Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Intrepidos Punks (1980, Francisco Guerrero)

Following the long-ish history of psycho biker movies of the '60s and '70s, a year after Mad Max and a year before Road Warrior, Mexico brings us Intrepido Punks.

The movie starts with some nuns robbing a bank. We soon discover they are part of the biker gang that are the focus of the film. They get away with three million pesos (about $230,000USD today), killing a few people at the bank and two police officers during the escape. They make it back to the gang's hideout where we meet the de facto star of the film, "Fiera", portrayed by La Princesa Lea. She is the gang leader's girl, and plans to use the gains from the robbery to free the gang's leader from prison. She goes in for a conjugal visit, partly to case the prison, and I assume partly for the conjugal part.

In many ways, Intrepidos Punks is a solid film, of its type. It gets a little rapey at times, particularly when the gang kidnaps the wives of prison leaders. It largely follows the psycho biker genre, but unlike, say, Russ Meyer's Moto-Psycho, the normal protagonists are hardly in the film. The two (later three) policeman tasked to bring the gang in only get serious screen time once the gang has captured them.

The biggest failure is the lack of development of the more interesting characters. Fiera, who is far more interesting than the gang's leader "Tarzán" (the luchador "El Fantasma"). The most interesting gang member is easily "Caligula" (I believe that is his name), who is a rather bizarre misogynist who only prefers women who are willing to beat him. The the aforementioned rape scene, his main participation is to "lightly" choke of of the women while telling her "you're just like all the rest."

Since this is Guerrero's first film, I have to give him a lot of credit. It is quite solid. I must question the "punk" of his punks... They feel quite a lot like the typical US television punks that were villians after punk was already dead (forgive me for saying that). I do not, however know much about Mexican punk culture. Certainly things get lost in translation. Note the differences between The Clash and The Ramones. Both are solidly icons of the punk era, but you could not find two more different bands sitting in the same genre. I also question the inclusion of a luchador as the main villain. Luchadores are all over Mexploitation films, even when they are not the focus, but looking at punk through US eyes I can't think of why the inclusion would be sensible. It would be like Rancid recording a song for NASCAR... Maybe I am wrong. It is interesting that the character of Tarzán so much resembles "The Humungus" (Kjell Nilsson in Road Warrior), down to riding in a form of chariot. I'm not saying that George Miller and company ripped off Intrepidos Punks, but think that the reverse is not true is interesting.

Flaws aside, this is a solid movie for those interested in the biker. ultra-violence genre. Lots of things could have been improved, but given the constraints of B Movies, it is a rather solid film.

Someone was kind enough to add subtitles to this and post it to YouTube, here.

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