Drive-In Dive In: Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman

Posted: April 25, 2015 in Action, Drive In, Foreign, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , ,

MV5BMTM1MDI5NDIzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTE2Nzk1OA@@._V1__SX1202_SY828_Is there such a thing as rational nostalgia?

Can a romantic longing for missing elements of the past be justified analytically?

In the rush to a streamlined, sensible, efficient 6G, fully digital world, have we left behind essential naugahyde elements of the old, analog neighborhoods?

Damn it, wouldn’t life be better if we still had drive-in movie theaters?

Of course, there are a few scattered across the country, much as there are a few genuine railroad car diners, whose preservation is assured by their relative uniqueness, but the heyday for drive-ins is well past. There will be no more dusk-to-dawn motorcycle movie marathons on Labor Day weekend to mark the end of summer. Triple feature horror flicks with headliners such as They Came From Within aren’t coming back.

Yes, we have the near-instant gratification of iTunes, Amazon Prime, and Video on Demand, but they are poor substitutes for the big, white warehouse-sized screen with the playground in front. By the time the third feature came on the screen, your Ford Falcon would be filled with empty beer cars and regrets from once again eating the pizza from the snack bar. Still, you came back every weekend until you didn’t, until it was easier and better to stay on the couch. And then, as was the case with bowling alleys and slot car tracks, the lights went out.

We may not have many drive-ins, but there is no shortage of drive-in movies, and that is the foundation for the argument that nostalgia for the old open air theaters is, in fact, rational. The film may be the same, but robbed of the proper setting to view it, the experience suffers. (Note: For those who grew up in Northeastern cities, please feel free to replace “drive-in” with “grindhouse.”)

Case in point is the nifty little piece of Latin exploitation titled Tráiganme la cabeza de la muter metralleta, which works equally well in English as Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman. This small, 73-minute gem from Chile is a straight-up homage to the old days, beginning with a fabulous handle that is a shout out to the 1974 Sam Peckinpah cult masterpiece Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.

Director/writer Ernesto Díaz Espinoza succeeds where Tarantino and Rodriguez stumbled. Their efforts in Grindhouse were overly self-conscious and too clever by half. It was style without soul. Espinoza taps into the subversive absurdity that is an earmark of the genre. Put this on along with the 2011 Hobo with a Shotgun, sit in your car in the driveway and watch it through the window as you work your through a six pack of National Bohemian for the ultimate Friday Night Flashback.

It all starts with Fernanda Urrejola as La Mujer Metralleta, a tall, tangy mojito of a hit man with platform boots, fishnet stockings, and a leather bustier. She packs pistols and rifles, and an ass that never quits. The chief problem with Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman is that we simply don’t get enough of her. After a whiz bang opening with a shoot out in a convenience store, the story skips to our plaintive hero, the video game playing, DJ wannabe, Santiago Fernández (Matías Oviedo), who works for a gangster that used to date the Machine Gun Woman before a bad break-up that left them wanting to kill each other, (which is generally the case with all bad break-ups).

Espinoza uses the structure of a video game with missions and point totals flashing on the screen along with the value of the criminal characters. Hey, for the most part, it works. The dubbing is distracting and terrible and, somehow, that makes it all the more authentic. Seen almost exclusively in film festivals before landing on DVD and on demand, Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman arrived 30 years too late.

But better late than never.

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