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Harry says, it is no mirage - I loved MIRAGEMAN at Fantastic Fest - a Chilean Superhero Martial Arts Film!

Until just a few years ago, I didn’t really consider Chile as a place to watch for film, but recently they’ve really sort of demanded my attention. It all began with Nicolas Lopez’s PROMEDIO ROJO and SXSW. So when I got an email from him telling me that his fellow countrymen had made a low budget Superhero Martial Arts movie that I should consider – I decided to give it a try. That film was MIRAGEMAN. What I discovered may very well be one of my favorite Superhero movies of all time. It isn’t about showy effects – there are none. It isn’t about a character that I grew up reading rabidly and have nostalgic juvenile memories of. It’s just real. People often times love BATMAN because – you could be BATMAN… but you really couldn’t be Batman. It isn’t just the training – you can do that. But how many of us are multi-Billionaires that can build “all those wonderful toys”? Exactly. Martial Artist and Stuntman Marko Zaror has created an amazing character with MIRAGEMAN. His secret identity is Maco – a strip club bouncer, door man and toilet cleaner. When he was younger, hoodlums broke into his family’s home, beat him to a pulp, killed his mother and father – and then raped and severely beat his little brother. His brother is in an institution in a severely bad state. Non-communicative, fearful of almost everything. Since the incident, Maco has been training. Making his body an intensely badass machine of vengeance. Power-training as a martial artist. Taking supplements, eating right – and preparing for the day that he hopes never would come. Then, one night as he’s walking the streets – he observes a man in a mask coming from a residence carrying a television. Maco sneaks up behind him and kicks him upside the head so hard that he falls like a proverbial sack of Idaho dirt munchies. He takes the man’s mask, goes into the residence where he knocks out the men and rescues a beautiful woman moments before she is raped. He goes home that night, thrilled. The next day while training, the Channel 10 news has the news item and – shockingly – the rape victim that he saved was none other than Carol Valdivieso – Star Reporter for Channel 10 news. She dramatically retells the story of her rescue. The next day Maco goes to visit his brother – only to find he saw the news story – and is coming out of his fog – the belief in a masked avenger giving him the courage and sense of security to perhaps go further. With this, Maco decides to become a SUPERHERO keeping the streets of Santiago safe for decent people. The problem is… Maco isn’t a particularly bright guy. He’s incredibly well trained, but he was never trained in crime prevention or crime solving. Also – his sense of fashion is a bit off. However, he does know how to strike hero poses and kick criminal ass. Marko Zaror plays Maco with a childlike innocence – he isn’t sure about what he’s doing, but he is very dedicated to what he feels is right and wrong. He’s also trusting to a fault. This doesn’t feel like any superhero movie you’ve ever seen. It isn’t a comedy, so much as it’s just funny to see a guy trying to be a real superhero. Director/Writer Ernesto Diaz Espinoza was dedicated to making this film as realistic as possible – and the result is something particularly special. This film has heart and soul – and one helluva kickass funky soundtrack. The action has no wires and often times is footage of full speed, full contact action. The result of which is you sitting in the theater gasping, because you can’t believe what you just saw. Magnolia Pictures has picked it up – I really hope they get it out to theaters. There is a NACHO LIBRE / NAPOLEON DYNAMITE / THE FOOT FIST WAY kinda vibe going on here. It really works despite being low-budget – in fact it works exactly for that reason. The filmmakers used documentary filming techniques to create honest and real reactions – much like the classic Noir film GUN CRAZY.. but as a superhero Martial arts film. This was quite a surprise!

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 23, 2007, 3:38 a.m. CST

    testing 1 2 3

    by xega


  • Sept. 23, 2007, 4:37 a.m. CST

    As crazy as the world has become,

    by thevision

    I wouldn't be surprised if someone decides to put on a mask and fight crime in real life. Its probably crossed people's mind, train like a motherfucker, put on a costume and beat the shit out of thugs! It sounds crazy but with all the "superhero" movies and TV shows influencing or dare I say it- inspiring people, I think its possible. I often wonder how the press and public would deal with it- consider it a joke at the beginning most likely but take it seriously if the "masked crimefighter" makes any kind of impact? Would he be Batman or the Punisher? Or a combination, like Nighthawk from "Supreme Power?"

