Thursday, June 9, 2011

Killing Cabos

Directed by Alejandro Lozano.
2004. Rated R, 103 minutes.
Tony Dalton
Pedro Armendáriz Jr.
Ana Claudia Talancón
Raúl Méndez
Joaquín Cosio
Gustavo Sánchez Parra
Rocío Verdejo
Silverio Palacios
Jacqueline Voltaire

“Did you ever hear the one about the Chinese cook?” This question sets the circular plot of Killing Cabos into motion. Cabos (Armendáriz Jr.) is none other than Oscar Cabos, the local crime boss who apparently runs everything both legal and illegal and everyone is afraid of him. How is it that this most rich and powerful of men has come to be unconscious in a bathroom stall? The answer to that lies with the fellas occupying the next two stalls, Jaque (Dalton) and Mudo (Kristoff). The day before, Cabos caught his daughter in the midst of a romantic interlude with Jaque, who managed to escape with his life. He also works for Cabos in some unexplained capacity. So of course, Cabos calls him into his office with some malicious intentions. Luckily for Jaque, Cabos slips, falls and knocks himself out. Jaque calls his buddy Mudo to help him move the hefty gangster. What will they do with him? How will they explain it? What about these other two guys plotting to kidnap Cabos? These two have no clue what’s already going on. That’s very important. In fact, we quickly become aware that no one really knows what’s going on.

Instead of answers, each question begets more questions. The plot constantly twists and coils back on itself. Around and around we go. If you’ve seen a Guy Ritchie movie, you get the idea. This movie uses tactic well. We’re kept off-balance, nevere quite sure what’s next. It comes with the prerequisite cast of zany characters. This includes Cabo’s domineering wife, Mudo’s neighbor with the incessantly squawking bird, an ex-pro wrestler and his diminutive but very sharp-toothed bodyguard. It uses them to give us a large dose of humor. It certainly helps that none of the characters are as smart as they think they are. This works, often enough. Some of it is just downright clever.

Overall, this is an enjoyable watch. However, it never quite escapes the shadows of much of Ritchie’s work, never really setting itself apart. Though it pretends to, it doesn’t really have the griminess of the movies it copies. This is most evident in the violence department. There is a couple of brutal scenes, but more often we get WWE style wrestling moves and the really rough stuff happening off-screen. We’re left to rely on the comedy, which is good, not great. That said, it deserves a look. Subtitleophobes beware: we’re speaking English. Oh, what about the Chinese cook? Let’s just say he had the misfortune of making Cabos upset.

MY SCORE: 6.5/10

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