By 1981, El Santo, the legendary Man In The Silver Mask, had dominated the lucha libre (wrestling hero) genre for over 20 years. In his 60s, he had two additional features in his future, but by now he was beginning to slow down.
This film was intended as his masked son's entry into films, and El Santo appears on briefly in a rather unusual prelude. Standing in a cave in which a silver mask is on display in a glass case, he briefly quizzes a young man (the character's son) in dark glasses as to whether or not he is up to the challenge of upholding the family tradition for upholding justice and fighting for the people.
When the youngster agrees, Santo tosses a capsule which swathes him in smoke. Seconds later, he emerges, in full costume, to embrace his father. At this point, Santo himself is out of the film.
The actual film which follows is rather minor fare, and is a bit jarring to fans who were raised on Santo's more traditional wrestling style. El Hijo del Santo (The Son of Santo) plays his role more with an eye to the martial arts craze -- which had begun to steal the lucha film's audience in recent years.
He only appears in costume in three brief sequences, including the introduction, and when he does appear, he relies on a series of high kicks and karate whoops to get the job done. The result is...interesting. It's certainly athletic, but it's less visually entertaining than the various lucha moves that Santo traditionally relied upon.
A criminal band is smuggling jewels and contraband. Chanoc (Nelson Velazquez) and his comedic sidekick Tzekub (played with infinite annoyance value by Arturo "Cobitos" Cobo) are on the gang's trail but are almost instantly attacked and dumped into the sea.
El Hijo del Santo (in his civilian identity -- he goes unmasked for 95% of the film, relying upon sunglasses to rather ineffectively conceal his identity) and HIS sidekick Carlitos (Carlos Suarez, possibly a reprise of his sidekick to the elder Santo in RA's earlier SANTO CONTRA EL ASESINO DE LA TV) are deep sea fishing nearby and save the hapless duo.
Chanoc and his rescuer (he's switched back out of his mask by the time Chanoc comes to) spend the rest of the film obliquely closing in on the gang. Chanoc is attacked a good half dozen times before Carlitos and Tzekub stumble across a clue in a graveyard.
Spotting two green-faced vampires out for a midnight stroll, they call in Hijo and Chanoc, who discover these are gang members in disguise.
Substituting for a courier seems a logical idea and, pausing only for a (presumably intentionally) ludicrous wrestling match, during which Chanoc dons a blue mask, the duo smash the criminal band.
A definite cheat for those of us who, steeped in the supernatural tradition of many of the lucha films, assumed that the film might well involve a) vampires and/or b) killers. It contains neither. Still, I suppose the title CHANOC AND THE SON OF SANTO AGAINST THE BULLYING THUGS wasn't deemed marketable enough.
Minor fun, not overly imaginative, but at least a head above PIPPI LONGSTOCKING for killing a dull evening.
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