Friday, October 14, 2011

Week 29: Santo contra la mafia del vicio (Santo vs. The Mafia of Vice, 1970)

        So Santo's back to fighting run-of-the-mill nogoodnicks this week. He faces off against a drug cartel who will stop at nothing to regain their drugs, seized by Interpol. While being much more grounded in reality than some of the previous, more fantastic Santo films, mafia del vicio still manages to be novel and entertaining at times. 

Santo with some ladies.


    The movie starts out with a music video of a guy Singing to Santo in a speedo, and a number of Latin beauties. Then it promptly cuts to a series of explosions. Warehouses of some sort are being destroyed. By whom, and for what purpose? Who knows. We have to wait through the opening credits to find out. It turns out that these are factories, manufacturing goods for the Mexican market. Its an attempt by a clandestine criminal organization to get even stevens with Interpol for seizing a load of valuable, nondescript "drugs" from them. Confounded by these terror tactics, The Interpol head of the Mexican desk enlists Santo's services to get to the bottom of these bombings. 

     If this sounds action packed, trust me, it isn't. After Santo cuts his vacation, and chances at menage a trois, short, things become a much more subdued crime drama/kidnapping tale, centered by a cartel of seemingly really stupid criminals. The cartel kidnaps the go go dancer niece of a fellow known simply as "Dr. Moon", and hold her to ransom. This is all a ruse on Dr. Moon's part though, as its revealed that he is in fact the head of the cartel. Why kidnap his own family? Well....I don't know? I guess to draw suspicion away from himself? Why would anyone suspect him in the first place though, if he is so well respected in the community? None of this is ever really made clear.

Fun with bad dance numbers! 

        Where the movie flies right off the stupid rails, in brilliant fashion, is the cartel's plot to deal with El Santo. It turns out that Santo had a hand in depriving of them of their invaluable drugs, and so they're looking to mess up his day. They manage to trap and incapacitate Santo, the plan being that they will execute him, and have one of their members, who does not physically or vocally match Santo in any way, don a fake Santo mask and pose as him for much of the duration of the film.

Santo being a foul mouth.

        Of course, while this bonehead's back is turned, Santo comes to, and knocks him out, then switches clothes with him. Santo watches with vague satisfaction as this criminal scum is...thrown into a furnace? Wait, what? How does that jive with Santo's code of honor and justice? He basically murdered this man. 

Santo watching a man put to death.

       There's a few other puzzling subplots that, while inane, give the movie an odd charm. One involves Santo's partner from Interpol, a guy who is so nondescript and vague, that I don't even remember his name. His whole purpose in the movie is to not help Santo ever, instead choosing to romance the go go dancer's go go dancer friend. He even takes her home to meet his mother, a cantankerous widower who relates her husbands death by criminals and fears her son will befall the same fate. Then he gets shot in the face during the climax's shootout. Awesome. 

Santo being a pervert.

        I almost forgot to mention that there is a love interest for Santo. A fellow Interpol agent working deep cover in the cartel as the second in command's MILFy girlfriend. During a night time reconnaissance mission, Santo, still pretending to be the cartel's phony Santo, is forced to hide in her bedroom, behind her dressing screen. She's aware of Santo's presence the whole time, and puts on a bit of a show for him. It's a weird, pervy side of El Santo that we haven't seen before. 


Three Silver Masks out of a possible Five

Fun Fact: This film is also known as Mission Sabotage

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