La Metralleta

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“Mexploitation, let down by shoddily-staged action.”

Mexican culture is just so damned macho, there isn’t much room for action heroines, though there have been a few. As well as Santo and Blue Demon, The Wrestling Women donned the lucha masks in the sixties, and La Reina del Sur had a surprisingly feisty heroine for the telenovela genre; we’ve covered a couple of other entries previously, also covering life on the criminal side of the tracks.

However, this would be the first I’ve seen where the heroine is a Mexican policewoman. It’s Lt. Diana Gonzalez (Dosamentes), who is focusing her efforts on catching drug lord Constantino, and has had some success in disrupting his operations. He takes revenge by targetting Diana’s younger sister Sandra (Buitron), turning her into a junkie and eventually killing her, making it look like she was taking part in an S&M party. But far from taking the hint, this just causes Diana to become even more determined, and reckles – starting with the nightclub singer who got Sandra hooked, she works her way up the food chain from there.

Diana is knows as “La Metralleta”, which is Spanish for machine-gun, due to her weapon of choice – which, in a testament to lax Mexican gun-control regulations in the early nineties, she takes home after work, in what appears to be a shopping bag. The two things this has going for it are the script and the central performance. The story is nice and direct, and it seems appropriate that Constantino and his henchmen really don’t take Diana seriously until it’s too late. Dosamentes also does well with her role, and is nowhere near as matronly as the sleeve on the right would suggest, despite being in her forties. She has a steely intensity, especially after the death of her sister, that works nicely.

What doesn’t work? Sadly, the action is completely crap. Constantino’s men are from the Imperial Stormtrooper school of marksmanship, unable to hit La Metralleta, even when she’s basically standing in front of them with no protection at all. Worst yet are the woeful attempts at fisticuffs: wisely, the makers keep these to a minimum, but the couple of scenes where Dosamantes tries to go hand-to-hand are unutterably awful. It’s a shame, since I’d have been prepared to settle for mere competence on this front, because there’s enough going on elsewhere in this to keep your interest.

Dir: Roberto Schlosser
Star: Susana Dosamantes, Carlos Cardán, Juan Gallardo, Blanca Buitron

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