"Compadres" is a good companion to other recent Mexican-American collaborations.
As large as the United States is, it only borders two other nations, so it make sense that there's a lot of cooperation among the film industries of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. In the case of Mexico (even more so than with Canada), this geographic and cultural relationship results in many co-productions AND American movies with a strong cross-cultural connection. Excellent films since the turn of the century that fall into one of these categories include 2006's "Pan's Labyrinth", the 2006 Best Picture Oscar nominee "Babel" and 2004's Best Picture Oscar winner "Crash", plus, in 2015 alone, "Spare Parts", "McFarland USA", "Sicario" and the Oscar-nominated documentary "Cartel Land". One 2016 addition is the Mexican-produced bi-lingual comedy-drama "Compadres" (R, 1:41), which, unlike some of the examples above, includes major Mexican movie stars alongside well-known American character actors.
The Spanish word "compadre" usually refers to the god-parent relationship between two families, but it's also used more liberally to refer to a companion who is regarded as family or as a very close friend. Of course, some people can be all of the above. That's the relationship between Mexican police officer Diego Garza (Omar Chaparro) and his partner on the force, which just heightens Garza's grief when his compadre is killed in a drug bust. Garza successfully arrests the drug kingpin known as Santos (Erick Elías) but Santos quickly escapes from custody and kidnaps Garza's new girlfriend, Maria (Aislinn Derbez, the daughter of Mexican actors and the star of the delightful 2015 Mexican rom-com "A la mala").
With information gained from his former boss on the police force (José Sefami) and an FBI contact (Eric Roberts, he of 150 film and TV appearances from 2011-2015), Garza figures out a way to get to Santos – or make Santos come to him. It turns out that a San Diego businessman (Kevin Pollak, from "Avalon", "A Few Good Men", "Casino" and "The Usual Suspects") and a computer hacker have managed to steal $10 million from Santos. Garza wants to get that money and use it as leverage against Santos. Garza ends up contacting a possible Santos connection whom the FBI calls "the accountant". That person turns out to be a nerdy/sweet 17-year-old hacker named Vic (Joey Morgan, from 2015's underrated "Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse"). When the original hacker turns up dead, Garza takes Vic to look for the hacker's financier. As Garza and Vic follow one lead after another, Santos' men are hot on their trail – especially two bumbling but ruthless henchmen, one with a gun and the other with a flamethrower.
"Compadres" is fun, but formulaic. Its overall tone calls to mind the 2015 Spanish-language comedy "Ladrones" (a joint American-Dominican production that takes place in Mexico). The flow of its story is similar to 1990's "Kindergarten Cop" and the "Lethal Weapon" sequels with Joe Pesci – movies with openings and underlying plots which are deadly serious, but with humorous lines and situations, and characters who serve as comic relief. (And that flamethrower reminds me of the similarly over-the-top weapon of choice used by Javier Bardem's character in "No Country for Old Men".) The acting's generally solid, but sometimes lacks energy. The direction of Enrique Begne is loose, while the script by Begne, Ted Perkins and Gabriel Ripstein features entertaining dialog, but unoriginal plot points. The action scenes are good and the plot has a couple twists, but most of the film is predictable. The jokes are sometimes funny, but it's the overall sense of fun that's consistent. "Compadres" is a fairly entertaining movie that is more than the sum of its parts. "B"
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this