About ten years ago, Italian exploitation filmmakers were cranking out sickening safari-splatter epics with titles like CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and ULTIMO MONDO CANNIBALE, drenched with blood and gore and depicting the grisly atrocities of savage jungle primitives. What a difference a decade makes. Now those villainous headhunters are noble rain forest dwellers,...read more
About ten years ago, Italian exploitation filmmakers were cranking out sickening safari-splatter epics with titles like CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and ULTIMO MONDO CANNIBALE, drenched with blood and gore and depicting the grisly atrocities of savage jungle primitives. What a difference a decade
makes. Now those villainous headhunters are noble rain forest dwellers, heroically raising righteous spears to defend Mother Earth against evil industrial despoilers of the environment. There's still plenty of blood and gore, though, which is the point.
INDIO 2--THE REVOLT is suitably revolting, and its politically correct massacres should please hopeless action fans. It's a step down from the earlier INDIO, escapist stuff that starred Francesco Quinn as Daniel Morrell, a Marine commando who prevented a giant corporation from despoiling the
Amazon rain forest. Obviously Quinn (the son of actor Anthony Quinn) couldn't or wouldn't come back for an encore, so here an anonymous extra portrays Morrell by keeping his back to the camera in a prologue that sees the hero easily betrayed and slain. Even post-mortem photos hide the face of
Quinn's stand-in, but the remains are nonetheless recognized by Morrell's Marine Corps mentor, Sergeant Jake Iron (Marvelous Marvin Hagler). Iron gets time off from boot camp so he can go avenge his buddy, as though vendetta leave is perfectly routine in the Leathernecks.
Once in the wilderness Iron meets Morrell's people, hiding from the depredations of IMC, which uses Indian slaves to build a construction road. In charge of the infernal project is, naturally, a white South African named Vincent Van Eyck (Dirk Galuba); the beastly Boer is the same guy who murdered
Morrell. Iron inspires the natives with the story of Spartacus, and leads the aboriginal avengers in an ultimately triumphant battle against IMC and its mercenaries. The road to victory is an arduous one for characters and viewers alike though, and subplots include a weapons-raid on a
bordello/drughouse/arsenal run by the grotesque Mama Lou (Jaqueline Carol), a fat madame with lethal metal teeth. Later, Van Eyck strafes the natives with "White Cloud"--not the fabric softener, but a deadly chemical that creates cheap dry-ice bubbles on the river. Sergeant Iron, discouraged by
this display of Mr. Wizard-level special effects, elects to quit. Yes, just quit. But while walking back home he's given a boost by the sight of legions of painted warriors materializing out of the underbrush (a truly impressive crowd shot), and rejoins them for the climactic attack.
Former world heavyweight boxer Marvelous Marvin Hagler fits the bill physically as a knockabout action star, and can expect more roles of this type even though his acting is as wooden as the trees he's trying to save. Even so, there's something very tentative about this Sergeant Iron guy, who, as
a Black man, is expected to identify with persecuted Third World peoples and kick that Afrikaaner's white honky butt. But one never loses sight of the fact that Morrell's tribe would have fought just as fiercely even if Iron had never shown up, the suspicion compounded when the Marine throws in
the towel at the first sign of real trouble. While it's nice to see natives who aren't the usual submissive victims helpless without Anglo guidance, the whole thing goes against the film's iconographic treatment of Hagler as hero. In keeping with Marvelous Marvin's athletic prowess, the Sergeant's
got fists of, well, iron; cracks from those mighty mitts send baddies sailing twenty feet through the air, put out Mama Lou's lights for good, and stop Van Eyck's heart during Iron's final one-on-one grudge match with the archvillian (who, until that cardiac punch, is giving Hagler a worse
thrashing than Sugar Ray Leonard ever did).
It's fifty times the workout that Hagler got in the first INDIO, in which his big movie debut turned out to be a passive cameo. But the original, done by the same filmmaking team, was a classier picture all the way through. INDIO 2--THE REVOLT, on the other hand, revels in death and mutilation,
with one of Hagler's blows squirting a splat of blood right onto the camera lens. The IMC marauders habitually cut off the heads and ears of their victims, and later a bullet is removed from a wounded child in closeup; all with the same slurpy sound effect. There's also a terrific explosion,
followed by a landslide. Not surprisingly, any ecological profundities are generally ignored amidst all the mayhem. (Violence, profanity, substance abuse, nudity.)
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