|THE CHAMPIONS OF JUSTICE
|Copyright 1971 Cinematográfica Grovas
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 29 June 2008
- Blue Demon - He might be shorter than some of the other Champions of Justice, but look at the size of his fists. They're huge! To him, Chesty Morgan is merely a handful.
- Thousand Masks (Mil Máscaras) - I do not know about a thousand, but he certainly does own a lot of masks. He also has various outfits that go with the masks, some of which are just amazing; Joan Rivers would be hard pressed to describe some of them.
- The Killer Doctor - Medical school was not working out, so he changed majors and earned a Ph.D. in wrestling. Feel the healing power of the reverse super suplex, brother! Yeah!
- The Avenging Shadow (Rayo de Jalisco) - In desperate need of a new girlfriend. Interested ladies should email their resumes to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Darkness (Tinieblas) - If I ever take up fencing, I am going to steal his mask design.
- Elsa - She has venus flytrap eyelashes.
- Black Hand - Can he see into the future with those glasses?
- Black Shadow - I think that his mask is too tight.
- The Evil Midget Henchmen - A small army of masked midgets wearing red suits with black capes! I can have such a thing? Yes, Andrew, there really is a Santa Claus.
|You know, I tend to like the premise and some of the basic rules of lucha libre films. The masked wrestlers are superheroes, fighting crime, saving the planet from aliens, and even battling fearsome monsters. Forget Batman, where would the world be without Santo or Blue Demon? Not to forget that the wrestlers go everywhere in their masks. You will see them at the beach, wearing polo shirts, shorts, and sandals as they sip margaritas - wearing their masks. Or catch one of them sleeping in bed, wearing pajamas - and their mask. Some luchadores even own tailored suits that match their identity-hiding masks!
This film, though, might be my favorite of the bunch.
The movie starts with a wrestling match. Blue Demon, Thousand Masks, and the Killer Doctor face off against a trio of other wrestlers. It is an entertaining bout, and I was about to be annoyed when I realized that the match was going to become a casualty of the plot, but then I saw them. Midgets! They are dressed in these amazing little red suits, and creeping along a walkway high above the sports arena. Then one of them breaks out a radio that transforms into a submachine gun! They are here to assassinate Blue Demon and the others!
Do not be alarmed. Despite the short distance between the shooter and his targets, the midget assassin misses the three heroic wrestlers entirely (okay, Thousand Masks is grazed on the arm). The referee is not so lucky; he is riddled with bullets. That just goes to show you that referees are the canaries of the wrestling world. If somebody is swinging a steel chair, the ref is going to take it in the face first. Ditto with midgets shooting submachine guns. Running low on ammunition, and having missed their opportunity to cut down the Champions of Justice, the midgets make use of a getaway car. The shaken wrestlers agree that the attempt on their lives can only mean one thing: the Black Hand is free, and out to take revenge on Blue Demon and his friends.
Back at the secret laboratory of the Black Hand, we watch as the evil scientist scolds his midgets. My God, I believe in fighting for justice, but if becoming a criminal mastermind would guarantee me an army of midget henchmen in red suits - well let's just say that the world would tremble at the mention of Darth Borntreger. Anyway (must...not...be distracted...by...desire for...midget henchmen), Black Hand has invented a machine to turn his midget henchmen into super midget henchmen! Each of them will be imbued with the strength of ten athletes! Why doesn't Black Hand do the same to his regular henchmen? Who cares! I wouldn't worry about them either. Every minute spent creating a super wrestler is one that could be spent making another super midget.
Actually, the machine is too small for a regular person. Even the midgets barely fit inside.
What does one do with a herd of super midgets? How about kidnapping the contestants in the Miss Mexico beauty pageant? This might sound like your run-of-the-mill evil genius plot to disrupt the everyday life of citizens everywhere, but it is a personal affront to the Champions of Justice. The young women competing in the pageant are the goddaughters of the good wrestlers. As the girls get ready in the dressing room, the bad guys turn off the lights. A midget smashes through the door, and the dressing room is suddenly swarming with slap happy midgets that smack the girls into submission!
I just about had a joygasm there. That hasn't happened since - what, high school?
Next on Black Hand's list of evil deeds is to kill Thousand Masks. Three of his midgets and one wrestler henchman ambush the luchadore while he is out for a relaxing Sunday drive. Granted, Thousand Masks is wearing a leopard print mask and a matching leopard print coat, so the spectacle of him driving past on his motorcycle might not have been relaxing for the average fashion conscious citizen on the street, but he likes it. Shooting at Thousand Masks does not work, so the bad guys pull ahead of him and lay down an oil slick. Next thing the luchadore knows, he is skidding out of control. The bike plummets off a cliff, but Thousand Masks manages to save himself by grabbing some trees. He pulls himself up the side of the cliff and back onto the road.
Where he is immediately set upon by three slap-happy midgets! Good grief, if I ever get into a serious accident, the first thing I encounter after crawling back to the road had better not be a trio of violent little people. Well, these are Black Hand's super midgets, so Thousand Masks is in danger of being beaten to death until Blue Demon arrives (he was out for a Sunday drive in his antique Thunderbird). The leader of the Champions of Justice is quickly in trouble, but then something happens to the midgets' super powers. They wear off! Faster than you can say, "Willow Ufgood" the three midgets and evil wrestler jump in their car and escape. Blue Demon and Thousand Masks are left scratching their heads.
