Wednesday, June 13, 2012

From the Lucha Diaries Vaults: Karla contra los Jaguars (Mexico/Colombia, 1974)

Karla contra los Jaguares was produced in Colombia, a fact which renders unnecessary the question of what its makers were smoking.

Okay, that was cheap and stupid. And inappropriate. Because Karla contra los Jaguares, for a low budget film starring a team of motorcycle riding luchadores in matching leopard print outfits, is not nearly as cheap and stupid as it could have been. Consider that, on the scale of motorcycle riding team of luchadore movies, it could have been on the level of either of the two Los Campeones Justicieros sequels, and it's very modest charms become a lot easier to appreciate.

Not that the makers of Karla had any more to work with than the producers of the Campeones movies, mind you. It's just that they seem to have made a somewhat greater effort to cover up for their budgetary shortcomings -- and that they show some sense of obligation to their audience to be at least a little bit entertaining, even to provide us with a couple semi-satisfying moments of cut-rate spectacle. The two heist sequences that the film is built around, for instance, are actually handled fairly well. And on the action front, while there is a midget, there are also karate guys and a small army of burly automatons to provide the heroes with some more equally matched physical opposition. Capping off this vaguely engaging display of base level competence is a musical score that provides everything you'd want from a cheesy 70s action movie soundtrack: psych funk arrangements, disco synths and goth metal guitars, all sounding very Italian and probably lifted from some giallo movie or other.

In what is beginning to seem like a kind of minor lucha movie tradition, The Jaguars themselves don't actually get called in to take part in the action until the movie's halfway point, and then with comparatively little ballyhoo. I kind of like how this lack of fanfare makes the whole business seem like routine procedure, as if sending in a team of unarmed masked wrestlers in leopard print briefs is just one of the many tactical options available to the police, and was, for some reason, in this case preferable to sending in the SWAT team. Still, I was left with a lot of questions concerning The Jaguars that I hope will be answered in the film's sequel, Los Jaguares contra el Invasor Misterioso. For instance, do they all share a house, like The Monkees?  We don't even get to see them in a wrestling match, for God's sake. 

As for the top billed Karla, the icy blonde villainess comprises, with her permed and jump-suited boy toy, a sort of pairs skating team of evil. It's not hard to see who's the top in the relationship, especially when the poor guy shows up with a giant sparkly "K" appliquéd on his shirt (some guys would get a tattoo, but whatever), and more especially at the end when she blithely elbows aside his bullet-riddled ass to board a waiting helicopter and make her getaway.

Seeing as it's playing to some markedly lowered expectations here, the only thing I found disappointing about Karla contra los Jaguares is that it contains so little that is truly atrocious. Given that, I had to make do with the architect's model Karla's gang uses to plan a heist involving the hijacking of a skyscraper mounted crane. It's frustrating, because all too frequently people make fun of the models used in B movies by saying they look like they were made by six year olds. But this particular model is made of construction paper and toothpicks, and I'm reasonably certain that it actually was made by a six year old.


For more reviews of classic Mexican wrestlin’ movies, please visit 4DK’s sister site, The Luchadiaries!


Prof. Grewbeard said...

the soundtrack features a sample of Black Sabbath's "Black Sabbath" during the first robo-heist.

Todd said...

That's because Los Jaguars are hella metal. Thanks, Prof!