Friday, September 18, 2020

Triumph of the Champions of Justice

Triumph of the Champions of Justice (aka El triunfo de los campeones justicieros)
Rafael Lanuza

Of the three Champions of Justice films, Champions of Justice (1971), Return of the Champions of Justice (1972), it is Triumph of the Champions of Justice that is the strangest of them. That’s no easy task against films that include superpowered dwarves, dimensional travel, and ‘micemen.’ Triumph takes the win through an incomprehensible plot involving dwarves from Uranus who live in another dimension. They need access to a machine created by a thousand of years old astronomer who is working in a circus. They can also turn invisible sometimes, but that doesn’t really have much to do with anything.

Triumph opens with a great hook, Blue Demon battles two strange men who are trying to climb an electric tower. Just as he defeats them, they graphically melt into green goo. It makes you wonder what is happening and you will keep wondering as the movie continually throws a mish-mash of science-fiction elements together in hopes of making a story. It never does, it just creates a growing calamity of confusing plot points that still ultimately come down to watching some wrestlers beat people up for 90 minutes.

"Please enjoy half off at the concession stand."

Our Champions of Justice line-up this time includes Blue Demon, Superzan, Venus, and White Phantom. This particular Venus was not an established luchador but instead created for this film. Still, it is nice to see a woman in the mix of heroes. She’s given a super-spy air about her and ends up being one of the most fun characters although she doesn’t get as much screen time as many of the others. Superzan starred in many of his own films, where he is effectively the luchador Superman. He is not nearly as powerful in this film and the story isn’t interested in offering any explanations why. Nor would expect it to.

Events just pile on to one another until they achieve a sort of nightmare reality that is occasionally interrupted by poorly staged fights most of which take place on the dirt floor of a small circus. There is some graphic violence that is unusual for a luchador movie and plenty of slime which isn’t. The whole film concludes on a strange silent posterized sequence that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Carl J. Sukenik movie.

"Nobody loves guacamole dip as much as we do!"

There isn’t a lot of connective tissue in the Champions of Justice films beyond Blue Demon and little people. Out of all the various luchador teams, this one feels the weakest. Blue Demon must carry almost the entire film by himself, save for the little time the Venus is present on the screen. It is the least coherent and most bizarre of the trilogy almost to the point where it can float on that alone. I can’t promise you’ll have a clue what is happening but I can guarantee you won’t forget many of the strange unsettling moments.

Making it through all three of these films is a Triumph in and of itself.

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