Director: Joe Menendez
Writer: JoJo Henrickson
Cinematographer: Adam Silver
Starring: Fernando Colunga, Miguel Varoni, Saul Lisazo, Ivonne Montero
Studio/Running Time: Lionsgate, 98 min.
“‘There must be some way out of here,’
Said the joker to the thief.”
Bob Dylan “All Along the Watchtower”
Fernando Colunga became a major telenovela star through his performances in miniseries televised in Mexico, many South American countries and the United States. So it is not entirely surprising that his first feature film aimed at a Spanish speaking U. S. audience would feel very similar. Unfortunately, the English subtitled Ladron que roba a ladron (translation: a thief who steals from a thief) also contains the weaknesses of those telenovelas. Namely, weak acting and poor dialogue.
Colunga plays a small-time con artist who, along with his partner (Miguel Varoni), plans to rob a big-time con-artist infomercial-tycoon, Moctesuma Valdez (Saul Lisazo), who has made millions selling worthless cure-alls to Latino immigrants. Enlisting help from a poor man’s Ocean’s Eleven crew, they work to extricate Valdez’s fortune from the heavily guarded vault at his estate.
Despite a unique twist on the Robin Hood tale, Ladron brings nothing refreshing to the table. The characters, such as a motherless tomboy mechanic being raised by her father, a computer nerd who infiltrates the security system and a muscle-bound construction worker, have all been seen before. And the rote dialogue is as predictable as the film’s ending. But I do have a new appreciation for all the non-English speaking audiences who have had to sit through the likes of Daddy Day Camp or Glitter while enduring the added torture of reading their subtitles.