This week, the film column features a DVD release of the best cooking show on TV and a throwback to the drive-in era.
All I knew about this film was from its action-heavy trailer. I had no knowledge about the star of the film – Marko Zaror – or that it was a foreign film for that matter. That state of ignorance reminded me of how so many foreign films were presented in this country during the drive-in era.
As a kid, I studied ads for places such as The Airline Drive-in in Chicopee and asked myself, “Just what is this film?” Only if you sat through it would you learn what it really was.
Sometimes I enjoy popping some films in the machine in complete ignorance. What I knew about this film is it starred someone with the name of “Marko Zaror” – which sounded like a made-up horror star moniker – and that he beats the craps out of people.
If this isn’t a Red Box film, I don’t know what is.
Zaror is from Chile, is a martial artist and has been in several films, including “Machete Kills” with the legendary Danny Trejo. The film was made in Chile and is dubbed. This was the first time in years I’ve seen a dubbed movie.
Zaror plays Pardo, a cartel hit man who accidentally killed the son of his targets. That man (Jose Luis Mosca) is “The Scorpion,” a very, very bad man. He captures Pardo’s wife and forces him to kill her.
Pardo decides he must atone for his sins and becomes the near mythic Redeemer. He travels from town to town looking for people committing crimes, beats them up or kills them and tells them to pray for forgiveness.
After all isn’t that what Christ would do?
His newly found faith plays a big role in his activities. He carries religious statues with him and plays a game of Russian roulette before he embarks on a mission. If God allows him to live, he believes he has his green light to carry forth.
When Pardo wanders into a small town he gets involved with an Italian mobster seeking to turn the seaside community into his private port of entry for his drug imports and exports.
At the same time The Scorpion is hot on his trail. He has decided he now needs to kill Pardo.
The result is 90 minutes of mayhem. Zaror is a talented martial artist and the fight scenes, which he staged himself, are pretty impressive. The story and acting are rudimentary and really the only reason to watch this odd take on Christian devotion are the action scenes.
The mixture of Pardo’s theology and bone-crunching fights make for an loopy film, which was right in line with many of the foreign imports of 40 years ago.
If you went to drive-ins in your youth and are easily entertained, this film may be for you.
There are so many cooking and food oriented shows on TV, it’s difficult to keep them straight. They all tend to be centered on a celebrity chef of some description who has a specialty of some sort.
“America’s Test Kitchen” is different. Produced by the folks who publish the ad-free “Cook’s Illustrated” magazine, this show is dedicated to the proposition of finding the best way to cook and bake many recipes that are American staples.
They approach the idea of making a better chicken stew, for instance, in the way a chemical engineer would look at improving a compound. They analyze the problems presented by conventional recipes and seek to overcome them.
If this sounds dry, it isn’t. Host Christopher Kimball and the chefs assigned to various recipes keep their efforts fast moving and breezily informative. Why do your cheesecake brownies fail? They tell you why and how to fix them.
Reviews of various kitchen gadgets are also a staple of each episode and are very informative.
The DVD is set up so a viewer can watch whole shows or individual recipes, which is quite handy. If you’re serious about cooking, this DVD set is worth seeking out.