Saturday, 1 August 2009

Mexican Post Nuke Nachos

Commando De La Muerte
aka Death Command
Mayan mysticism meets The Road Warrior in a Mexican made Post Nuke jungle Actioner, ripped from those glorious Italian made Eighties clones and with many of their enjoyable trimmings dutifully applied. Those familiar with the leather clad, mutant wrangling adventures of Conrad Nichols in Rush (1983) & Rage (1984) will be instantly at home with Commando De La Muerte. So much so that you’d be forgiven for thinking that Director Alfredo Gurrola is a would be South American applied pseudonym for Italian movie maker Tonino Ricci !.
It’s 2033 and the world has been decimated following the big bang. In the jungle region of Mexico pockets of survivors are formed into societies, one of which is of the anticipated despotic kind, feeding off the toil of others and taking care of anyone who challenges their position. When a free trading trio of mercenaries loose one of their number to the guerrilla gang fare, in a food for gems deal, the two commando compadres seek vengeance for their fallen friend.
Bring on the big guns, bulging biceps of man made fury, Mexican stand off style. Throw in some exploding huts Bruno Mattei style and a whole heap of inexplicable special powers that the lead bad guys possess, as if thrown in from the Alfonso Brescia cauldron of cinematic weirdness, and you have a ‘B’ movie beverage to savour along with your bowl of tortillas.

The style of the movie is definitely old school Eighties goodness. Full use of the location setting and ancient structures make the film come alive all on its own. The on screen players eat up the scenery and dutifully dispatch body blows and exchange firepower with frequent enough interjection to keep things interesting. Billowing smoke, pumped into shot doubtlessly by low paid off screen runners, adds to the low tech feel in that knowing warm smile of acceptability. This is a film that isn’t pretending to be anything other than a low budget, high camp, silly fest that wont win any awards other than that of its intended audiences affectionate embrace.
Special effects are all but exempt from proceedings, applied with the preferred effect of drawing upon imagination and visual bang for buck in the stunt coordination department. The Action and interaction of the diversity of on screen characters is what sells the movie, that and the sound effect that comes with the commando’s futuristic form of transportation. Why spend thousands on creating a 21st century super vehicle when you can throw in a beaten up old jeep that trawls through the jungle as if it is a hybrid fuelled behemoth !?. It’s amusing charm, that is guaranteed to bring a giggle every time it is seen and heard, is down to its evident heavy handed diesel machinations that are wondrously over played by a sweeter sounding electric tone. The engine seems to run forever only on an occasional refill of what appears to be an emulsified can of corned beef. Clearly this is the future result of Mad ‘Cars’ Disease !.

Pretty much the second half of the movie features Sergio Goyri as the lead honcho going up against the jungle overlords, as he is separated from his brother in arms, and only towards the end discovers his friends plight !. Goyri holds his own very well though and his run ins with most of the unusual occupants of the region is what sells Commando De La Muerte.

Before the inevitable final showdown between good and evil Goyri encounters a human birdman, replete with fully fashioned wings and a face mask setting off his comic book characterised body sculptured protective armour, who would not be out of place in an episode of The Green Hornet. A mysterious tree hugging bowman who keeps his distance but offers assistance in times of trouble, but who’s true allegiance is kept vague. Throw in implied sounds of unseen creatures, most notably what may well be a pernicious presence that lurks amidst the pools of water around the jungle, and there is an eerie tone that plays out, adding its own air of zaniness to the whole.

The movie is in Spanish with no subtitles, which actually adds to the viewing experience if you can manage the undertaking of what pretty much is a dialogue free Action outing anyway. Anyone with knowledge of a dubbed or subtitled version please do however step up and holler any details pertaining to a whereabouts, as this would be a scream on Mystery Science Theatre 3000 !.

Prepare then for the ultimate end face off as heroic hombre Sergio Goyri, aided by his Viking horned helmet activist leader, square off against el mucho madman and his aluminium foil head wearing sidekick in a jungle duel that Sergio Leone would have raised a third eyebrow at. Can Sergio save the day or will aluminium head ‘foil’ him to wrap things up !?.
Available on both VHS and DVD Commando De La Muerte has all the flavour of the golden age of Eighties Italian styled schlock, with the Post Apocalyptic cocktail worthy of your time. Throw all the positive ingredients together for this Mexican Action slammer and what you get is a big fun slice of Mad Mex !.

Review Paul Cooke / Source USA NTSC VHS

Commando De La Muerte (1989)
Director Alfredo Gurrola
With Sergio Goyri, Jorge Luke,
Cesar Sobrevals & Ernesto Yanez

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