stuff, he gets involves in the whole aliens coming to Earth and doing sabotage business. Takes over the construction of Professor Walter’s rocketship and flies it to the invading planet to take the fight to the aliens.
Silvia (Adriana Roel) – Professor Wolf’s loyal assistant, she joins the space crew against his wishes and proves herself a valued member of the team as they fight the alien menace.
Marcos Godoy (Rogelio Guerra) – A boxer looking for a place to hid from the mob, he ends up accidentally joining the space mission when he steals the spacesuits of the real pilots.
Rey Taquito (José Ángel Espinosa “Ferrusquilla”) – The comic relief manager of Marcos who also accidentally joins the space mission. Is the older blue collar viewpoint.
El Protector (José Gálvez) – The nefarious dictator of The Planet of Eternal Darkness, bent on harassing Earth and has no regard for the life of his own men.

Gigantes Planetarios
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The Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy (review)

The Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy

aka Las Luchadoras contra la momia

Lorena Velázquez as Gloria Venus (Loretta)
Armando Silvestre as Armando Rios
Elizabeth Campbell as Golden Rubi (Ruby)
Ramón Bugarini as Prince Fujiyata
Víctor Velázquez as Dr. Luis Trelles (Prof. Tracy)
Nathanael “Frankenstein” León as Fujiyata’s bald henchman

Mexico has a proud tradition of Los Luchadoros movies, from Santo fighting Martians to Blue Demon fighting Infernal Brains. Even the women get into the act, this is the second film featuring Las Luchadoras Gloria Venus and Golden Rubi, as well as the forth featuring the title villain, the Aztec Mummy (Earlier film Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.) It’s the Mexican version of Aliens vs. Predator, except from the 1960’s and thousands of times better. Like most of the Mexican Wrestling movies, it’s got lots of campy fun. However, this film has a dark side that scars it’s appeal this day. There is a gang of villains in the movie who are an Asian gang. Being that Mexico has like 2 Asian people in the 1960’s, they are all played by Mexicans. So the villains are a yellow-face stereotype similar to anti-Japan films made during World War II. The Yellow-faceness can be argued that they didn’t give the actors false slanted eyes, such as horrible examples on Sean Connery in You Only Live Twice and John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror, but they just had actors who looked vaguely Asian. Very vaguely. If you were drunk. And blind. And high on ‘shrooms. Barring that, the film holds together pretty well. Just view it for what it is, an artifact of the times. Sit back, relax, and pull a half-Nelson on your opponent while your tag-team partner distracts the ref so you can hit them with a chair.

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