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Great Movies Guys Won't Never See -- VATOS LOCOS
One of the great cinematic injustices was what occurred following the completion of the epic "Blood In Blood Out" (1993).
I refer you to Sylvester Stallone and Al Pacino to illustrate my point,
Sly Stallone's work as a whole is pretty much what keeps Chuck Norris up at night. This could have been his life.
Demolition Man of course is the exception. And Wesley Snipes was the shit.
And now onto Al Pacino -- who ended up saving Adam Sandler's second to last film "Jack And Jill", where Katie Holmes looks so f*cking good. Rotten Tomatoes has given "Jack and Jill" a 0 percent. It wasn't that bad. BECAUSE of Al Pacino. And Katie Holmes looking good.
But...clearly we have a man who doesn't discriminate well when it comes to scripts.
When a movie features Al Pacino, and it's not Scarface or Serpico or Godfather Part II, it blows. Maybe you're a Pacino fan and you're cool, but the Pacino fans I know are all dick-margins. Heat was stupid and so was Scent of a Woman. What a stupid title to begin with -- Scent of a Woman. And oh do I love this blind idiot's soul-searching monologues about life and love. Gag me with a ping pong ball at my frat house already. Yes I know that to diss Al Pacino's films to some of you is tantamount to knocking down big skyscrapers with commercial planes, but it's just been my experience that when a Pacino fan isn't talking about Scent of a Woman, he's talking about Kony.
Has Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino or Paul Thomas Anderson or Larry Clark or Stanley Kubrick or Kevin Smith ever had Al Pacino in their movies? Exactly.
Yet Pacino and Stallone continue to get not only work, but sequels. To everything. Even the Expendables is about to see a sequel.
Meanwhile the one film that was all set up for a sequel, the first three hour film to ever be instantaneously watchable in one single sitting...Blood In Blood Out...was released in late 1993 on a budget of 50 million dollars and...wanna know how much it made at the box office? Five million. That's right. This film, this epic, this saga of Mexican gangsters, poets and action stars...lost 90 percent of it's budget.
Because of that, the story of real-life half-white, half-Chicano gangster Pegleg Morgan, as portrayed loosely in Blood In Blood Out by Damien Chapa's Miklo Velka...was left hanging. It's damn near impossible to explain to my friends why Miklo achieved his dreams in this film, why it matters so much. For all they have to say in response is -- so uh...he gets no pussy? He's behind bars forever?
Because it was only supposed to be part one.
And so Damien Chapa, in 2011, took it upon himself to write, produce and direct a 75-minute film called "Vatos Locos", available on youtube, which for all intents and purposes is the long awaited Blood In Blood Out Part II. And it's better than that...because since he doesn't have the movie rights to the original, that means he's been relieved of the burden of having to pick up right where the original left off. He doesn't have to explain how Miklo ended up free. Instead of Miklo, his character in Vatos Locos is a half-Mexican half-Irish gangster named Mickey Solice.
It's an alternate universe where Miklo aged from 1984 on, now in his late forties, the survivor of a gunshot wound to the eye, a tattooed teardrop underneath the other one, more females than you can count, and an entire army of gangsters at his disposal of all ages. His real life son Ricco Chapa plays the protagonist. Imagine what it must be like to be Ricco Chapa. Normally you're born into a family with either no dad, one who hides from your mom, or one who wakes you up on Saturday and goes "are you crazy?! It's 9:30 A.M.! GET THE F-UCK UP!!!!!!!" Ricco Chapa meanwhile...
This movie by the way is VIOLENT. Extremely violent. And the violence...ladies and gentlemen...is necessary. It contains all the violence that the scenarios of Blood In Blood Out lacked but created. It's the aftermath. Blood In Blood Out was the hotel party where everyone's high and horny. Vatos Locos is the hangover, the vomiting, the pregnancy test, and the lengthy bill. Vatos Locos is more violent than a movie called "Kill Bill Volume 1" where even when nobody was messing with Uma Thurman or fighting, the simple act of climbing out of a hospital bed...PLOP...was violent.
