Movie Reviews: Compadres (2016)
“Sort of armed. Kind of dangerous.”
Director: Enrique Begnes
Cast: Omar Chaparro, Joey Morgan, Eric Roberts
Synopsis: A maverick cop teams up with a nerdy computer hacker to rescue his pregnant girlfriend from a vengeful crime lord.
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To be the pregnant girlfriend of a cop is always a risky proposition in the movies, and it doesn’t take much intuition to figure out something nasty is going to happen to Maria (Aislinn Derbez), the p.g. of maverick Mexican police detective Garza (Omar Chaparro). This is a couple who are just way too into each other for Maria to remain unthreatened by some kind of jeopardy arising from the relationship,, and sure enough, the architect of that threat arrives in the shape of swarthy, no-good crime kingpin, Santos (Erick Elias). Santos killed Garza’s partner in a gunfight, and now orchestrates Maria’s kidnapping in order to blackmail our man into helping him escape from police custody.
The problem is, Santos re-kidnaps Maria immediately after the cop successfully springs him from a police transport van, which means that Garza promptly finds himself without a job or girlfriend, but with a fresh bullet wound, courtesy of the ungrateful Santos as he made his getaway. The fact that all this takes place in the first twenty minutes should give you some idea of the breakneck pace at which Compadres’ plot unfolds, and which it maintains for the movie’s entire running time. The story temporarily shifts to America – although it’s Mexican, Compadre clearly has its eye on the U.S. market with cameo roles for Eric Roberts and Kevin Pollak – as Garza, showing remarkable powers of recuperation, sets off in pursuit of Santos, teaming up on the way with a geeky, overweight teenage computer nerd (Joey Morgan), who, from the comfort of his computer chair, successfully relieved Santos of $10 million, but for whom retribution is looming in the form of two eccentric hitmen, one of whom chooses a homemade flame thrower as his weapon of choice.
Bearing all the hallmarks of an enthusiastic but near-fatally undisciplined director at the helm (step forward Enrique Begne), Compadres is a throwback to the mismatched buddy action comedies of the 1980s, and while the general tone of the humour veers towards the juvenile, it does boast a few quirky touches that are genuinely amusing. Better known as a comedian in his native Mexico, Omar Chaparro throws himself into the role of action hero with vigour, and forms a likable partnership with Morgan, even if they never do quite create the level of chemistry generated by cinema’s most memorable partnerships. Compadres is brimming with ideas and energy, but falls over itself in its haste to please, resulting in a wildly uneven but generally enjoyable viewing experience.
(Reviewed 6th September 2016)