It's not fair that every superhero lives in New York, is it? People need rescuing the world over, right? Well, now Mirageman is here to fill that void in Chile.
Directed by Ernesto Diaz Espinoza, Mirageman is another entry in the "normal guy in the real world, inspired by comic books, puts on a mask and decides to fight crime" genre that we're getting more and more of these days. I've heard about a few other independent ones, but I suppose the most recognizable entry in the genre would be Kick Ass.
Mirageman is the story Marco (played by Marko Zaror), by day a lowly bouncer at a sleazy night club, who spends all of his spare time exercising and training in martial arts. You see, three years earlier, Marco's parents were murdered and little brother raped (!!!) and traumatized, now catatonic in a home. One night, a ski-masked Marco stops another home invasion and rescues Carol, a beautiful news reporter from certain rape (!!!). Carol thanks him publicly and calls him a hero. When he next visits the hospital, he finds that the news of this mysterious rape-preventing hero has brought his brother a little bit out of his shell, the first positive response in years. Inspired by this, Marco dons a costume and becomes Mirageman.
Visually, the movie is as gritty and down to earth as the silly subject matter allows. It has a near documentary style, and relies heavily on news reports to fill out the narrative. In fact, the anchors and reporters often give Mirageman advice on what he should and shouldn't do, and even downright manipulate him for their own gain.
Though Mirageman strives for a certain kind of realism, at the same time, it doesn't take itself too seriously. There's a great deal of comedy mixed in with the violence and awesome martial arts. Marco's trial and error attempts at superheroics offer a lot of laughs, poking fun at comic book nonsense, such as the length of time and difficulty one would actually encounter when trying to change into costume while a crime is in progress. He also has a hilarious sidekick figure, who goes by the name "Pseudo Robin", who is not much of a fighter, but all heart, and he has an extra motorcycle.
Mirageman has some fun with the audience, undercutting our expectations at times. At first, it seems like a typical martial arts movie is happening, where every opponent he faces, every gang of crooks, appears to be a martial arts master himself. But then, when Mirageman attempts to bust his Holy Grail, an evil pedophile child trafficking ring, he realizes how out of his element he is when facing people carrying guns.
Marko Zaror is awesome as Mirageman. It's hard to say how good he is with dialogue, as he only had a few lines in the whole movie. His actions speak for him, and he's a killer martial artist. Ernesto Diaz Espinoza and Marko Zaror have made two more movies together, and I believe I'm going to have to watch those as well.
Mirageman was one of those movies that I knew next to nothing about and had no expectations for. I was very pleased with what I got. It is action-packed, funny, self aware, and a little bit cheesy, all in all a movie worth geeking out over.
Check it out! It's on Netflix Instant if you're in America.