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Dec 15, 2021
I saw Zack: Enfrentamiento Mortal
I normally don't enjoy watching Puerto Rican cinema. Most movies are dramas or low brow comedies full of sponsors and blatant advertisement. Not to mention that most Puerto Rican actors are trained for Stage Acting and not movie acting. I know this since Theater Arts WAS my major many moons ago. Well, Zack: Enfrentamiento Mortal is the first "Puerto Rican" movie I've seen IN THEATERS IN YEARS!!
And the movie was... hard to describe. First let me describe the director, writer, and Star: Joseph Lando. The guy has a mysterious life... as in I couldn't find any info on the internet. Apparently he's a Martial Artist, Pilot, Spiritual Guide... kinda like a Latin American Tommy Wiseau
He even has a weird accent that is MOST DEFINITELY NOT COMMON IN PUERTO RICO... just like Tommy Wiseau...
I dunno how it got funded just like Tommy Wiseau and The Room.
But simply calling Joseph Lando the Latin American Tommy Wiseau is a disservice to both Lando and Wiseau. Lando has a little bit of Steven Seagal in him with his Martial Arts prowess. I do have a tiny nitpick on the fight choreography. At times it felt like 80s Seagal, in others it felt late 2000s Seagal and in some scenes it felt 3 Ninjas. He also has a little Shyamalan in him because the third act drops a Shyamalamadingdong Tweest...
And he turns into a Latin American fusion of Hideo Kojima and Hideaki Anno... pretentious exposition during the third act... I don't want to spoil it but the third act is a Kojima meets End of Evangelion kind of thing.
Supposedly, Mr. Lando is trying to get at least a US limited release. Don't know if it'll reach Latin America and Europe as well... but if you somehow have the chance to see this movie, DO SO... it's
But There will be Spoilers after the jump.
So you want to be spoiled... you can still go back if you don't want spoilage...
If you're still here, don't whine about being spoiled...
So Zack ends up wandering the streets of the Puerto Rico Metropolitan Area... specifically the municipalities of San Juan and Santurce. The continuity is choppy as hell. He enters a train station, but once inside it's a different station than the one he got in.
Here's a map of the Metropolitan Area train system, el Tren Urbano (Urban train)
Zack enter Hato Rey Station, which is an elevated section of the train, but ends up in the Rio Piedras Station, which is underground. This station is next to Universidad Station, which is the Station next to my Alma Mater. After Graduating I had to commute by train for a couple of years, with Stops at the Rio Piedras and Cupey Stations, so those two stations I KNOW REALLY WELL. He gets into the train and meets a bunch of people dressed for Halloween and this weord goth lady called Mortadella... I mean Mortibella. BEAUTIFUL DEATH... She makes a Hideo Kojima Subtle emphasis on that. Then Ghetto Skeletor attacks Zack and kicks him out at Cupey Station but Zack ends up in Santurce, which is close to the Sagrado Corazón Station. So he's wandering the streets and sees a woman being attacked by two junkies that are planning to rape her. It's a Puerto Rican movie, we're too puritanical to show tits or gory violence. So Zack kicks their asses PG style. The movie is "not rated" but I'd say is harsh PG or tame PG-13. The women he saved is called Viviana... "The one who lives" Lando throwing that Kojima Subtlety. So Viviana notices that Zack might have an internal hemorrhage because he's coughing blood. She gives him a s scarf for his arm that was apparently hurt... (it'll get better when fighting scenes start) she tells him to wait a moment while she goes to call a taxi for him. He leaves. He ends up being chased by Ghetto Skeletor and is able to give him the slip, but one of Ghetto Skeletor's 13's goons points a gun at Zack and gets him to 13's lair. There 13 demands the Diamond that Zack has... he has one of those Capsule toy gems that apparently is like super valuable. So, instead Zack challenges 13's goons to a 1v1 battle. If Zack wins, he can walk away if not, well 13 gets the gem. Zack beats 2 of the men before 13 gets tired and sends everyone to fight Zack. Zack kicks theor asses despite internal bleeding and a busted arm. The fight starts as a sanitized 90s Seagal movie with a hint of JCVD and ends up as 3 Ninjas kick back. Zack escapes and ends up in Old San Juan. Specifically at the Alejandro Tapia Theater. He there sees a bizarre show where "Anubis" passes judgment. If they added a few ゴゴゴゴ it could pass off as something normal in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. So, Mortadella pushes Zack into the stage and everyone is like WTF? Zack goes backstage and berates Mortadella. She gets him to lie down on a couch and stradles him... again, Puerto Rican movie, very puritanical and hard PG rating. She turns into a Skeletina and begins to suck off Zack's life force. Zack wakes up from his dream and enters backstage and steals some nun's clothing. Trigger warning: Joseph Lando uses the cross dressing for comedic effect trope... force him to release El Poder de Shakti on DVD before canceling him... so Zack dresses up like a nun but 13 catches him they start to fight but a real man be in static 13 and Zack gets away in a very vintage looking Taxi. There he meets Morfi... short for Morfeo, or Morpheus for y'all English speaking folks. The guy is supposed to be the comedic relief, but his jokes fall flatter than a teenaged gymnast... so we get a ridiculous slow speed chase from Santurce to Hayo Rey area. Roughly 10 minutes in car. To end up in a hospital that I'm not entirely sure which one is it to gauge the messed up location. The reason for the hospital is two-fold. One for Zack's wounds and the other is because Morfi ran over a kid due to him being on the phone. They get the kid to the hospital and Zack is hallucinating and sees 13 everywhere. The kid is stable and when the doctor lets Zack in to see him we get Shyamalamadingdong Tweest...
Joseph Lando Ripped Off The Sixth Sense's Tweest... He was dead all along and 13 is The Grim Reaper. They have one final Battle, but 13 wins and finally kills Zack...
The movie isn't over yet. Zack reaches the land of PS1 CGI Cutscene and meets God... for a moment, I thought that he had gotten someone to play God... who looks like a cross between Santa Claus, Jesus, and Aquaman... his face looked familiar... it's Joseph Lando wearing a Santa wig, bearsld, and a weird Aquaman inspired Tiara. There Joseph Lando begins to preach his religion to Zack, which has a bunch of Eastern Mysticism combined with New Age stuff that sounds very Third act of an Anime or a Tetsuya Nomura game... light, darkness, hearts, keys, doors, worlds. I was almost expecting Hikari to play at any moment.
So God gives Zack a second chance to return and spread positivity across the Earth and to unlock the gates or something. He travels through time and dimensions and with Morfi as his sidekick he stops Viviana from getting raped on the same alley where he already stopped two junkies from raping her... Here Morfi throws a couple of jokes that fall flat, but for a moment he calls Zack (played by Joseph Lando) "Shakti"
Because Lando played Shakti in El Poder de Shakti. So Zack takes her home and writes his phone number on her hand and tells her to call him when she wakes up.
She wakes up and texts Zack about this weird dream she had and how she got his teal number from her dream. Zack gets on the Train where he meets Mortadella again and her brother 13... She truly was Death all along... He makes a wager with her leaving us with sequelbait...
The Room, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Kingdom Hearts, nearly the entire Hideo Kojima game library, and Neon Genesis Evangelion weren't enough preparation to whatever the Hell I just saw. I swear that I'm not exaggerating the events. At best the only embellishments I used were referencing JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, calling 13 Ghetto Skeletor and adding hearts to the End of Evangelion weird ending scenes to fully make a Kingdom Hearts reference. I'd say I probably underplayed the events.
IF you're able to find a subtitled version, watch it... I need to share the insanity that is this movie. This is far more insane that Lando's Hercolubus mini series.
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