Thursday, July 14, 2016

Lucha Mexico
Release Date: July 15, 2016 (Nationwide & VOD)
1 hour 43 minutes
Rated: Not Rated
Languages Spoken: English and Spanish with English Subtitles


Directors:  Alex Hammond, Ian Markiewicz
Writer: Ian Markiewicz

Perro Aguayo Jr. as El Hijo Del Perro Aguayo
Jon Anderson as Jon Strongman
Matt Bloom as Gigante Bernard aka Albert (WWF), Tensai (WWE)
Blue Demon Jr. as Blue Demon, Jr
Jair Soria Reyna as Shocker
Tony Salazar as Tony Salazar

Review by Dante Hicks

Plot Summary
 An exciting inside look at the stars of Lucha Libre, Mexico's distinctly colorful brand of professional wrestling, where flesh and blood Superheroes have performed for generations of fans. With unprecedented access to some of the top Luchadores in the world, LUCHA MEXICO goes behind the mysterious mask to explore one of the most cherished traditions of Mexican culture.

Disclaimer: I've been a wrestling fan for over 30 years. 
Terms you should know prior to watching it:
Worker - Wrestler/ Luchador
Rudo - Heel/ Bad guy
Technico - Face/ Good guy
Lucha Libre - Wrestling 
Luchador/ Luchadores - Male wrestler/ Female Wrestler

  If you are a wrestling fan or a fan of the film "Beyond The Mat", this film feels like the Mexican Wrestling brother of "Beyond The Mat". I, due to being the lucky fellow I am got to see a screener copy for review and man this was an awesome documentary on wrestling. Our main character "1000% Guapo" Shocker aka Jair Soria Reyna shows the hardships of being a big name in the Mexican wrestling scene and how hard it is on wrestlers to be in the spotlight one minute and then get hurt in the ring and then the ordeal of rehab and trying to get back to the spot you were in prior. Then you have popular Lucha Libre greats like second generation luchador Blue Demon Jr., the son of the original Blue Demon showing how hard it is to live up to the legacy his father created. And other popular Rudos and technicos such as El Hijo Del Perro Aguayo, Jon Strongman, Gigante Bernard aka Albert (WWF), Tensai (WWE), Damian 666, Halloween, Fabian El Gitano, CMLL's mascot Kemonito, Ultimo Guerrero, Arkangel, Sexy Star, La Parka, and Tony Salazar. 

  This film shows you the hardships that all wrestlers go through be it in CMLL (Consejo Munnial De Lucha Libre) or in rival promotion AAA (Asistencia Asesoría y Administración), or for that matter in smaller independent organizations throughout Mexico. Like "Beyond The Mat" (which is a favorite film for wrestlers such as Colt Cabana, UFC fighter CM Punk, etc.) this film kind of breaks down the unspoken rule of keeping the fans out of the private inner workings of Profession Wrestling/ Lucha Libre. It shows you how the Luchadors and Luchadoress struggle everyday, how they work regardless of pain, how they do everything in their power to not only entertain the fans but to practically (and at times literally) perform till they die to make sure the fans are happy. If you are a hardcore Pro Wrestling/ Lucha Libre fan you know that Perro Aguayo Jr. died in the ring while having a wrestling match with Rey Mysterio Jr. in 2015. This documentary is some of the last footage and interviews given by Perro prior to his untimely passing. This film taught me how things are in the Mexican Lucha Libre scene and showed the differences between the fans in Mexico compared to the United States. Lucha Mexico shows how wrestling from training, up to being a wrestler in the ring, to running side businesses, and in some cases their untimely deaths is somewhat similar to American and Japanese Wrestling but has it's own unique flair. 

  Being a wrestling fan myself, I loved this film. This was as good as "Beyond the Mat". This showed me and taught me things about Mexican wrestling I never knew before. Due to me not being a fluent speaker of Spanish I would sometimes flip through channels and if either CMLL or AAA was on, I'd watch to see the physical skills of the wrestlers in the ring but wouldn't understand barely anything due to the language barrier. There were a few key things that were different that surprised me,  In American wrestling shows unless the fans pay extra they are never allowed in the ring yet in Mexico they let the fans in to take pictures with the Luchadors free of charge. In America, wrestling fan fests are held prior to bigger shows before a pay per view or separately so fans can meet and pay wrestlers for autographs and pictures. It seemed like before every show there was either a fan fest or an expo for fans to meet wrestlers and purchase a wrestling mask. One thing that is universal was the hatred for John Cena. (LOL. No matter what part of the world poor John just can't catch a break.) And the film explains the importance of the wrestling masks in Mexico. One thing I'd be remiss to not mention was this one line that pretty much made me want to eventually go to Arena Mexico "A wrestler that hasn't step foot in Arena Mexico can't be considered a luchador." I want to go not to be a "Luchador" but to watch the wrestlers go and compete to be true luchadors. 

Go watch this film if you have ever been a fan of wrestling or if you appreciated "Beyond The Mat". This was a fun, entertaining, and at times heart breaking but an amazing watch none the less. If you are a wrestling fan this is a 5-star movie by far, but being that I have to be unbiased and a reviewer of the documentary not just the wrestling content. I rate this 4 out of 5 stars. Amazing documentary and worth the hour and 43 minutes of your time to watch this. The only reason I rate it this is due to it being an independent documentary about wrestling and not a slick and polished wrestling documentary like World Wrestling Entertainment produces there were certain moments when you realized it was an independent film by just viewing it. One thing I'd be remiss if I didn't add would be watch the credits, the artwork alone is worth the time.

Stars: 4 stars out of 5 stars

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