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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Torrente 2: Mission in Marbella
Torrente 2: Mission in Marbella
Ventura // Unrated // May 24, 2005
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Carl Davis | posted May 23, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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Remember back in the 70's and 80's when movies were still made for adults? Seriously, back then there were movies for adults and then there were movies for families. The family fare was usually smart, or at least entertaining, enough to appeal to everyone from Mom and Dad to Junior, little sister and the baby, while there was a whole other world of films for Mom and Dad to enjoy when the babysitter was over. Now I don't mean anything of the blue variety, instead I'm talking about the R-Rated comedies, dramas, horrors and action pictures of a lost age. All these statistics show that R-Rated movies don't make as much money as PG-13 films, and they're probably right, but that was never the point. It was always about providing the alternative. No parent I know wants to spend the week with the kids doing family things and then when they have some time to themselves watch the latest blockbuster at the multiplex. Hell, you might as well still have the kids with you for that kind of fun.

The way things are heading, towards even more puritanical, family-themed entertainment, I'm glad that one country is at least getting it right, and that is Spain. I have seen some of the most dirty, filthy and hilarious adult comedies from there in recent years. Whether from celebrated cult director Álex de la Iglesia and his weird, wonderful comedies Dying of Laughter and 800 Bullets and now from one of his frequent collaborators, Santiago Segura (Obra Maestra), comes a work of inspired brilliance and utter absurdity, Torrente 2: Mission in Marbella (2001). While a big fan of Segura's star turn in Dying of Laughter, he was almost unrecognizable in Obra Maestra in a sort of homage to de la Iglesia himself, but make no mistake, the Torrente series is his crowning achievement, with which he could have easily been named the successor to Peter Sellers landmark Inspector Clouseau, rather than Steve Martin's uninspired take.

The first installment, Torrente: The Stupid Arm of the Law (1998), was a cult hit in Europe, proving popular enough for Segura to make a follow-up. I'm not too familiar with the plot of the first film, but it involves debauched Madrid cop, think of a comedic version of Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant, José Luis Torrente getting thrown off the force and his subsequent actions to try and regain his status in the dept. Torrente is utterly despicable, he drinks, smokes, is a sexist, a racist, abuses the elderly and the handicapped, completely self-absorbed, and absolutely hilarious when doing it. Torrente 2: Mission in Marbella picks up where the first film left off, Torrente finds himself off the force, but with a small fortune and living the good life in the resort town of Marbella, Spain. Of course our anti-hero's ill-gotten fortune is gone before the opening credits roll (which is a hilarious send-up of the James Bond film openings) and he is forced to work as a private detective in order to regain some of his lost wealth.

With his junkie assistant, Cuco, faithful bulldog, Franco, and network of crippled informants, Torrente begins to investigate the seamy underbelly of sunny Marbella. Somewhere between taking photos of a cheating wife and breaking up a newspaper stealing ring, he stumbles onto the biggest case of his life, and doesn't even realize it. While on a late-night stakeout, Cuco stumbles across a dying man with the secret microchip a madman needs to launch a missile, thereby holding Marbella hostage. Torrente becomes the unwitting target of a criminal organization operated by his estranged Father, desperate to get the microchip back and claim a hefty fee. Torrente may be clueless, but he has an uncanny knack for self-preservation. Is Marbella strong enough to survive when two Torrentes' are on the loose?

While not as measured a work as that of de la Iglesia, Segura's Torrente series is a riot. There's something in Torrente 2: Mission in Marbella to offend everyone, whether it's Torrente's flagrant drug and alcohol abuse, incessant misogyny and racism, mockery of the handicapped, or all of the above, he is still hilarious because of his complete and total underdog status. The character is a buffoon in the classic sense, or a grotesque as the British say, in the mode of Basil Fawlty or The Blackadder. This is a film by adults, for adults, which in this "Disneyfied" age is definitely an achievement.

The DVD:

Picture: The movie is presented in a widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The transfer looked really good, with a nice, crisp image and lots of bright colors.

Audio: There is a Castilian Dolby Digital 5.1 Track (with optional English Subtitles) which sounded good to me, even though I don't speak Spanish. The full audio mix was great, with a great soundtrack and hilarious theme song.

Extras: Extras included on this DVD are a "Making of…" Featurette, the original Theatrical trailer and trailers for other Lolafilms DVD releases.

Conclusion: I guess my only complaint about this DVD is that there isn't a domestic release of the first Torrente film here in the US. If only this had been a double feature, than I probably would have given this DVDTalk's highest rating. Instead, I am left to wait until someone can bring this gem over here, and with the news that Segura is hard at work on Torrente 3: Operación Perejil, I can only hope for a Torrente Trilogy Box set under the tree this year for Christmas. For pure unadulterated fun and loads of crass foreign humor, Torrente 2: Mission in Marbella comes Highly Recommended.

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