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 5:07 a.m. CST

    When I was 14, I

    by Chewbaccalypse Now

    When I was 14, I honest-to-god believed that if I trained hard enough I could be a crime fighter. I had an abandoned church that I would break into and train until 2 am. My friend and I even made a prototype suit from an old wetsuit and a bullet proof vest from Army Surplus. I think Jerry Sienfield said it best "If you really want to understand the male psyche, just konw this; When we were young Superhero was a viable career option."

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 5:16 a.m. CST

    Real Life not only sucks its Demoralizing!

    by thevision

    The real world has plenty of villains more twisted than the Joker- the list of serial killers is depressing. The Kingpin- organized crime. Dr. Doom- Kim Jong Il, Robert Mugabe, the maniacs in Sudan. Lex Luthor- we have a near infinite list of real world Luthors. Sadly, it seems our world is not DC's "Earth Prime" but more like "Earth 3"- populated by villains and no heroes.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 5:21 a.m. CST


    by Wilclas

    No, wait - that can´t be right.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 5:23 a.m. CST

    TRU DAT!

    by Chewbaccalypse Now

    And in fiction violence can solve most problems. But it's only for dramatic effect because it's the most visceral form of conflict. However, in real life, violence begets violence. I really wish I could go out and crack some heads. (I was always partial to the punisher) Problem is, No one is that good. You would probably be dead within hours. I agree about the news media. Of course you want to believe in a Commisioner Gordon or Ernie Hudson from the Crow, but most likely the Police will cry to the local news networks that said hero is a public threat, when he's (or she) is really making the PoPo look like dumbasses that can't do their jobs. In real life I've learned that things change because: (a) Old men get rich (b) Old men looked like idiots

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 5:41 a.m. CST

    Training and equipment needed

    by thevision

    Break into DARPA and steal an exoskeleton infantry battle suit!LOL! Anyway, martial arts training should be a hybrid of Jujitsu-both traditional and Brazilian, Karate, Muay Thai, Ninjutsu, Escrima and Marine Corp Martial Arts. Weapons would be tasers, knives, escrima sticks and of course guns- Batman and Daredevils "no guns" policy will not work in the real world.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 6:09 a.m. CST


    by Wilclas

    ...would be the "Punisher" type. Here in Brazil we heard of them eventually. They´re also know as "off-duty cop who shoots criminal in the teeth and walks away". Oh, I love those guys.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 6:18 a.m. CST

    So there's already a real-life "The Punisher"...

    by Pan_Krator

    ... but that's logical, because toting guns is more viable than being a martial-arts-based vigilante. (Crooks have guns and are not afraid to use'em.) --- I recall what Frank Miller said about his ending to BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS (1986): He's stop going after muggers, and instead go after the people who make them muggers! A masked superhero is a political hero -- by merely being there, he states that "Society has failed us." Ironically, masked terrorists in real life probably think of themselves as heroes -- but are they? (I think not...)

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 7:59 a.m. CST

    The Batisher

    by Chewbaccalypse Now

    Even with guns, No one is that good and the universe is too random. When bullets start flying things get crazy. He would have to take the form of an assassin and Pan_Krator is right about Miller's ideology, You have to go to the source.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 10 a.m. CST

    "train like a motherfucker"

    by godoffireinhell

    yeah right. most if not all people posting in AICN talkbacks are man-boobed fat slobs whose idea of working out consists of walking from their cars to the entrance of the local fatburger. enjoy your mountain dew and the delusions it obviously causes.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Real-life Superhero types are PSYCHOS

    by mistergreen

    Just think about it.. The kind of guys who'd want to be real-life super heros are mentally off. They can easily turn into murdering psychopaths. If you really want to help out your community, join the police force or fire fighing force.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 10:58 a.m. CST

    Maybe "THE DARK KNIGHT" will take a back seat to this.

    by JDanielP

    heh,heh ...sounds fun. I'll go see it if it comes to my town.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 11:04 a.m. CST

    MIRAGEMAN trailer

    by mistergreen

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 11:34 a.m. CST

    Being chilean, I think most of chilean movies SUCK!!!

