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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hector Lavoe was a complicated brilliant artist who deserves better
than films like this and the Marc Antony-Jennifer Lopez fiasco El
Cantante. The current poster for the film retitled as "The King Of
Salsa: The Untold Story Of Hector Lavoe" implies that the film is a
documentary which alas it is not. To see Lavoe at his prime, watch
"Celia Cruz & The Fania Allstars In Africa" which was reissued in the
US on DVD by Geneon Entertainment in 2002. The film is an embarrassment
to all the real-life individuals from the period such as Willie Colon,
Johnny Pacheco, Joe Cuba, Yomo Toro and Pete 'El Conde' Rodriguez.
None of the actors accomplish anything more than chewing the scenery and emoting under the hackneyed direction of Anthony Felton and the equally bad cinematography of Hernan Herrera. The one worthy surprise was an extra, Luz M. Fuentes, who is stunningly beautiful and more than willing to undress for the good of the film sales effort.
The best musical partnership since Lennon and McCartney -- i.e, Héctor Lavoe and Willie Colón- has yet to find a film that does them justice. "Lavoe, The Untold Story" is filled with narrative gaps and melodramatic clichés. The script has plenty of anecdotes from salsa singer Lavoe but there is no narrative link. The film fails in replicating the golden age of Fania records and the great songs by Lavoe and Colon end up as background noise for bad taste and bad acting. Raul Carbonell plays Lavoe with a melodramatic effort, lip syncing Lavoe songs, but his performance is closer to parody. This is a film to avoid.
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