Matando Cabos

Kidnapping is rampant in South America, so it is no surprise that people would make movies about it. What is a surprise is that within one week, two movies from the region (Mexico and Venezuela) centered on kidnapping open. And they could not be more different from each other. Secuestro Express is a serious story about one kidnapping. Matando Cabos is the opposite. It's a farce-like comedy of errors centered on mistaken identity and a double kidnapping. They both do come from the Quentin Tarantino school of filmmaking. The former uses a watered down sense of style, while the latter plays up the dark humor and violence.

Everything revolves around Oscar Cabos (Pedro Armendariz, Jr., Casa de los Babys, Once Upon a Time in Mexico), a ruthless businessman that inspires fear in nearly everybody. Jacque (Tony Dalton, Scriptfellas) and Mudo (Kristoff Razcinsky) kidnap Cabos out of desperation. Jacque is seeing his daughter Paulina (Ana Claudia Talancon, El Crimen del Padre Amaro, The Comet), and Cabos is none too happy about it. Jacque finds Cabos in his office, unconscious and in his underwear. He and Mudo figure the only thing they can do is take him. They wrap him up and head to the garage.

Cabos is in his underwear because Nacho (Pedro Altamirano, Francisca, Collateral Damage) took his clothes. The two were childhood friends, but now Cabos is rich and arrogant, and Nacho is the janitor. In the garage, Botcha (Raul Mendez, Midas, The Tiger of Santa Julia) and Nico (Gustavo Sanchez Parra, Man on Fire, Amores Perros) see Cabos' clothes and quickly attack the man wearing them (Nacho). They cover his head before administering a heck of a beating, so Nico cannot tell that Nacho is in fact his father.

Everything goes downhill from there. Neither party realizes that they have the wrong person until late in the film, when director Alejandro Lozano, who co-wrote the screenplay with Dalton and Kristoff really lets loose into comedic territory. This is the type of film where anything that can go wrong does, which causes even more problems further down the road. Paulina's birthday party is that night, and Cabos is expected to show up. Paulina is waiting for Jacque to pick her up, but he obviously has other things on his mind. Her mother Jacqueline Voltaire, The Arrival) keeps hanging on Nico when he tries to make a ransom demand.

It's all quite silly and gets even more complicated. Jacque and Mudo pick up a pissed off ex-wrestler (Joaquin Casio, Sin ton ni Sonia) and his diminutive bodyguard (Silverio Palacios, Sin ton ni Sonia, Y Tu Mama Tambien). Matando Cabos also very loud, brash, violent, and overacted, much like stereotypical Mexican television. It's not very subtle, and does get a bit tiresome at times. Lozano's series of coincidences stretch credibility before the film turns into a full-blown comedy. He doesn't have the same gift of dialogue that Tarantino does, and his eye for violence seems very derivative, but he still is better than many other Tarantino wannabes.

Mongoose Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 34 minutes, Spanish with English subtitles, Rated R for pervasive violence and language, some strong sexuality and drug use.

Back to Movies