Kiltro (2006)

Posted in Reviews by - December 10, 2023
Kiltro (2006)

A zany action indie from Chile designed as a vehicle for martial artist Marko Zaror, who also co-produces. As well as making space for Zaror to show off his moves – not to mention his well-toned body – writer-director Ernesto Díaz Espinoza also simultaneously conjures up a dorky teen romance, a violent revenge saga by way of Sergio Leone, and a Highlander-esque mystery about a strange secret society, the sum of which adds up to barmy, esoteric fun. Luckily, Ernesto also laces his film with gags which helps to undercut some of the more earnest moments. Zaror plays fighting-mad street punk Zami, obsessed with local schoolgirl Kim (Caterina Jadresic) who, despite behaviour which verges on harassment, still won’t be his girlfriend. When a psychotic, vengeful assassin called Max Kalba (Miguel Angel De Luca) arrives in town – acting like something between a magician and a baddy in a Spanish soap opera – he starts to kill all the people who scorned him following a particularly bad break-up, eventually turning his attentions to Kim’s dad, a taekwondo teacher (Man Soo Yoon), and Zami steps in as protector. His skills are obviously no match for Max Kalba and he is left for dead, rescued by a dwarf in a cloak called Nik Nak (Roberto Avendano), who takes both Kim and Zami back to his secret hideaway cave. Zami must “find the Zeta state” if he has any chance of defeating Max Kalba, so he heads north into the desert to meet with drunken mystic Maestro Soto (Alejandro Castillo) to sample psychedelics and work on his summersaults. Once he achieves enlightenment, he returns to town with his chest out, a new haircut, warpaint and spurs, and proceeds to kick the living shit out of everyone – booting people about like footballs in a bid to end Max Kalba’s bloodthirsty rage and get the girl of his dreams. It’s creaky in places – understandable given its low-budget – but there is lots to enjoy, and Zaror proves to be more than a capable leading man, bringing genuine vulnerability and charisma to his hulking, heroic persona. The film would go on to become the first martial arts film in Latin America to receive a theatrical release.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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