REVIEWS: Action & Thrillers, Video — March 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm

REVIEW: Mandrill (2009) + trailer

Meet Antonio Espinoza aka Mandrill (Marko Zaror) – your ultimate bounty hunter from Chile. The man is relentless, his agility and martial arts skills would make Van Damme jealous, and plus he’s good at what he does. Killing people, that is.

Many years ago, Antonio’s parents were murdered when he was a child. When he grows up, his heart gets filled with the sole aim of finding the murderer and avenging his parents.

Mandrill might be able to put down a bunch of armed goons with his bare hands, but he does have his weakness – beautiful women.

Good thing is, Mandrill also has his uncle – a local “Don Juan”, who teaches youngster the art of seduction. And these lessons will come in handy when Mandrill receives another assignment – to capture (dead or alive) a powerful Mafioso casino owner.

Mandrill soon discovers that his target is the very same man who he has searched for all these years. There is one problem – the man’s daughter, beautiful Dominique (Celine Reymond) starts to become something of an obsession for Mandrill, something that can become a major obstacle to his revenge.

For its budget, film’s director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza has done seemingly impossible. “Mandrill” packs a powerful punch in the martial arts department, as there is enough of fighting to look at – I really admire Marko Zaror’s ability to do all these crazy, incredible aerial moves, given his size.

Our Chilean bounty hunter could improve his acting a little, although in this kind of movie, acting is not that important. Espinoza’s film has a few ridiculous scenes (as the ones with “John Colt”), but thankfully it doesn’t go overboard, and doesn’t spoil the fun.

What I did not like in particular, is that too much time in the film is devoted to Mandrill trying to seduce Dominique (frequently flashbacking to his uncle’s tips).

All of this time could have been filled with some action, I don’t think it would have cost too much. As a result, Mandrill engages into a few fights, and that’s it – which leaves a viewer hungry for more.

Other than that, the film is a great watch, especially knowing that it was shot in Chile (and Peru) with a budget of $1 million.

Marko Zaror stands right next to such talented action stars as Scott Adkins and Michae Jai White. Improving his acting skills would have opened a lot more doors for him, as he’s got everything else an action star needs.

“Mandrill” did remind me a little bit of “Black Dynamite”, an action-comedy directed (and starring) Michael Jai White.

Check out the trailer below, and despite the lack of action, Mandrill gets a thumbs up from me. Oh yes, did I mention there’s a nice little twist in the end?




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