    by Prometeo

    Hi everyone. Living in this country, I've been (like most of my countrymen) witness of the rebirth of chilean cinema, practicaly destroyed by 17 years of a Military Regime that did its best to opress any sort of independent, creative thought. For the most part, local productions all those years were devoted to crappy soap operas, reutilizing the same bunch of good loking, mediocre actors over and over. In the 90's democracy returned, and with it theatre, cinema, TV shows, local music, etc... But what came out of the ashes wasn't exactly a beautiful, stronger than before cinema... 17 years of TV crap had made their job. Now, local cinema is, for the most part, an unimaginative, repetitive, cliched moviemaking industries. FILLED with local soap opera mediocre actors, soap opera storytelling, soap opera sets, soap opera character developement, and the ocasional local bl*w jobbing celebrity (Chilean Geisha, anyone?). A cinema that tries (but fails) to look like independant european cinema, that worships the latinoamerican identity without really being a part of it (as anyone that visit this side of the world will testify, the southern cone is not really part of latin america. ). That copies the fat from american cinema instead of focusing in the meat of it. I see over and over trailers on my local cinemas promoting movies about an idealized old country life, filled with "colorfull" characters lakie prostituts, abusive men, simplistic relationships and the over erotic scene disguised as art. And that's what they do best! don't get me started on the atempts of action sequences, terror cinema or comedies... As a rule, I don't go to see chilean movies to the movietheatre. But not all hope is lost. There are some interesting new movies, coming from young guys, like Nicolás Lópes; or people that lived outside the country, like Marco Zaror... or the ones that you really couldn't call chilean, like Alejandro Amenábar, not to mention some old clasics by really old guys that have lived outside all their lives, like Alejandro Jodorowsky. People that werent castrated by the Variety Shows that we were exposed in the 80's. That being said, I think it will take a time for chilean cinema to regain its feet, find it's own identity, and spawn a new generation of true filmakers; and not just a bunch of locally inflated mediocre popfarts, following the lastest 6 month fashion trend to make a movie. Keep an eye... one of this days we could even make something worth of being called a movie ;)

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 11:46 a.m. CST

    And, by the way...

    by Prometeo

    Happy Birthday to me ;)

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 1 p.m. CST

    Will Mirageman use his martial arts on an evil alpaca?

    by MrMysteryGuest

    Or do they have evil llamas in Chile? :P

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 3:27 p.m. CST

    Definitely not me guys!

    by thevision

    The last fight I had was 9th grade and I'm pretty sure I lost! In the real world, the most we apathetic slobs can do is not bitch and moan when the city council needs to raise taxes to hire more cops and firemen.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 4:03 p.m. CST

    I remember this

    by messi

    If this is the same one I'm thinking about. Crazy martial arts cos the dude is a stuntman and shit.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 4:07 p.m. CST

    Real world is much worse than comics

    by messi

    Sure the comics have powerful villains, but this world is filled to the balls with villains EVERYWHERE. It really is Earth 3. I can imagine some dude who has just lost it Ra's Al ghul style and decides to use money and power to wipe out criminals, sure he know he can't kill every one or every thug but he can bring down the russian mafia and gangs etc. It's possible but Like i said this world is full of villains. Rupert Murdoch is a real life Lex Luthor.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 4:12 p.m. CST

    mistergreen wrong

    by messi

    that's a very DC mentallity of viewing the world. that if you do things like the monsters you become a monster, but life isn't that black and white. there are people who could kill criminals like the punisher and not hurt an innocent person, is he really a murderous psychopath taking out people who would really make the world a better place if they were dead. that's the sad thing about life, that the DC view isn't real and doesn't work.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 4:53 p.m. CST

    We are in Earth 3 for sure my friends!

    by thevision

    Another genocide in Africa in less than 10 years, a psychopath gunning down fellow students in Virginia Tech, a vicious gang in Ft. Lauderdale sexually assaulting a single mother and her 12 year old son, an on-going war in Iraq costing billions while nearly 50 million Americans don't have health insurance, the ever shrinking middle-class, etc....screw real life superheroes, I'm hoping for a real life Quinn Mallory so I can hitch a ride and SLYDE my ass out of Earth 3!

