Friday, August 5, 2011

Week 19: Santo en el tesoro de Moctezuma (A. K. A. Santo in The Treasure of Moctezuma, 1968)

Santo as a scientist.

        We're into week 19 and on our second color Santo film. I wish I could be as enthusiastic as I was about last week's movie, but while I found that one to be a zany revelation, this one just doesn't roll with the same amount of crazy as last week's entry. While a direct sequel to Operation 67, the difference in tone and thus quality, is similar to Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace.

Santo and Jorge talk shop during a work out session.

        As stated, its a direct sequel to the previous film. Jorge is back as Santo's interpol partner. In the previous entry, Jorge became romantically involved with the lead villainess. As she lay dying at the films end, she provides Jorge with an emerald ring. We find out that this ring is being sought after by the organization, known simply as "The Gang". The ring is the key to finding the legendary treasure of Montezuma. If The Gang gets their hands on this treasure, then they can smuggle it out of Mexico and that will somehow lead to Mexico's economic downfall. 

You know they're bad guys when they wear creepy gas masks.

       If the villain's machinations sound vague to you, don't worry, they are. Much like the last film, and in the tradition of 60s spy movies, their plot for evil doing is convoluted and vague. The only problem is there isn't really much else to the movie to really help you forget or even ignore that information. The plot is so thread bare, that its works more like a series of episodes than it does a cohesive narrative. The title infers a massive Indiana Jones style adventure in the jungle. Instead, the movie is mostly Jorge and Santo cruising for chicks and occasionally evading attacks by The Gang. 

Santo in his snazzy turtleneck.

      Another annoying element is that we already know why the villains want this emerald ring in Jorge's possession, but it takes him and Santo another act and a half to figure this out. They're being hunted and dogged by all sorts of henchmen, and they can't really seem to figure it all out. 

The only european sport worse than Soccer...

       That's not to say that the movie is all bad. It's actually ambitious in the scope it tries to go for. There's an exciting set piece atop Aztec pyramids, where Santo, trading in his cape and tights for a turtleneck and slacks, is accosted by gun wielding henchmen. Jorge has to evade assassins at a bull fight. The two have a more smarmy back and forth than the previous film, even going so far as to play up a good cop/bad cop routine.

Santo, kickin' ass on a pyramid!

      The only problem with all this is that its too episodic. None of it really seems to play into a larger plot. The villains finally find and excavate Montezuma's stash, most of which has happened off camera. This is frustrating, because its the focal point of the movie, or at least thats what the title leads you to believe. It spends most of the run time off camera, and then as a MacGuffin for Santo and Jorge to try and get back from The Gang's battleship with their fancy missile shooting cessna. 


Two and a half silver masks out of a possible five.

Fun fact: Montezuma's name means "he frowns like a lord". 

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