Saturday, February 5, 2011

Intrepidos Punks (Mexico, 1983)


Back in the day, most of the punks that I knew, once you really got to know them, were pretty nice. They partied hard, sure. But they also worked hard at their bike messenger jobs, and studied diligently at the Art Institute so that they could one day make the borderline pornographic Marxist art film that would finally alienate their parents once and for all.

But then there was that one group that everyone was afraid of. They lived in a cave, and their mohawks were big and fuzzy -- like their mustaches -- and colored in every shade of the rainbow. They had names like Tarzan, Pirate and Caligula. The girls in this group were particularly scary; something about their breasts seemed somehow… unnatural. And, oh, the violence! On more than one occasion, I was tempted to alert the authorities of their activities, but feared that no one would believe the tale. Fortunately, someone made the movie Intrepidos Punks –- did I mention that they were Mexican? -- so that the onus of proving their existence no longer lays with me.




Intrepidos Punks is basically a biker movie that uses the excuse of those bikers being punks to have them act like a bunch of spastic, wantonly destructive morons. (And by the way, I’m going with the book Destroy All Movies’ release date of 1983 for this, rather than the IMDB’s 1980, because there’s just no way this movie predates The Road Warrior.) Even Alex and his Droogs might try to sit this bunch down and counsel them about thinking before they act. With all reason thus removed from the equation, the whole field of depravity is open: rape, devil worship, torturing and killing random strangers for kicks… even the accompaniment of sex scenes with godawful bar band blues rock in condoned. Nothing is forbidden, I tell you.

Yet, amazingly, it’s still hard at times not to side with the punks in their war against authority, because every representation of that authority in Intrepidos Punks is miraculously more odious than that of the punks themselves. The gang are able to free their leader, Tarzan (played by the luchadore El Fantasma), from prison because the jailer and his male staff are busy taking part in an orgy with a bunch of hookers. The two cops charged with tracking the gang down are a pair of stereotypical 1980s action movie “loose cannons” who openly get their rocks off by roughing up suspects. When they’re not making jokes about each others' sisters, most of their police work involves making cars blow up, including one fleeing hood’s car that drives off a cliff and somehow explodes before making contact with the ground. (Lesson: When you’re a badass movie cop, cars explode just because you hate them.)

Despite being a shameless work of exploitation, Intrepidos Punks manages time and again to undermine its ability to shock with its own ridiculousness. An impending home invasion and gang rape looks like it might prove to be uncomfortable viewing, until a live rock band suddenly appears in the room for no reason and you have no choice but to be overwhelmed by bemusement. The simulated sex is plentiful, but it is all of that particular variety of softcore that sees tentative boob nuzzling as the consummate sexual act rather than as tepid foreplay. At a celebratory orgy, the punks display the whole gamut of perversions, providing your idea of “the whole gamut of perversions” runs from mild S&M to compulsive masturbation followed by weeping.

At ninety minutes of pure, unadulterated stupidity, Intrepidos Punks acts as its own anesthetic. Your brain will never be awake long enough to realize it’s being insulted. On the other hand, I’m laughing now, but who knows? I remember that, when some friends and I went to see the original Class of 1984 back when it opened, we were deeply offended by the fact that the punks in it were portrayed as racists. (We had yet to meet real racist punks.) Who knows what we would have made of Intrepidos Punks? We might have felt compelled to burn down the theater and rape everyone on principle.


8 comments:

sparaflAsh said...

Ahah.. I talked about this movie on my blog too.. Be sure not to miss the sequel (La venganza de los punks).. It's even more delirious and poor that you'll surely re-evaluate Intrepidos.. Juan Valentin, the moustache black hero of this movie, become the absolute star and transform into Charlie Bronson of Death Wish era :D

Todd said...

La Venganza de los Punks is in line for review in the dreadfully near future.

carol said...

so it turns out that as a punkling, i was doing everything wrong. if only i weren't so afraid of clowns and disdainful of disco, rape and home invasion gang-rape i might've gotten it right.

Todd said...

Don't feel bad. Without Intrepidos Punks as a guiding document, you couldn't have helped but go astray.

carol said...

we did the best we could...

nimbemon said...

Hi there. Great job you're doing in this blog. It so happens that I'm writing my PhD dissertation on censored and scandalizing Mexican films and Intrépidos punks is on the list. There's really few material written in Spanish on the subject and what I've managed to find out is that the film was shot in 1980 but got to the Mexican Supervision Board until 1987. I suppose the producers spent a long time looking for a distributor for the film due to its graphic nature, or perhaps they themselves thought the film was too rough for commercial release, so decided (or were forced by unknown factors) to wait. Following several suggestions made by the Board as to which scenes to cut out in order to get the exhibition permit, the film was released in Mexican theaters in february 1988. I'm on my way to the newspaper library to see what happened then. I find it really interesting that because Intrépidos punks is some sort of "kitsch jewel" it has managed to become a cult classic.
Greetings from Mexico City, n.

Todd said...

Thanks for the information, Nimbemon! Very interesting. Also interesting is the fact that, if it was the filmmakers themselves who had reservations about the film's rough content, they'd obviously completely overcome those reservations by the time of making it's equally rough and raunchy sequel. Speaking of which, given the release dates you mentioned, the 1987 production date I have for La Venganza de los Punks is a little dubious.

NightBeast said...

Does anyone know where I can get copies of Intrepidos Punks + the Sequel(in which I wasn't even aware of)? I've got my fair share of Obsurities. Willing to trade. email:vibefat@gmail.com eg. of possible Trades Have all the Video Nasties ++