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Case Number 11939

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Matando Cabos

Lionsgate // 2004 // 99 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Dylan Charles (Retired) // August 24th, 2007

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All Rise...

From an early age, Judge Dylan Charles longed to be a Mexican wrestler. Unfortunately, he's deathly alergic to Lycra.

The Charge

Los Buenos. Los Malos. Y El Muerte?
The Good. The Bad. And the Dead?

Opening Statement

I have a problem. I have to review a movie that deals with criminal elements, multiple storylines, some nonlinear storytelling, unusual characters and a morbid sense of humor. This could potentially lead to multiple references to Pulp Fiction, something that I'm sure we'd all like to avoid. So let's try to get through this thing without mentioning, you know, it.

Facts of the Case

Jaque (Tony Dalton) has his girlfriend's father Cabos locked up in the trunk of his car. This, on its own, is a very bad position to be in. Add the fact that Cabos is a ruthless business man who has an uncontrollable temper and Jaque is in real trouble. His friend Mudo (Kristoff Raczynski) calls in Reuben (Joaquin Cosio) a former Mexican Wrestler and Tony "El Canibal" (Silverio Palacios) to help them figure out just what to do with Cabos. Hijinks ensue.

The Evidence

I have a big problem with Matando Cabos but we'll get to that in just a little bit.

If the above plot synopsis sounds a bit confusing, then you should see what I left out. Literally, you should watch the movie and see the bundle of storylines and characters that I neglected to mention. Alejandro Lozano's debut film has a veritable army of characters on-screen at any one time, most of them with a significant part to play in the story. But it never gets too confusing. If you were able to follow Snatch, Matando Cabos won't give you any problems.

But mostly we're following Jaque, Mudo and Reuben as they try and figure out what to do with Cabos. Dalton, Raczynski and Cosio work well together as they bounce around dealing with the multitude of problems that are thrown their way; whether it's dealing with Jaque's often whiny girlfriend Paulina (Ana Claudia Talancon) or a bunch of angry futboll players.

There's an underlying bleak thread of violence running throughout the film, which is mostly provided by Botcha (Raul Mendez), a man looking for revenge against Cabos. Fingers are removed and Mexican wrestling moves abound. But there's also a lot humor. Such as Reuben's drug induced hallucination in which he battles zombies while in full Mexican wrestler regalia. It all blends together into a cohesive and well-made black comedy.

But I have a problem with one character in particular. It's with Tony "El Canibal", the cannibal midget. He's not a midget. He's short, I'll give them that, but he's no midget. When I see the words "midget cannibal" on the back of the box, I expect to see that in the movie. Here's a fun fact: Midget cannibal is "un enano canibal" in Spanish.


There's also Paulina, Jaque's girlfriend, a character who didn't do much for me. She's supposed to be the reason why Jaque is going through all of this trouble in the first place, but every time we see her she's either complaining or looking irritable. Understandable given the circumstances, but it's hard to see why Jaque is sticking his neck out for her.

Lionsgate has dropped the ball here, with a complete and utter lack of extras. Unless you think that the fact that the menu is in both Spanish and English counts as an extra. The transfer is good, but it's also full screen. I'll give Lions Gate the benefit of the doubt here and blindly assume that Matando Cabos was simply filmed in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio.

Closing Statement

Alejandro Lozano has succeeded in putting together a movie that could very well have turned into a mess of loose ends and disjointed plot points. His darkly funny debut bodes well for his future career.

Shame on you Lionsgate. Shame on you.

The Verdict

Matando Cabos is guilty of mislabeling a very short man as a midget and raising this judge's hopes that he'd actually get to see a cannibal midget onscreen.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 90
Audio: 90
Extras: 0
Acting: 90
Story: 90
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Comedy
• Crime
• Drama
• Foreign

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

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