Friday, January 31, 2014

Accion Mutante (1993): Freaks in a Freak Nation

Accion Mutante (1993)
Dir: Alex de la Iglesia

First films are works of a weird passion. Accion Mutante is no exception. Alex de la Iglesia is a Spanish filmmaker that never quite made the jump from Spain to America due to his weird and culty sensibilities. He made one film in America, Perdita Durango, based off the third novel in the Sailor and Lulu series that began with Wild at Heart, brought to the screen by David Lynch. And, it was dismissed as being too Post-Tarantino.

Accion Mutante was produced by Pedro and Augustin Almodovar, who were in the middle of a weird kinky streak with Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, High Heels, and Kika. And, to top Iglesia's incestuous cult connection off, the special effects team of Accion Mutante had also worked on the special effects of the Jeunet and Caro cult classic, Delicatessan.

Why people haven't touted Iglesia is beyond my comprehension.

Accion Mutante is a genuinely weird film. It's a film made out of three different parts which feels like three different films smashed together. It isn't three films running concurrently, but three different movies one after the other.

The first act establishes the world of Earth, which has been taken up by obsession with looks. Everybody is beautiful, and obsessed with shallow things like clothing, drugs, music, and looks. Accion Mutante opens up with a botched kidnapping that turns to murder of a bodybuilder and his lover by a bunch of incompetent mutants, including a siamese twin, an idiot giant, and a guy with no legs who rides around in a hovering cart.

When their leader, Ramon, comes back out of jail, they attempt another kidnapping, this time of a donut heiress on her wedding day. This time, though the attempt goes haywire, they lose two of their members, and kill countless in the wedding party, they actually do manage to kidnap Patricia, the heiress.

The second act is a spaceship mutiny movie, where Ramon tells the crew the ransom is 10m, but really it is 100m. When the crew finds out the truth on the news, they confront Ramon, which manipulates them, then kills them one by one, as Patricia looks on with her mouth stapled shut.

The third act is a Mad Max rip off on a derelict mining planet, Axturiax, where the ransom exchange is going to take place. This section suddenly has three parallel journeys. One journey is Ramon and Patricia, who find their way to a house where 3 generations of female-starved men take them in, before tying up and raping Patricia while torturing Ramon. The second journey is Alex who is the siamese twin of Juan, who had been killed by Ramon. Alex and his dead twin brother come across a tour guide to take them to the location. The third is Patricia's husband and father who are planning on killing everybody on the planet.

Did I mention that it's a comedy?

The whole movie plays out like a cross between Troma and a Jeunet and Caro film. While the movie periodically has a political bent about looks and the cult of appearance, it never really sticks around long enough to say anything. But, who cares? It's riotous fun, and a lark. Sure, it's the equivalent to a garage band with little production values, and a first album without the polish. But, it is a fun film.

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