Sunday, June 01, 2008

SIFF 2008, Blog #4

dir. Ernesto Diaz Espinoza
Midnight Adrenalin Series

Mirageman is a super hero movie from Chilie. And it is very enjoyable. Maco is a martial artist with a past tragedy that still impacts his every decision. His parents here murdered, he was raped and his littler bother was brutally beaten, resulting in his need for hospitalization for constant care. But one day, on a run, he stumbles into a home invasion in progress, where some women are being held hostage. He covers his face with a ski mask and efficiently defeats the bad guys and Mirageman is born.

As you can probably guess, there isn't anything truly original about the story. It is the same super hero story that is architypical. But it is the the use of the basic plot, with some great martial arts, and the totally expected plot arc that is exactly what works for this film. In Mirageman, they know that the reason there is a formulae for these movies, is because it works. We love it every time, so why not give the audience exactly what they want.

The other thing that helps the low budget martial arts film is that they gave it the look and feel of the 1970s martial arts movies. There's the ridiculously glamorous TV reporter, the silly homemade super hero costume with blue gloves, and the pitch perfect 1970s soundtrack. There were moments that I was reminded of Bruce Lee's movies and other times, the movies that came out of Hong Kong after Bruce Lee. All low budget, very 1970s, but with great action. And that is what Mirageman delivers. Some fantastic action sequences with a light touch of humor throughout.

My favorite bit of the film was when Mirageman went to rescue the kidnaped reporter, but in order to get to her, he had to fight his way through dozens of guys. And just like in any good kung-fu flick, he had to work his way, one by one from the easy to defeat guys guarding outside, through men with varying levels of ability inside, to the final guy, on the top floor of the house who was a real challenge to beat. One cannot help but wonder behind which door kareem abdul jabbar was waiting.

Mirageman was a blast. I enjoyed every moment of this movie. I didn't see new moves or any new take on the action genre, or a truly unique plot. In fact, the only thing I can claim was at all innovative was the unusual decision to use Bowie's Life on Mars as a love theme. But Mirageman delivers a solid 90 minutes of entertainment that made it easy to stay alert until 2 AM.

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