Chilean martial arts extraordinaire Marko Zaror continues to do what he does best, this time tackling the theme of the grindhouse action film in his latest collaboration with director Ernesto Diaz Espinosa.
Zaror plays Antonio Espinoza, nickname “Mandrill”. As a young boy, he witnessed his parents’ murder at the hands of a unscrupulous crime boss. He has been raised to become a top ranking hitman. However, in order to get close to his enemies, he uses the power of seduction with his target’s women. However, when he is ready to find the man who killed his parents, Antonio is in for a long and dangerous ride.
Antonio’s target is mob crime boss Don Mario (Luis Alarcon). In order to get to him, he gets close to his daughter, Dominik del Solar (Celine Raymond). However, things begin to get complicated when he slowly begins to fall for her. When Antonio finally comes face to face with Don Mario, he must make a decision, one that will ultimately change his life forever.
The team of director Ernesto Diaz Espinosa and action star Marko Zaror once again impress audiences with the combination of stylized action mixed in with a pretty good story. With their debut KILTRO, they tackled a theme similar to the kung fu genre. With MIRAGEMAN, they tackled the superhero genre of sorts. With their latest, they delve right into grindhouse fare that is reminiscent of 1970′s urban action films.
Marko Zaror’s portrayal of the titular Mandrill can be said to be a Latin version of the urban hero who uses seduction towards his target’s woman. While one would expect the everyday revenge seeking hero to do this style, Mandrill is an assassin. While he does various jobs, he only has one thing in mind and that is get revenge on the man who killed his family.
Celine Raymond does a great job as the love interest Dominik, who falls for Mandrill’s charms. In fact, the capper is that of a hilarious sequence where after Dominik does a karaoke performance, Mandrill dances to music as if he is the John Travolta of Chile. As the film progresses and the turning point arrives, one can’t help but see how much in the acting department Zaror and Raymond succeed as both of them get involved in a decision that changes the course of the film.
As with their previous collaborations, Zaror once again takes over not only as lead, but martial arts choreographer. Once again, Zaror shines with his amazing acrobatics and kicking abilities. He has a small rematch against KILTRO villain actor and kung fu master Miguel Angel de Luca in a short fight. However, one fight scene worth noting is towards the end where Mandrill takes on three fighters at once. The fighters themselves showcase some amazing flips and kicks. They match Zaror when it comes to their skills and Mandrill must resort to not only the flashiness of his usual style, but add some grappling to the mix as well.
In conclusion, Marko Zaror and Ernesto Diaz Espinoza continue to reign the Chilean action world as MANDRILL is truly one fun film to see. Zaror continues to show why he is the “Latin Dragon” and his dramatic skills here are really well worth seeing. Definitely worth a rental.