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New martial arts sensation and Stuntman of the Year award winner Marko Zaror, 'The Latin Dragon,' stars as Zamir, leader of a gang of street thugs known as the Kiltros. Zamir is ultimately drawn into a climactic battle to protect and honor the people he loves.
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The story: Zamir (Zaror, Mirageman,Chinango) is a troubled neighborhood tuff who has the hots for Kim - a Korean girl he rescued from assault (Caterina Jadresic). When a mysterious, revenge-seeking assassin (Miguel De Luca) arrives in town and attacks the tae kwon do school of Kim's father, Zamir is nearly beaten to death but rescued by a mystic sect that will not only reveal to him the dark connections between the assassin, Kim's father (Man Soo Yoon), and himself, but also train him in the world of martial arts to redeem himself.
Let's make it clear, first and foremost, that Marko Zaror truly is a rising star: a former stuntman and champion of karate and tae kwon do, he certainly has the moves that make him stand out from pack. Comparable to Tony Jaa, he's big on flips and spin kicks, capable of delivering multiple blows in a single leap, and incorporates some wrestling moves for a power effect. A wise old teacher in the movie (played by Chilean TV veteran Alejandro Castillo) instructs him "Your leg should move as naturally as your eyelids", and Zaror achieves this effect without the use of wires, CGI, or the speeding up of footage. With that said, there is not nearly enough fighting in the movie: four hand-to-hand scenes may sound like average, but when they're either very short or feature lengthy pauses inbetween the action, it seems like a lot less. The best encounter is definitely between Zaror and about twenty of the assassin's henchmen, but this sadly also showcases the film's lazy use of CGI blood spurts, which are unrealistic enough to make you pause the film and wonder what in the world you're watching.
Being both a throwback to the corny-yet-entertaining era of action's heyday and a film in which three of its stars have never acted before, the thematic aspects are along the lines of what you'd expect from a dumb action movie but passable nonetheless, with a few scenes involving Zamir, his mother, and Kim showcasing at least some dramatic know-how. Sadly, this is undermined by a seemingly endless supply of boring flashbacks that aid the telling of a story that you could've figured out by yourself. Most damning, however, is that the movie just isn't as interesting as the filmmakers wanted it to be: you've got a hero wearing facepaint and blades on his heels, a villain wielding a deadly clawed cane/sword, a mysterious sect, a hot girl, torture via wire suspension, Bruce Lee-inspired training sessions, and a dwarf master called Nik Nak...yet not only does it not all come together seamlessly, but it regularly forgets whether it wants to be serious or tongue-in-cheek. You could've turned the cane into a lollipop, the sect into a catering service, the hot girl into your mother, and the dwarf into a skinny giant, and the movie would probably be pretty much the same because it fails to take full advantage of all of these cool little aspects; I ended up feeling that it could've all been a lot, lot cooler.
Still, Marko Zaror is still with us, and that's what counts as long as he fulfills his potential as one of the most able-bodied men in action cinema today. If you're a diehard fan of this man the movie world barely knows, give "Kiltro" a buy...but otherwise just watch the fight scenes online and thereby see the best that the film has to offer.
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