Monday, November 2, 2009

From the Lucha Diaries Vaults: El Aguila Real (Mexico, 1971)

It’s time for From the Lucha Diaries Vaults again, which can only mean one thing. That little thing called “life” has once again stepped in and prevented me from watching any obscure old foreign pulp movies to review for you, thus forcing me to recycle old content from The Lucha Diaries to keep things rolling over.

For those of you who are new to this ritual, The Lucha Diaries is a site that I created a couple years ago in connection with my project to watch and write capsule reviews of as many classic Mexican Wrestling movies as I could get my hands on. Said project continued until I developed a rare, highly selective form of hysterical blindness that resulted in me only being able to see a static image of a crudely drawn vase of flowers whenever I looked at any movie containing Superzan.

So basically From the Lucha Diaries Vaults is a lot like one of those clip-based flashback episodes that your favorite sitcom used to air as mid-season filler. So much so, in fact, that we might as well frame it in the same way. So here goes.


RICHIE
Hey, guys! Remember when Todd watched El Aguila Real… and then WROTE about it?

POTSY
What a nerd!

JOANIE
I love Chachi!

THE FONZ
Aaaaaaaay!

Suddenly things start to go all wobbly as we FADE TO:

******

So I woke up last night with this horrible idea that some Spanish speaking person might happen across this site and try to run it through Babel Fish or Google Translator or something, and that the resulting garbled interpretation would somehow make me look like more of an asshole than I am -- or, at least, a different kind of asshole than the kind I'm trying to portray myself as. I mean, those things might work okay with a site that's actually trying to dispense clear, practical information about its chosen subject, but when a site's subject is just a springboard for its author to engage in self involved ramblings and transparent attempts at cleverness, it's a different story. To reassure myself, I ran my review of Triunfo de los Campeones Justicieros through Babel Fish, translating it first into Spanish and then back into English, and got this result:
“I do not know the jails work. I am not elegant that way. But I think that they can work in the same way that the films of Justicieros Champions work. The fact that these films offer to equipment of the greatest stars of the masked fight, and it aspires, the marks he touching to say that they are less than the sum of his pieces...”
While it's true that I don't know the jails work -- and that may or may not be a testament to my inelegance -- this did not exactly put my mind to rest. There must be a solution to this problem, though none presents itself at the moment. Whatever I do, however, it's clear that I'll eventually have to get around to talking about El Aguila Real, as much as I want to avoid doing so.

My viewing of El Aguila Real represents another dip into the stinky troth that is Netflix's selection of Santo films. It's also a product of my recent efforts to plow through some of these lesser Santo movies and avoid the inevitable result of cherry picking my way through the catalog (i.e. that I would be left staring out across a dispiriting wasteland of lucha movie detritus with no remaining high points to break up the monotony). So far this campaign has put me in contact with the listless Santo en la Frontera del Terror, the alluringly horrible Santo Frente a la Muerte and the surprisingly not so sucky Santo contra los Secuestradores.

While those movies all had their small share of saving graces to put alongside their many sins, it never occurred to me in the case of any of them to think, "Well, at least it didn't have any animal cruelty in it!" El Aguila Real, on the other hand, can be summarized as follows: Boring bit, boring bit, footage of a real horse tumbling down a cliff, tedium, footage of a real cockfight, snore, snore, Santo forcing a house cat to drink poison, zzzzzzzzzz, footage of a real rabbit being shot, drool, snort, an eagle being forced into a burlap bag and slammed against a wall, boring, boring, the end. In other words, like a crazy alcoholic parent, El Aguila Real keeps waking you from a sound sleep for the sole purpose of traumatizing you.

Now, as far as animal snuff goes, I know that arguments can be made about artistic justifications for such material in some cases, but we're not talking about The Rules of the Game here. And if you are so obstinate as to doubt that fact, that you need proof that revered French auteur Jean Renoir did not in fact direct the Santo film El Aguila Real under a pseudonym, just ask yourself whether Renoir would have relied quite so heavily on the abysmal comic relief antics of Santo's manager Carlos Suarez as the director here does.

With it's singular combination of boredom and pointless slaughter, El Aguila Real stakes out a new frontier of Santo movie badness, one that actually serves to elevate other bad lucha movies. As a result, I am now forced to reevaluate Santo contra los Cazodores de Cabezas with a more forgiving eye, and may even issue a formal apology to Superzan. So thanks for that, El Aguila Real. In terms of plot, in can be said that the film offers a change of pace from other Santo films, in that it's basically a rural melodrama, but that's not enough to recommend it. Nor is the fact that it showcases the singing of star Irma Serrano, though the scenes of her pitching woo with our masked hero are admittedly pretty hysterical.

To sum up, in the interest of better international communication, I will render my final verdict in Babel Fish: “The true Aguila is a bad film. Stay far from her!”

6 comments:

prof. grewbeard said...

aw. come on, isn't this the one with the singing luchador enmascarda?...

Todd said...

You're really forcing me to think back here. I think it is. But that, as I recall, happens at the beginning of the movie. And then the rest of the movie happens.

houseinrlyeh said...

And isn't his singing not just another way to torture animals?

Todd said...

Yeah, plus I think his mask is made out of baby sea-lion skin and spotted owl feathers.

Radio Schmaydio said...

Awww, Todd. You're allowed a clip show. You've given me tons of useful film sleuthing on both the Lucha Diaries and this site.

I wouldn't have Operacion 67 without you, man!

Todd said...

Thanks, RS. If I've managed to steer just one person toward the awesomeness that is Operacion 67, I guess my time on Earth has indeed been well spent.