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2.3.09

Accion Mutante (1993)



Director: Alex de la Iglesia
Starring: Antonio Resines, Alex Angulo, Frederique Feder, Juan Vidas
Unrated Running time: 90 minutes
Released by Substance/Jet Films

Alex de la Iglesia's first film is a silly, gory, social satire set in the future. A group of deformed and disabled militants calling themselves "Accion Mutante" (that's "Mutant Action" for all you gringos out there) are committing terrorist acts against sperm banks, hospitals, and aerobics classes. Their goal: to exterminate the world's so-called "beautiful people" in order to ensure a more equal existence for all the no-so-beautiful people. When the group's leader, Ramon (Antonio Resines), is released from prison, Accion Mutante set about their plans to invade a high-society wedding and kidnap a millionaire's daughter. The mission ends in a bloodbath; the group mow down the wedding party and end up losing a couple of members, including a hunchback who is stabbed to death while hiding in the wedding cake. With the bride in tow, the group board a spaceship bound for Axsturias, a barren planet where the ransom meeting is to occur. Greed and infighting rear their ugly head, and Ramon begins feeding his partners to the huge, mutant cat that lives in the ship's hold. The ship crash lands on Axsturias where the film gets nuttier and nuttier.

Maybe a little too nutty for its own good. Don't get me wrong - Accion Mutante is a wild flick with attitude and energy to burn, but the film runs out of gas about halfway through. The off-the-wall humor and scattershot satire of the first act crumbles into a shrill, noisy mess after the characters end up on Axsturias. Loud, violent, and tasteless is not necessarily a bad thing, but when the film loses it's satirical focus the attempts at humor and shocks fall flat. Still, the film's irreverant tone and kitchen sink approach provides for an abundance of cheap thrills. It's a good thing the film never takes itself too seriously, which makes its many missteps forgivable. De la Iglesia's talents really came into being with his next film, The Day of the Beast. Accion Mutante isn't as interesting or entertaining as that film, but is a frequently amusing, tongue-in-cheek ode to the post-apocalyptic yarns of the early 80's.

My enjoyment of Accion Mutante was seriously hampered by the awful transfer found on the Jet Films disc . The picture was too dark and lacked definition, putting the kybosh on a film that leans heavily on its gawdy visual style. The "widescreen" transfer simply means that large black bars frame a really, really crappy transfer. I wouldn't be surprised if the disc was a straight dupe of a second or third generation VHS tape. Yes, it's that bad. While Accion Mutante is no masterpiece, it's interesting enough to deserve much better.

3 out of 5. 

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