Santo: Infraterrestre (Mexico 2001)

Rating: **
Review Date: 1/27/04
Cast: Hijo del Santo

An honest and honorable attempt to revitalize the classic Mexican wrestling movie genre, as Hijo del Santo takes over the role that his father made so popular in the 1960's and 70's. Unfortunately, it falls a bit flat due to lackluster acting, poor effects, and low production values. People have been mysteriously disappearing, and the only witness is a traumatized young boy. Meanwhile, El Santo is having his fair share of trouble in the ring with a superpowered Blue Panther, who is trying to kill him. Eventually the police call on his help, and he manages to get the young boy to open up to him and confide in him. He also wins the heart of the foxy female psychiatrist who was working with the boy. Naturally, all evidence points to space aliens, and the police begin their investigation in earnest. However, these aliens happen to be the ancestors of Man, and have lived in solitude underground for millions of years. Some dark force has created a breach between the two worlds, and Santo must make everything right for the sake of both races.

Much to its detriment, the film is marred by gratuitous and extremely poor visual effects. For example, Santo drives a BMW roadster that just happens to fly. There's no reason to have a flying car in the film, other than to create tacky CGI flythroughs of the city. The sets and makeup are very rough and low budget, and the acting is surprisingly flat. Hijo del Santo has difficulty projecting emotion and charisma outside of the ring, and seems to lack confidence. He's also exceedingly nice and sensitive, which may play to the cultural sensibilities of years gone by. This unfortunately makes the film seem overly juvenile and sugar coated. For the most part, the wrestling is quite good, but there's not enough of it to hold the film together. For me, the biggest question concerning the film is how does it compare to the current state of the art of Mexican cinema? Was this a big budget blockbuster hit, or a low budget direct to video production? Still, for fans of El Santo and classic Mexican cinema, "Infraterrestre" is worth taking a look at.