El Santo: Extraterrestrial (Infraterrestre) (2001)
"La Leyenda Continua!" (The Legend Continues!)- tagline
Stars: El Hijo del Santo, Diana Golden, Blue Panther, Luis Felipe Tovar
Other Stars: Hector Molinar, Arturo Molinar
Director: Hector Molinar
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild violence)
Run Time: 01h:22m:53s
Release Date: 2003-05-06
DVD ReviewProfessional wrestling in Mexico is quite a different breed of animal than the professional wrestling we tend to think of north of the border. There, the masked characters are taken much more seriously and, in most cases, the wrestlers go so far as to never reveal their true identities to anyone and are always in character. The drama and spectacle that goes on in the ring is expanded to such a point that oftentimes there are those who become literally 'one' with their wrestling persona. One of the most legendary heroes of the Mexican "Lucha Libre" wrestling scene was the one-and-only El Santo, "el enmascarada de plata": the man in the silver mask. Rising to the extremes of popularity in the late 1950s, El Santo was eventually featured in numerous movies, comic books, and other forms of media. Battling all forms of evil, be they earthly or unearthly, Santo was the people's hero who fought for justice regardless of personal gain. A cult figure and national icon in every way, El Santo was a tremendous influence, and that's probably an understatement. After his death in 1984, the original Santo left behind a legacy of dozens of pictures and projects and most people assumed it was the end of the era. His son, however, has taken on the mantle of El Hijo del Santo (son of Santo), and is now just as big a wrestling star as his father was.
Extraterrestrial is the first movie project to feature the new Santo and it has presumably revived much of the Santo interest that had begun waning after the early 1980s (when the last of the original Santo films were made). Unfortunately, it lacks the distinct charm and comic-like storytelling the old Santo movies had, and feels more like a poor, low-budget, attempt to make a very modern, upbeat motion picture. The concept is the same as all Santo films: The masked wrestler lives in his high-tech hideout where, when asked by police for help, he keeps an eye out for villains and evil-doings around Mexico. When a series of abductions plagues the area, the police ask Santo for help in asking questions of their only remaining witness, a small boy named Diego. In the process of trying to coax information from the boy, Santo decides to take a slow, friendly approach. Before it amounts to much, though, Diego is also kidnapped, but Santo does have leads and ideas about what might be going on. Without going further into the core plot, it turns out that Blue Panther (one of his wrestling arch-enemies) is involved, but more amazingly, there is an outer space element to all this—perhaps even alien beings!
Santo fights his way to the truth and, in the process, gains a few allies from the local police (who are labeled as some kind of global security force). In general, though, Extraterrestrial isn't as much fun as I expected from a Santo movie. I was bothered by, among other things, the incredibly low budget and the problems it brought to the movie. The old Santo movies were far from expensive, but when bad video effects have to be used for even the most simple elements (like gun flashes), it leaves a bad impression on screen. It didn't feel as much like a movie as a TV show, lacking the kind of film-like feel that the vintage Santo always managed to bring across. Gone are the fun and totally wild elements like zombies or evil scientists creating zombies; the plot now becomes too serious and too much like modern action films in its presentation. While I don't think Santo is too dated for new movies, this one just doesn't entertain like the old films did.
Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: There is little to complain about here as the image transfer is very solid and properly replicates the video image. The problem is, the image itself isn't terribly high quality. Shot on basic video, the lighting and overall photography is fairly weak and has little in the way of intentional styling. It's also a very dark film, which is perhaps a side effect of the desire to cover up the lack of large sets. The downside of this is that the movie looks, in effect, like it was mostly made with consumer level, home video cameras. Digitally, there are no problems here; in fact it's quite clean and clear, it's just not very exciting.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: The Spanish stereo audio serves its purpose, but not much more. Most of the sound effects are badly added into the track by dubbing and such, and some of the dialogue scenes have high amounts of background noise. When things get a bit more active, there's really not a whole lot going on in the soundstage except a bombastic musical score that's a little over-done on some occasions.
Audio Transfer Grade: C+
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
4 Deleted Scenes
- Best of El Santo
- El Santo vs. Blue Demon footage
Extras Grade: C+
Final CommentsExtraterrestrial is interesting, but just isn't the best way to premiere a new series of Santo movies. It tries too hard to be radical and contemporary, imitating often-used elements in American action films, rather than embracing the pulp origins of the older, sillier, more entertaining films. It's worth seeing for any Santo fan, but it might also really disappoint.
Dan Lopez 2003-05-11