Ernesto Díaz Espinoza, Chile
2006, Chilechita/Magnet/Revolver/
93 minutes, Spanish with English subtitles

LATAMROB rating: ***

AT FIRST sight it is the most implausible possible combination: a Chilean martial arts film. But director Ernesto Díaz Espinoza pulls it off with this bruising punch of a movie that makes no attempt to be anything other than a grazed knuckle from the southern hemisphere seeking to smash its way with sheer bravado in front of bigger global audience. Kiltro tells the story of the muscular but humble street-fighter Zamir (Marko Zaror) resisting the murderous revenge of a former love rival (Miguel Angel de Luca) of the head of his father’s kung fu brotherhood. There’s not much to it, other than a lot of stylised and well executed fight scenes, and a cosmological rite of passage in the Atacama desert, but Zaror creates a punch-drunk punk with a drawl that is no less plausible than Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky who never pretends to be anything other than a lunatic dedicated to the salvation of the girl of his dreams, Kim (Caterina Jadresic). The sales pitch was “You touch her, you die”. Get the picture? Good, because as Chile’s first foray into the martial arts genre, Kiltro punches above its weight. EC

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