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Lounge Singer Leads A Colorful Double Life In The Ring

Author: kikaidar from Wichita, KS USA
7 November 2000

One of the first of the lucha libre (Mexican wrestling hero) films, HURACAN RAMIREZ plays essentially as a straight drama with the added gimmick of the lead occasionally -- and I stress 'occasionally' -- appearing in a mask and tights. The character is seen sans mask for roughly 90% of his screen time, and is ultimately unmasked in the ring at the film's conclusion.

This is contrary to the more developed lucha genre that thrived from the late 1950s through the early 1980s, where the heroes never unmasked and generally possessed little to no visible, structured personal life beyond that required to keep the plotline rolling.

Fernando Jackson sings in a night club. His overweight father is a fairly successful local wrestler who is vastly unimpressed with his son's choice of a career. Not that the older man's home life is much better -- for all his rough and tough exterior and macho vocation, Pops is dominated by his younger daughter, a frustratingly precocious 8 year-old.

Even worse, the older wrestler heartily dislikes the mysterious masked luchadore Huracan Ramirez. Ramirez is successful but (for secret personal reasons) refuses to consider a match with the portly wrestler. It develops that Huracan Ramirez is actually Fernando, moonlighting, and he doesn't want to go up against his disapproving father.

The only one who knows the wrestler's dual identity is his annoyingly Jimmy Olsonish sidekick, who doubles as his trainer and his stand-in for any situation in which Fernando and Huracan might have to be seen at the same time.

Things become somewhat confused when the assistant is mistaken for Huracan Ramirez during a match, and he is pressed into competing in the luchadore's place. He wins by default, but is then mistakenly identified as the real Huracan by the older wrestler's two daughters. After this plot thread rambles on for several scenes, he turns around and deliberately tips the older daughter off that her brother is Huracan Ramirez. It's a real mess, folks!

After the father finally forces a match, he's impressed by Huracan's skill and they're set up to wrestle as a tag-team against a paid of rudos (which includes El Medico Asesino, who starred in the first lucha film, ENMASCARADO DEL PLATA).

Before the match can take place, criminals kidnap the elder wrestler. Fernando comes to the rescue as Huracan Ramirez, but his leg is injured by a slash with a broken bottle. The wrestlers battle the thugs and escape.

Not drawing the logical conclusion, the father scoffs at Fernando's injury when he arrives home to find him under a doctor's care. He then proceeds to the ring, where a last minute replacement is found to take the place of the missing Huracan.

Huracan Ramirez rallies and arrives late for the match, literally throwing his stand-in out of the ring. However, the rudos are tipped off to his injury by a girl who works at the club and whose tainted affections Fernando has scorned. The leg takes a beating, and Fernando is finally subdues enough for Medico Asesino to unmask him in public. Realizing the truth, the elder wrestler wades in and they win the match in a last minute rush.

Very crude in comparison to the sets and costumes of the later lucha films, which grew even wilder during the 1960s, when they were deliberately pitched to compete with the more expensive and polished action films being imported from other countries.

Particularly distracting is that the initial bout is speeded up. Huracan Ramirez pulls off a chain of good, "flying" moves, but they become a bit jaw dropping when they occur at double normal speed and in rapid succession. The action approaches the smooth chaos of a cartoon at this point.

Equally annoying is the teenaged sidekick, who is clearly girl crazy and completely unable to keep the wrestler's most sacred secret. He's after the older sister and will clearly do anything required to attract her interest.

Viewable as a curiosity, and the "personal" plotine grows on you with repeated viewing, but it's distinctly minor fare.

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