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 6:05 p.m. CST

    mirageman? what about Mercury man?

    by Stalkeye

    That was an nice ambitous superhero flick from thailand. (I think)and IAmMrMonkey! sorry to hear about your friend,but hey if Jodie Foster can shoot a bunch of thugs in the subway....*grin*

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 6:07 p.m. CST

    And where's the RE3 review?

    by Stalkeye

    Then again the movie was so fuckin bad,it's not worth AICN mentioning it.Well atleast for a laugh of two.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 6:22 p.m. CST

    Whine, whine, whine...

    by TheGhostWhoLurks

    War, genocide, and random murders have ALWAYS been with us... and likely always WILL. It's hardwired into the human condition, from cave to condo.<p>You can either accept that basic fact and still try to do some good in the world, or you can just sit on your rump and keep whining about it to anonymous people who really don't want to hear you complaining about stuff you're not willing to act upon yourself.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 6:42 p.m. CST

    Re: Monster and Mister Green

    by Chewbaccalypse Now

    Why do I gotta be the sidekick?!? Anyway, Green's point about joining police force is well taken. (Must be why I've been in the Military for the last 10 years) I am not the typical man boobed slob that was mentioned earlier. I've been trained to take life and I know I could without hesitation if my life or others were threatened. That being said, violence doesn't fix things in real life. I just gives birth to someone that wants revenge.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 7:53 p.m. CST

    Just have to deal with it

    by thevision

    The world is what we make of it and whining about it doesn't help- you're right. But whining is as much a part of the human condition as violence. We all have to do our part to make the world a better place and not go into the fetal position sucking on our thumbs.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 8:51 p.m. CST


    by messi

    what we need now is a real life Crisis on infinite cunts. feel like alexander luthor bringing back earth 2, or trying to anyway.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 8:52 p.m. CST


    by messi

    who says no one is doing anything about it? whining gets the information out. i mean a gang in ft. lauderdale sexually assaulting a mother and child, that's fucked up. where was this information put out?

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 9:15 p.m. CST

    So then what?

    by Chewbaccalypse Now

    So the information gets put out.... So what? People are so desensitized these days that no one cares enough to DO anything about it. Even if you could do something, what would you do? Go butt rape the gang in ft lauderdale? You couldn't take their life, that would be unbalanced. Yeah......I guess you'd have to butt rape 'em.

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 10:30 p.m. CST

    Re: Prometeo.

    by Gilkuliehe

    I hear you man. I'm Chilean too, so there. I saw the trailer for this movie and failed to see it as good as Harry claims. But I completely HATED Promedio Rojo, so it's not that weird a thing. Feliz cumpleaños, compañero.

  • Sept. 24, 2007, 10:15 a.m. CST

    Re: Gilkuliehe

    by Prometeo

    Great to know I'm not alone here, fighting the evil llamas at the plaza (also called 'güanacos'). After my post, I found and saw the trailer on You Tube, and indeed, I didn't see the freshness that Harry's saw either... In fact, I saw a couple of those commonplace soap opera actors once again, with their cheesy characterizations and flat performances.. even on a trailer! BUT, we have to agree that both those directors ar doing somewhat different stuff than the rest of them. At least, they're being honest with themselves; they've both made things that "talk to them", and while we might have liked them or not, it's -imho- better than filming some bloated novel of some local author, or taking some radio show to the big screen, or misinterpreting the "chilean liberalization" as a bunch of bad taste erotic scenes. They show love for the piece of subculture the show us, and give a damn if we like it, give them a price or anything. Give me honesty first... we'll build up from there... ¡Y gracias por el saludo, compatriota!

  • Sept. 28, 2007, 1:43 p.m. CST

    there are superheroes

    by ironic_name

    a step up from larpers. <P> <P> <P>

  • April 7, 2008, 3:35 p.m. CST

    ok, sucks, but it rulz 0_o

    by shapulin

    ok, I saw the trailers and the viral campaign, thre trailer wasnt impressive, I enjoy the viral campaign a lot more. But I go to the cinema and I hav to say that everybody cheers and clap at the end, I saw what Harry sees. was like the new comics book Kick-Ass.