Sunday, April 5, 2015


An irrepressible and disappointingly unheralded film: Marko Zaror plays Maco, a mild-mannered young man who works out in his bedsit, seems to have no friends or acquaintances aside from a younger, mentally-ill, and hospitalized brother, but boasts some mean martial arts skills and a built bod. One night out jogging he foils a home invasion with fearful excitement, and via one of the victims, a TV reporter (young, blonde, pretty María Elena Swett), his act of heroism and subsequent disappearing act (like a mirage!) becomes well-known throughout Santiago. He is immediately taken with the idea of this vigilante persona, not least since the TV coverage prompts signs of interest in his chronically withdrawn brother.

Director Ernesto Dí­az Espinoza says his twin inspirations were Taxi Driver and the live-action TV “Spiderman”; the darkness of the former is largely absent until the finale, where the knockabout comedic tone is slightly jarred by the sinister lair and purpose of the the Paedofilia Red gang, whence Mirageman’s final mission is to rescue a little girl. Otherwise, Spidey holds sway, as Maco punches and kicks his way through gangs and purse-snatchers across Santiago (several sequences apparently filmed with a hidden camera), culminating in a terrific set-piece as Mirageman fights off countless black-clad goons, Bruce Lee-style, in the grounds and patios of a country mansion, before winding up on a hillside arena-like terrace, facing off against a beardless Chuck Norris-a-like.

 Zaror’s skills carry the film – often the action was improvised as he would let a couple of thugs come on him and wait to see how he would defend himself until the camera rolled – enhanced by a shooting style that lets his moves speak eloquently for themselves, helped occasionally by some discrete editing. It’s also very funny, such as the sequence where Maco tries out a succession of outfits, or makes himself a vigilante shopping list (including “flexible trousers”), and particular fun is poked at the exploitative media through news reports and on-the-street interviews (mostly negative about the city’s new vigilante, save the amusingly odd would-be sidekick, Pseudo-Robin), along with headline pages through which unrolls the subplot of the reporter’s manipulation of her new-found celebrity, and subsequent fall from grace. The film is perhaps too thin an idea to stretch to the potential sequel or the TV series currently in production in Chile, but it’s hugely enjoyable, well-paced, good-natured, and even somewhat touching in the end.

d/sc/ed Ernesto Díaz Espinoza p Derek Rundell, Marko Zaror ph Nicolás Ibieta pd Constanza Lopehandía Meza m Rocco cast Marko Zaror, María Elena Swett, Ariel Mateluna, Mauricio Pesutic, Iván Jara, Jack Arama, Gina Aguad, Eduardo CastroArturo Ruiz Tagle
(2007, Ch/USA, 90m)
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