Friday, September 4, 2020

Champions of Justice

Champions of Justice (aka Los campeones justicieros)
Federico Curiel

Dr. Marius Zarkoff (David Silva) has created an overly complicated plan to program other people to do his bidding, but first, he sends his army of little people to murder wrestlers that he hates (as you do.) Those wrestlers take exception to this and begin to hunt for the doctor in between water skiing and judging beauty contests. Then the weird stuff starts happening.

The most enjoyable luchador movies are the ones where the plot is the height of camp silliness but everything is treated as a real threat. That weird disconnect creates a lot of unintentional(?) humor, and even better, a lot of unintentional(?) surrealism. Champions of Justice throws its ambitiously strange plot down almost as a challenge to see how serious our Technicos (good guy luchadores) can make a plot involving super-powered little people and flash-frozen beauty pageant contestants.


Champions of Justice has gathered a list of legendary luchadores for its ranks. Leading the bunch is Blue Demon, the second most famous Lucha libre fighter of all time (and the one with superior movies, sorry Santo), he is joined by Mil Mascaras (A Thousand Masks, most of them leopard themed), El Medico Asesino (The Assassin Doctor), La Sombra Vengadora (Who sports an unusual lightning bolt on his mask, and Tinieblas (His name is Darkness, his mask is dark, you get it.) The gang is introduced to us riding motorcycles with no shirts on while sporting their signature luchador masks, and honestly, they couldn’t be cooler. 

When the film opened with a wrestling match I feared the worst, ironically wrestling ring matches in most luchador movies are boring filler.  Champions of Justice comes relatively late in the life span of the subgenre and has learned its lessons. A tag team match does happen, but it is eventually interrupted by machine-gun fire from a band little people hiding on a balcony. From this point on the movie is off to loosely connected action sequence after loosely connected action sequence, with only occasional breaks to have a mad scientist arm the dwarves with some new bit of technology such as super strength or a freeze ray.

"Now kiss!"

This barrage of nonstop action and threadbare plot does wear out its welcome by the third act but it’s still hard to deny the charisma and showmanship of the luchadores on display. They might not be the best actors in the world, but they don’t give this silly film anything less than their entire effort. The army of atomic-powered dwarves are remarkable too, they perform some fun stunts and it is enjoyable to watch them gang up on our full-sized heroes to deliver a beating. 

Champions of Justice is a weightless slugfest littered with a few wonderful stunts and a whole lot of silly nonsense. There is nothing here beyond watching some luchadores get chased around by dwarves but if you do it right, sometimes that is all you need.

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