Back at the secret hideout, Black Hand designs metal bangles for his midgets. The devices convey the same super powers as before, meaning that his henchmidgets do not have to worry about their strength suddenly disappearing. Black Hand also freezes (it looks more like he is euthanizing them with Easy Off oven cleaner) the kidnapped beauty queens. He plans to brainwash them and sell them to a rogue state.
With no clues as to Black Hand's whereabouts, and time running out for the girls, Blue Demon agrees to a one-on-one meeting with the evil mastermind. Of course it is a trap. Blue Demon arrives at the designated meeting place, an empty field, and immediately discovers that it is not so empty. Super midgets and evil wrestlers attack! Then the other Champions of Justice show up and enter the fray! A huge battle royal takes place in the field, with the good guys taking the worst of it (ever seen a man jumped by three midgets? It's not pretty). Suddenly, the midgets' bangles stop working. The bad guys scatter as fast as they can. Some of them escape in a station wagon!
A station wagon!
So, the bad guys are one for three, and their sole win was against a bunch of Miss Mexico contestants. (Sounds like the Red Sox, doesn't it?) Looking to reduce the effectiveness of the forces of good (FOG), Black Hand develops another plot. Avenging Shadow is sprayed with sleeping powder and taken hostage, then he has to wrestle a huge black man! Even though Avenging Shadow wins the bout, he loses. Black Hand brainwashes the luchadore and turns him into a member of the forces of evil (FOE).
While Blue Demon and Thousand Masks scout out an airfield they believe Black Hand uses for operations, Darkness and The Killer Doctor take Elsa, Avenging Shadow's girlfriend, waterskiing. Yes, waterskiing, and they run into trouble. Elsa is an agent of the Black Hand, and the boat is rigged with explosives! Jumping from the craft before it explodes, the two luchadores discover that there are several of Black Hand's scuba divers in the lake. An underwater brawl develops between the masked wrestlers and the divers!
I swear to God that I am not making this up.
Meanwhile, at the airfield, Blue Demon and Thousand Masks watch as wooden crates (containing the missing girls) are loaded onto a small plane. They hide in the back until it takes off, then hijack the aircraft. When the pilot (who is wearing a parachute) bails out, Blue Demon dives out after him! The two men duke it out until the parachute deposits them on the ground, then the heroic blue wrestler beats the evil pilot senseless.
Blue Demon and Thousand Masks arrive at the lake just in time to help their friends defeat the scuba divers. Then they sneak into Black Hand's secret hideout (if I seem to be zipping through the plot, I am not; the movie suddenly kicks into overdrive). After dodging bullets, the Champions of Justice finally grapple with the super midgets and a huge battle takes place in the laboratory. One wrestler throws a midget into the evil scientist's blinking control panel! The control panel and the midget burst into flames! At long last, the forces of evil are laid low, though Black Hand swallows a pill, turns invisible, and escapes.
This is a great film. Some might argue that it has no basis in reality, but who wants to watch that? I can see it any time I want to, and I don't mean on CBS. I want a movie to tell me a story. Any story, no matter how crazy or outlandish, just make sure it is interesting. Quite often, more interesting than everyday life. While I would hardly call my life boring, it is not filled with heroic masked wrestlers, or evil scientists, and it is completely devoid of red-garbed super midgets. Nope, no super midgets here. Not a one. Zilch. Zero. Nada.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- The life expectancy of a valet in Mexico City is less than twenty seconds.
- Swimsuits used to be made of corduroy.
- The original version of the prayer goes like this: "Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep; and if midgets kidnap me before the morning, I pray that my luchadore godfather will come rescue me."
- In the old days "database" was just another word for "scrapbook."
- Every evil master plan should include time for tea.
- Mexico needs to install more guard rails on its mountain roads.
- Hitting a patch of oil on the road will cause your vehicle to come to an immediate screeching halt.
- Mexico's public telephone system is pneumatic.
- Tabasco sauce is distilled from the blood of evil midgets.
- 4 mins - Are those what I think they are? They are! They are! Woohoo!
- 11 mins - That was AWESOME! Do it again!
- 16 mins - Why not have him bend a steel bar with his bare hands, or perhaps he could jump over a small building.
- 22 mins - Somebody has been filming my dreams again.
- 30 mins - Black Hand has a wrestling mat in his secret laboratory? Never mind, I guess that does make sense.
- 33 mins - "Boy, you done gone and put yer underwear on over yer pants again."
- 38 mins - They are just checking to see if he is ripe.
- 50 mins - "He's got a cardboard box! I tell you, Vic, you don't want somebody coming at you with one of those."
- 74 mins - Like shoot them with a real gun, perhaps?
- Black Hand: "Tomorrow you'll kidnap the goddaughters of the masked ones. I'll also use them for my hibernation experiments."
Midget: "Blue Demon and his mates will defend them with their lives. The only ones who can confront those savages are them (the evil wrestlers) and Black Shadow. We are just useless midgets."
- Thousand Masks: "I can't believe it. Those midgets have a supernatural strength."
Blue Demon: "Yes, but they suddenly lost it."
- Avenging Shadow (who is chained up): "You'll never beat my friends, Black Hand."
Black Hand: (slaps Avenging Shadow) "Imbecile!"
- Blue Demon: "Avenging Shadow is under the influence of a drug. I think that if we try to help him, he'll attack us."
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|The Champions of Justice battle the super midgets and some evil wrestler henchmen. At first, the bad guys have the upper hand, but then the bangles stop working. Without their super powers, the midgets are in deep doo-doo.
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