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Harry says, it is no mirage - I loved MIRAGEMAN at Fantastic Fest - a Chilean Superhero Martial Arts Film!

Until just a few years ago, I didn’t really consider Chile as a place to watch for film, but recently they’ve really sort of demanded my attention. It all began with Nicolas Lopez’s PROMEDIO ROJO and SXSW. So when I got an email from him telling me that his fellow countrymen had made a low budget Superhero Martial Arts movie that I should consider – I decided to give it a try. That film was MIRAGEMAN. What I discovered may very well be one of my favorite Superhero movies of all time. It isn’t about showy effects – there are none. It isn’t about a character that I grew up reading rabidly and have nostalgic juvenile memories of. It’s just real. People often times love BATMAN because – you could be BATMAN… but you really couldn’t be Batman. It isn’t just the training – you can do that. But how many of us are multi-Billionaires that can build “all those wonderful toys”? Exactly. Martial Artist and Stuntman Marko Zaror has created an amazing character with MIRAGEMAN. His secret identity is Maco – a strip club bouncer, door man and toilet cleaner. When he was younger, hoodlums broke into his family’s home, beat him to a pulp, killed his mother and father – and then raped and severely beat his little brother. His brother is in an institution in a severely bad state. Non-communicative, fearful of almost everything. Since the incident, Maco has been training. Making his body an intensely badass machine of vengeance. Power-training as a martial artist. Taking supplements, eating right – and preparing for the day that he hopes never would come. Then, one night as he’s walking the streets – he observes a man in a mask coming from a residence carrying a television. Maco sneaks up behind him and kicks him upside the head so hard that he falls like a proverbial sack of Idaho dirt munchies. He takes the man’s mask, goes into the residence where he knocks out the men and rescues a beautiful woman moments before she is raped. He goes home that night, thrilled. The next day while training, the Channel 10 news has the news item and – shockingly – the rape victim that he saved was none other than Carol Valdivieso – Star Reporter for Channel 10 news. She dramatically retells the story of her rescue. The next day Maco goes to visit his brother – only to find he saw the news story – and is coming out of his fog – the belief in a masked avenger giving him the courage and sense of security to perhaps go further. With this, Maco decides to become a SUPERHERO keeping the streets of Santiago safe for decent people. The problem is… Maco isn’t a particularly bright guy. He’s incredibly well trained, but he was never trained in crime prevention or crime solving. Also – his sense of fashion is a bit off. However, he does know how to strike hero poses and kick criminal ass. Marko Zaror plays Maco with a childlike innocence – he isn’t sure about what he’s doing, but he is very dedicated to what he feels is right and wrong. He’s also trusting to a fault. This doesn’t feel like any superhero movie you’ve ever seen. It isn’t a comedy, so much as it’s just funny to see a guy trying to be a real superhero. Director/Writer Ernesto Diaz Espinoza was dedicated to making this film as realistic as possible – and the result is something particularly special. This film has heart and soul – and one helluva kickass funky soundtrack. The action has no wires and often times is footage of full speed, full contact action. The result of which is you sitting in the theater gasping, because you can’t believe what you just saw. Magnolia Pictures has picked it up – I really hope they get it out to theaters. There is a NACHO LIBRE / NAPOLEON DYNAMITE / THE FOOT FIST WAY kinda vibe going on here. It really works despite being low-budget – in fact it works exactly for that reason. The filmmakers used documentary filming techniques to create honest and real reactions – much like the classic Noir film GUN CRAZY.. but as a superhero Martial arts film. This was quite a surprise!

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