REVIEW: NACHO LIBRE

CAST

Jack Black (Goosebumps)
Ana de la Reguera (Cop Out)
Héctor Jiménez (Wild Hogs)
Peter Stormare (22 Jump Street)
Carla Jimenez (Fuller House)

Ignacio is the son of a Scandinavian Lutheran missionary and a Mexican deacon, who both died while Ignacio was young. Now a cook for the Oaxaca, Mexico, monastery orphanage where he was raised, Ignacio dreams of becoming a luchador, but wrestling is strictly forbidden by the monastery. Ignacio cares deeply for the orphans and loves them with all his heart, but his food is terrible because he cannot afford quality ingredients. He also struggles over his feelings for Sister Encarnación, a nun who teaches at the orphanage. One night, while collecting donated tortilla chips for the orphans, Ignacio is robbed of the chips by a street thief named Steven. After a fight between the two, Ignacio decides to disregard the monastery’s rules and become a luchador in order to make money. He convinces Steven to join him with the promise of remuneration if they win, and the two join a local competition as tag partners.Ignacio changes his name to “Nacho” to keep his identity secret, while Steven adopts the name “Esqueleto” (Skeleton). They are defeated in their first match, but are nevertheless paid, as every wrestler is entitled to a portion of the total revenue. They continue to wrestle every week, with Ignacio using his pay to buy and prepare better food for the orphans. Ignacio gets used to losing some fights, but after a while, he gradually grows annoyed with the consistent losses. Steven brings him to a gypsy-like man known as “Emperor” who tells Ignacio to climb to an eagle’s nest, crack open the egg and swallow the yolk, claiming that he will gain the powers of an eagle. Ignacio completes the task, but still loses the next several bouts, frustrating him. He seeks advice from champion luchador Ramses, but Ramses is vain and in no mood to help aspiring wrestlers.Ignacio’s secret is finally exposed to the entire monastery when his robe catches fire during church, exposing his wrestling costume. He admits that he is Nacho and tells them that he intends to fight at a battle royale between eight luchadores for the right to take on Ramses, and for a cash prize, which he will use to improve life for the orphans. But the wrestler Silencio wins the match; Nacho comes in second place. Getting evicted from the monastery, Ignacio leaves to wander in the nearby wilderness. The next morning, Steven comes to tell him that Silencio has been injured (Steven ran over his foot) and cannot fight, meaning that Nacho—as the second-place finisher—receives the right to fight Ramses. Ignacio and Steven agree to team up again. That night, Ignacio sends a message via Steven to Encarnación, explaining his plan and confessing his love to her (as a sister).Despite initial difficulty, Nacho does well in the match. When the crowd begins to support Ignacio, Ramses resorts to cheating. Nacho is nearly defeated—indeed, unmasked—by Ramses, when Encarnación enters the stadium with the orphans. Elated and inspired, Nacho rallies himself and defeats Ramses. Ignacio becomes a professional wrestler and buys a bus for the orphans with his prize money. The film closes with Ignacio, Steven and Sister Encarnación taking the children on a field trip to the city of Monte Albán.The movie is clever and artistically shot, adding even more depth to the humour. At worst this movie has a few slow spots, but it is peppered with some great ‘laugh till you drop slapstick.

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