Saturday, October 17, 2009


Original Title: Carlos el Terrorista
Year: 1979
Director: René Cardona Jr.
Writer: René Cardona Jr.??
Genre: Action

Terrorist for hire, Carlos, begins to act on his own which does not please the terrorist organizations he works for. They set out many to kill him, and Carlos turns to the CIA for help, offering information for protection. Through a misunderstanding, the CIA loses trust in Carlos and kidnaps his family until he completes multiple tasks for them.

Loosely based on the real-life high profile terrorist Carlos the Jackal, this story is another odd one from Rene Cardona, Jr. What felt like it was shaping up to be a standard 70s style action flick, turned into something strange mainly because is ZERO dialogue for the whole duration. Actually the only voices you hear beside grunting or groaning is the narrator that explains the progress of the story from time to time, or occasionally Carlos' voice in his head as he is reading instructions.

It is hard to remark on any acting performances, as really the only major character you see is Carlos himself played by Andrés García and he says nothing at all. Lots of intense stares as he watches his surroundings wondering where the next hit is going to come from. He looks terrific, though, and looks to have been a leading man for quite some time now.

I wouldn't be hurtin' in life if I looked like this guy. Shit, can you blame him for having his shirt off for half the movie? He was getting me a little squirmy there. Glad my wife wasn't home... RRRAAWWWRR TRACK SUIT

Cardona certainly brings his A-game from what I have seen. I thought this movie was stylishly shot and told an interesting if somewhat morally crooked story. There was some doubt at times who certain people were or why they were doing what they were doing, but this stayed interesting to me without being 100% pedal to the medal action. Some of the quiet scenes had nice tension as well.

Nice, albeit low budget action scenes pace the film OK, it is not overflowing. The driving and chases could get a little old, and you could tell much of it was on a budget, but I can give films from this era a pass honestly on things like that. i am not looking for Michael Bay here. There's a brutal attack with some sort of pipe near the beginning that had my ears ringing. Wow! I wish some of the scenes were shot closer up, such as Carlos scaling the outside of buildings, but again I imagine budget is an issue there.

There are some great scenes and great locations I thought. The worldwide shots such as Paris are obviously stock footage, but all the locales add to the highly-mobile mystique that Carlos has. The scenes themselves, be it flashback or current, stay pretty moody and have an Italian eurocrime feel from time to time. There are some firsts for me in there as well with a spectacular scene with a radio-controlled airplane (yes, motherfucker! Grand Theft Auto style)



a car chase with a GODDAMN VW THING!

That has to be some sort of milestone. Who knew those things could even break 35mph? Oh shit, and there was a helicopter involved too. Why? I don't fucking know. BUT A HELICOPTER CHASED A VOLKSWAGEN THING.

Be still my beating heart. Such an odd choice for a bad guy vehicle that I can't help but love that shit.

Between this and a fucking sweaty shirtless Andres Garcia, I was about to leave a spot on the sofa.

The soundtrack stands out in the films for my as well. For the most part it was quite nice. There was one odd choice as Carlos is quietly sneaking around a room checking things out and the music is that of someone leaping across rooftops or in a car chase. It certainly didn't fit that particular scene. But there was music in there with a nice Latin flair, and I liked it all for the most part.

I mentioned before that the film had a weird moral thing going on (wow, I write the guud wurdz). The ending also I felt was unfair given what we were shown before. Carlos is a terrorist. He kills government officials and bombs buildings. It is only because he fucks over the wrong people that he is being targeted for death, then in this story we are show Carlos in a sympathetic light. We grow to be on his side.

Especially considering the atmosphere now, as well as in the 70s I would imagine with the hostilities in Iran, making your audience feel sympathy for a cold blooded terrorist is a little odd I think. He's presented as almost a James Bond style spy. He is presented as a man wanting to save his family. I cannot give away the ending, but I can say it seems to be an apology by Cardona in a way for making us feel the way we do about Carlos and his situation. I just felt conflicted overall I guess about it all.

Carlos the Jackal was a political terrorist, not tied to the Middle East as the Carlos of this film is (clearly Cardona's exploiting the hot topic of the time), and was wanted for bombings, shooting investigators, etc.

This was a solid film for me. Honestly it was a lot better than i expected going in. Morality of the character aside, this film stayed relatively interesting and was better than average for an action flick.

But the novelty of there being no speaking roles was so fucking cool to me. I'm such a sucker. Big bonus for that. If only there could have been some way to not cheat with the narration and have no speaking at all. Ah what could have been.

I like it more as I think about it after the fact.

Recommended to check out for a cool 70s action film. Solid.

Score: 6.75 / 10

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