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Un campeon y sus amigos (2003)
Organ traffickers hold the city in a grip of fear. It's up to Lucha Superstar Dos Caras Jr. to stop them.
While this movie is mediocre at best, it's worth a look for one of the earliest film appearances of former WWE Superstar Alberto Del Rio, who by this time was still known in Mexico as the masked Dos Caras, Jr. A weird blend of action, suspense, crime and a little horror here and there, the film follows Caras Jr. befriending a couple of orphans whom he take under his wing. Meanwhile, somewhere in the underbelly of Mexico City, an organ trafficking ring is kidnapping young people to supply their leader, a ludicrous masked villain (veteran Mexican comedian Jose Natera), with the stuff he needs for his customers willing to pay the price in the black market. The noble, heroic Caras Jr. will eventually cross paths with the villains. The movie is terribly acted, with tons of inane dialog and bad taste moments (the evil doctor has a secret) and ultimately and unintentionally campy. Kudos to the producers and director for trying to capture the look and feel of the vintage Santo/Blue Demon/Mil Mascaras film adventures but those ones are miles ahead of this train wreck. Strictly for fans of Del Rio, fans of the beautiful Julieta Carpinteiro (who plays the unsuspecting sister of one of the doctor's henchmen), or fans of string-budgeted, grade-Z action flicks.
Nagagutsu sanjûshi (1972)
Perrault meets Eastwood... and it's NOT a good thing.
After watching the original 'Nagagutsu Wo Haita Neko' on DVD (a most amazing and entertaining effort I was lucky to see at the theater as a child) and getting my hands on its sequel, Nagagutsu Sanjushi, I had great expectations... which eventually were shattered, quickly and mercilessly.
First of all, the title is erroneous as 'Nagagutsu Sanjushi' translates as '3 Musketeers in Boots', mainly because the 3 cat antagonists who hunted Pero down in the first film are here too and they are actually the bad guys. Add the use of a western setting and the absence of any element related to Alexander Dumas' novel and the name for the movie is pretty confusing already.
The animation is decent but the bland character design and colors (way different from the ones in Puss 'N' Boots 1) quickly take away from it. I just couldn't connect with this Pero. In the original he was bold, witty and resourceful. Here he is mostly a bumbling pushover and the plot twist near the end is dumb and unbelievable, even for an animated feature.
Toei took a major step back with this well-meaning yet inferior film which tried to expand the universe and exploits of Charles Perrault's famous feline hero. Not bad, but not the best either... definitely the weakest entry in the Puss 'N' Boots trilogy. I suggest you see the original or its second sequel (Puss 'N' Boots Around the World in 80 Days) which returns to the winning formula and manages to recapture the magic and charm not found in this one.
Doble cara (2007)
Mexican version of 'Poker Face' is one of the (if not THE) best in the world.
"¡Fuera máscaras! ¡Ha llegado la hora del destape!" Poker Face, the popular game show from the people at Freemantle, is known in Mexico as 'Doble Cara'. It has now aired there for two years and I love it, but recently I got to see the original British version with Ant & Dec and the Australian version (called Con Test) and I believe Rodrigo Murray (the host of the Mexican version) is the best of them. A veteran film and TV actor, he jokes, he jests, he puts on funny faces and eggs contestants into attacking each other better than anyone else. More remarkable is the fact Doble Cara is the only version in the world with one host (the other versions feature two hosts). A highly entertaining show that has become a permanent part of my Saturday night TV routine and which I expect to continue for a long time.
Okey Dokey Donkey (1958)
Animated fantasy peppered with comedy and romance.
I'm not sure what cartoon Mr. Les Adams described in the plot summary above, but the one I remember is very different! Amusing, heartwarming and memorable, the story of Spunky Donkey who meets a carousel horse (actually a mare) called Marilyn. She springs to life and of course, Spunky is smitten by her beauty. Even better, she has feelings for him too! After a while, they start spending time together at the carnival and even share a kiss after an 'accident' at the bumper car ride. However, trouble ensues and they are separated. Spunky is devastated but soon discovers Marilyn is now part of an allegoric car at a local parade so he hops onto the car and joins her again as they intertwine their tails lovingly. Maybe a bit surreal for the kiddies but still entertaining and with a quite satisfactory ending, one of my favorite Harveytoon cartoons and highly recommendable to watch.
The Ghost Busters (1975)
Another gem of my lost childhood memories... retrieved!
I remember watching this show on Saturday mornings and I think it rocked (I was 4 at the time). Spenser, Tracy and Kong the Ghost Busters (known here in Mexico as 'Los Cazadores de Fantasmas' fighting all kinds of specters, ghouls and critters with their feared 'ghost de-materializer'. I recently got the complete series on DVD and am not ashamed to admit I shed a few tears of joy after watching these long lost episodes and listening to the catchy theme song again after so many years. It's still silly after all this time, but still wholesome fun as well. On a side note, F-troop was broadcast here too but I didn't realize it had the two stars of The Ghost Busters in it until recently! Forrest Tucker, Larry Storch and Bob Burns were all great in their roles and so were the guest stars (Bernie Kopell from The Love Boat, Marty Ingels, Billy Barty). I remember the cartoon too but this show holds a special place of my childhood memories. Thank you Filmation, for producing this fun series; and thank you Digital Ink and Paint for bringing us this classic on DVD. THE GHOST BUSTERS DO IT AGAIN!!
Maguma taishi (1993)
A wonderful retelling of the original Magma Taishi!
As a child, I remember rushing home from school to see "Space Giants" (Monstruos del Espacio in Spanish), a cool series about a golden giant named Magma, his wife Mol and son Gam, and Goa, the evil villain they fought.
Of course, being based on a 40-year old TV show, it's not surprising to see that this franchise is practically unknown to new generations, even though Magma Taishi was created by the legendary Osamu Tezuka (of Astroboy fame). So you can guess I was pretty excited when I learned of the existence of an animated series produced by Bandai Visual and Pioneer.
The animation is great for an early 90's series and all key elements are here; the supersonic whistle used to summon the heroes, kaijou (monsters), and the evil Goa (aka Rodak). Only if you have read the manga or watched the classic 1966 live action series can you fully appreciate the value of this production which I was lucky enough to find at the Mandarake store during a recent trip to Tokyo.
It's too bad only 13 episodes were produced! It's not Ultraman but this brings back lots of nice childhood memories. If you are like me (I'm 36, btw) then take a trip down nostalgia lane with Magma Taishi. I hope we get more of Ambassador Magma in the future.