Mandrill (Blu-ray)

February 29, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Antonio (Marko Zaror) is an assassin with perhaps the most lethal skill set in the world. He is able to take out the targets no one else would even attempt, driven by an intense personal vendetta. As a child, Antonio had to deal with the death of his parents, but he channeled his rage over the years, turning himself into a weapon of destruction. Known as Mandrill, he seems to be almost super human when he is on the hunt. His latest mark is a man known as El Ciclope, a powerful casino owner with deep ties into organized crime rings. He soon arrives at the casino and begins to plot the kill, only to find himself entranced by a beautiful woman named Dominik (Celine Reymond). Even as he starts to fall for her, he discovers she is the daughter of his target, but that is only the start of the surprises. As he uncovers a link to his past and an opportunity he has waited his entire life to seize, can he keep his head together when faced with powerful foes, conflicted emotions, and romantic heat?

In the vein of The Transporter, Mandrill tries to mix over the top action, big stunt set pieces, and a sense of humor. At the core of the film is Marko Zaror, who is one of the most remarkable action stars around. He throws down in countless scenes and is both fun to watch and a believable warrior. While Jason Statham comes off as tough as a pillow in his films, Zaror carries himself like the real deal, which makes all the world of difference. The fight scenes here are just a blast to take in, though the gunfights aren’t quite on that same level. The choice to go CGI with the gun battle visual effects wasn’t a great one, as a lot of the impact is lost due to some not so great special effects work. Even so, the action in Mandrill is terrific on the whole and head and shoulders above the usual genre offerings.

So we know the action is good, but what about the story, right? As you probably expect, the basic plot is tried and true, with few surprises. What helps the rather mundane story is that the film never takes itself seriously, injecting nice doses of humor that help deflect the cliches. After all, we all know the real draw of Mandrill is the action, though it was cool to see the filmmakers try to make the best of a run of the mill premise. This is just a wild, fun movie that provides great action, a very cool 70s vibe, and some impressive visual design work. I wouldn’t call Mandrill a genre classic, but it provides all the action we can handle, which is all that matters in this case. So if you’re a fan of action movies with a good sense of humor, make sure you don’t miss Mandrill, which earns a solid recommendation.

Video: How does it look?

Mandrill is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen. This is a great looking visual effort, perhaps too sharp at times. I say that because detail is so strong at times, the lackluster CGI effects really stand out. This is especially true in the gun battles, where the wounds really look on the fake side. But otherwise, the remarkable depth is great news. The colors are natural and effective, while black levels are dead on and consistent. Not much else we could ask for in this case.

Audio: How does it sound?

A Spanish DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack provides an active, action packed presentation. As expected, the kinetic action scenes make the best use of the surrounds, with powerful impact and presence. The gun fights crack with big impact, while fight scenes pack the kind of kick you’d expect. The music also supplies surround presence, so this track is quite active. No issues in terms of dialogue however, so even when things heat up, the vocals remain clear. This disc also includes an English soundtrack, as well as English subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes two promotional featurettes, as well as the film’s trailer.

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