The film starts in 1998, East Los Angeles. The Vatos Locos are having problems with these new arrivals, the Chinese Triad. They try to rip them off by delivering them 10 kilos of cocaine with a portion of it being sugar. The Triad figures this out, shoot at the dealers, but miss one. That one guy they failed to gun down has two kids at home who he now has to say goodbye to as he skips town -- the younger one is Esteban, who he is relying on to be the new leader of the household though he's younger. "Why not me?" the older one asked. "Because he's smart. He's gonna be the next president." He turns back to Esteban. "Watch this." Back to the older one. "What's 9 times 3?" The older kid proceeds to look at his fingers. Dad scoffs and turns back to Esteban. "See? He's counting."
Their mom is a nutbag and an alcoholic and says she's gonna call the f*cking po-LEEEECE they're COM-MMMMMING vendajo...
Dad doesn't go far before he's gunned down by the Triad.
Meanwhile comes an incident at school that sets little Esteban on the path of criminal lore. A white kid shoves him down, calls him a wetback, and goes off before the teacher sees. Esteban has a plan for revenge. He's going to go and pay this tough Guatemalan kid to beat his ass, and to make the money? He's going to take bets on the fight...and sell shots of his mom's stolen liquor AT the fight for the spectators. Like concessions.
Smart he most certainly is.
Yet he's caught by local officers.
It's at this point that we meet Mickey Solice, who's busy hanging outside the grade school with some members of his crew as he waits to pick up his adopted daughter. She's distressed because Esteban's just been busted. Solice goes up to the officer and pays him to look the other way, let the kid go. He tells young Esteban that he's impressed with him and to come to him if he needs anything.
As the boys walk home, and the older brother whines that they have nobody, little Esteban smiles and says "Not true. We got God, Jesus, Maria...and Mickey Solice"
Cut to twelve years later. Esteban and his brother work day jobs at the grocery store that Solice uses as a front and a meeting place. They're often late, and Solice always blames the older brother. He's slowing this genius Esteban down and he's been doing it all his life, he says in so many words.
Solice's daughter has grown up to be FINE. Both boys like her but she only likes Esteban. It's a weird scene when Mickey, in praise of Esteban's handling of a crooked cop trying to extort them, then changes his tone almost completely once Esteban so much as mentions Graciella (his daughter). We see what looks like Chapa just kissing his son's ass...and then moments later...a hand across the neck and a stern unmistakable warning that he's not touching Graciella unless he intends to marry her. And the way to get his blessing -- show me you can handle the "chinks".
"I don't want to go down there and splatter blood all over their egg rolls or that...chow ming chow main what the f-ck is that s-hit holmes? So that's why I'm sending you down there".
Esteban will get to prove his meddle if he can survive threatening these guys.
The idea is that these guys can have territory that Mickey designates AND they have to buy all their stuff from HIS distributors. The Triads think that's funny -- last time we did business with a Mexican we were snorting sugar. And now, basically, we're going to be your sweatshop workers. In charge of selling all the stuff that you can't push off on your normal hookups.
It's revealed during this meeting that they're the assassins of their father. Mickey is impressed with how he handles himself. Meanwhile it's Esteban's older brother who's the one who really messes people up with fists and guns and bats.
The quarrel starts here. See it through the eyes of the older brother, everything I just said in the last paragraphs. Your father's killer brags to you he did it, and in order to screw the girl you're in love with, your brother calmly regards him as an instrument of the greater business plan and launches no revenge mission.
Guess who the Triads will have as an ally to go after Mickey and Esteban in no time?
There's also this kick ass scene where Mickey's playing Russian Roulette ala Denzel Washington in Malcolm X (1992). It was quite a scene.
And the crooked cop, for simply existing, gets his legs chainsawed off.
And Esteban is a hell of a shot.
Needless to say, at only 75 minutes, Menace II Society has been topped, replaced, discarded.
Goodfellas and Blood In Blood Out remain in the tournament, and though it stars Al Pacino, so does Scarface.