Los Bravos (2001)


Los Bravos
(2001)- * * *

Directed by: Paulo Schultz

Starring: Hector Echavarria, Trudie Petersen, Jonathan Osteen, Michel Qissi, Myck Stormer, Warren Beckford, Ryan Watson, Louis Iacoviello and Bill "Superfoot" Wallace 

Hector Riviera (Echavarria) seems like your classic family man - he has a wife, Nicole (Petersen), a young son, Jonathan (Osteen), and he wears a suit and tie to work, and when he comes home after a hard day, he says "Honey, I'm home!" and then grabs a sandwich that just happens to be lying right there on the counter at that very moment. However, the idyllic Riviera family life is about to take a turn for the deadly.

As it turns out, Riviera is a veteran of the Falklands War. After he meets up with an old war buddy from their native land of Argentina, Tomas (Iacoviello), they get into a bar brawl at Superfoot's. Luckily, Superfoot's is owned by Bill "Superfoot" Wallace (who evidently is portraying himself) and he joins the fray. But the real danger comes in the form of DeFuego (Qissi) and his nutbar hitman Reaper (Watson). They are systematically killing off all the old members of Riviera's Falklands unit. After his wife and son are kidnapped by DeFuego and Reaper, Riviera snaps into action to fight the bad guys and rescue his family. 

All the while, a seemingly-ineffectual pair of detectives, Sims (Beckford) and Levy (Stormer), are on his trail. Will Riviera evade the cops (who suspect him of the killings, of course), beat the baddies and save Nicole and Jonathan? It may seem like a tall order, but Hector Echavarria...er, sorry...Hector Riviera is up to the task!

We've got some surprising good news to report - we really liked Los Bravos! You'd think, just from looking at the cover, that it would be one of those gangbanger/barrio movies (sort of the Latin equivalent of Homie Movies) - but it isn't at all. There are no homies of any sort anywhere here. Los Bravos is a straight-up Martial Arts action movie of the sort we all love and enjoy. Sure, of course it's all done on a low budget, which may put some people off, but if you're one of those people, why are you watching Los Bravos?

There's a lot to enjoy here: Hector Echavarria is very likable, which is crucial to the whole thing hanging together. You really care about him and his plight. You root for him as he fights the baddies and tries to be a good husband and father, all the while struggling with his English pronunciations. There's something endearing about that. Both he, and the movie itself, are really trying. That goes a long way with us, the audience.

The Falklands angle gave the proceedings a different spin, which we appreciated. There are also a panoply of entertaining side characters, such as Hector's boss, who seems like he would be in an infomercial of that time, the bickering boyfriend and girlfriend, the mall security guards, and even the two cops, Sims and Levy. It appears effort was made to make this more than a 'kick you in the face' movie. But even if it was just that, it would probably still be a good one: the beginning alley fight is very stupid in the best possible way, and the inevitable bar brawl at Superfoot's was highly entertaining.

All the fighting with Echavarria, Qissi and Ryan Watson (AKA Reaper) is great stuff and is gold for fans of the genre. Reaper even has one especially fantastic trick up his sleeve. We wouldn't dare spoil it here, of course. The whole package is tightly wrapped up with a 77-minute running time and a great time is had by all.

While the release date for Los Bravos is 2001, the copyright date at the end of the credits states 1998, which means that it was likely shot throughout '97-'98, which makes sense when you watch it. Jonathan is playing what appears to be a Sega Genesis game with his gaggle of 12-year-old buddies (a scene familiar to us all; it seemingly would be incomplete without at least one plate of Totino's Pizza Rolls). There's a great moment when Hector and his son are sitting in front of a computer and Hector says something like, "Do you know how to use the internet?" - Hector even does an early version of FaceTime/Skype with his boss.

Don't be put off by the uninviting box art for Los Bravos. Give it a shot, and you'll be very entertained.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty

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