Sunday, October 11, 2015

Ladrones [2015]

MPAA (PG-13)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IDDb listing listing* artículo* artículo artículo*

Variety (A.M. de la Fuente) article

Austin Chronicle (M. Baumgarten) review

Ladrones [2015] [IMDb] []* (directed by Joe Menendez [Wikip] [IMDb] []*, screenplay by Jon Molerio [IMDb]) is a (North) American-made completely bilingual (mostly in Spanish but fully subtitled in both English / Spanish) Oceans-11 / Robin Hood / Zorro-like sequel to the similar caper-comedy Ladrón que roba otro Ladrón [2007].

Former conman turned polite / sneaky avenger Alejandro Toledo (played by Fernando Colunga [IMDb] []*) is asked by a long suffering Tejana mother-daughter pair, Josefa and Jackie Rodriguez (played by Carmen Beato [IMDb] []* and Cristina Rodlo [IMDb] []* respectively), to help them recover the recently discovered deed to their family's long-lost Texas "ranchito" which was quickly stolen back by the henchman Rex (played by Frank Perozo [IMDb] []*) of the Evil "gringa heiress" Miranda Kilroy (played by Jessica Lindsey [IMDb] []*) whose family had stolen the Rodriguez family's ranchito along with those of the other Mexican families' nearby after Texas had become part of the United States following first the Texas War for Independence and then the Mexican American War.

Under terms of the peace that following that decade of chaos, the new (North) American administration of Texas was willing to recognize the land titles of the previous Mexican administration, ASSUMING THAT THE ORIGINAL TITLES COULD BE PRODUCED.  The Rodriguez' great-great-great grandfather had tried to protect their land title along with those of the other Mexican rancheros by burying the deeds secretly in a box _somewhere_ on their land.  However, during the ensuing land dispute, he was shot by the Kilroy family's patriarch, so the location of the original deeds died with him.

Fast forward to the present day... 40-y/o widowed Josefa Rodriguez, a gardener, accidentally found the box with the original deeds, while randomly planting something quite random on her family's since very diminished property.  The discovery of the old deeds called into question the Kilroy family's ownership of all its lands in the area, hence why they sent their trusted "Evil henchman" Rex "to fetch" (steal back) the deeds in question.  And he quickly succeeds in retrieving the inconvenient deeds, which Miranda inexplicably RATHER THAN JUST BURNING THEM ... placed under "under lock and key" in her Bond Villain-lite worthy Penthouse suite at the top of her family's swanky beachfront hotel on "North Padre Island" on the Texas coast.

Hearing of Alejandro Toledo's Robin Hood / Zorro like exploits "on Univision" ;-),  the Rodriguez' turn to him to recover their deed ... and the rest of the story ensues ...

It is a generally quite funny movie:  A fair number of the characters are well drawn.  Toledo tries first to hook-up with his former partner, Emilio Sánchez (played by Miguel Veroni [IMDb] []*), from the first movie.  But Sánchez is now working for the FBI, so he can't do this kind of work anymore.  BUT he _refers him_ to "someone who can" ;-) a Santiago Guzman (played by Eduardo Yáñez [IMDb] []*).  But Santiago's now married and also doesn't want to take on more than a "consulting job" in this matter.

So what to do?  So Toledo and Guzman hold a Three Amigos [1986]-like "audition" in Rodriguez' hometown to see who they could recruit in organizing their planned Oceans 11 [2001] like heist to steal the deeds back from the "Evil Gringa Miranda" (who actually comports herself quite "normally" enjoying her yoga, her view from her beachside penthouse, etc, etc.  It's good to be "on top of the heap" ;-).

Among the people they recruit was a hairdresser named Magda (played by Michelle González [IMDb]) who could predict the weather by the "frizziness" of her hair, a espiritista named Mirabel (played by Evelyna Rodriguez [IMDb] []*) and a heart-of-gold but awful Cuban immigrant "method actor" named Miguelito (played by Oscar Torre [IMDb] []*).  And then Jackie's heart-throb but dumb-as-a-doornail boyfriend / novio Ray (played by Vadhir Derbez [IMDb] []*) really wants "to help" as well.  The story plays out from there ...

Again, it's a generally funny film, and ... can you guess "who wins"?  ;-)

* Reasonably good (sense) translations of non-English webpages can be found by viewing them through Google's Chrome browser. 

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