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  Huracan Embrace The Violence
Year: 2019
Director: Cassius Corrigan
Stars: Cassius Corrigan, Yara Martinez, Jorge Masvidal, Camila Rodriguez, Steven Spence, Carlos Guerrero, Benhur Sito Barrero, Gregory Choplin, Xavier Cortes, Martin Fajardo, Wallace Jean, Samantha Lopez, Milena Rivero, Gley Viera
Genre: Drama, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Alonso Santos (Cassius Corrigan) has a big dream: to make a success of being a mixed martial artist, but he has found many barriers in his way to realising that. One of those has been this recent stint in prison, where he was examined and found to be suffering from a serious mental illness, and though he will not admit this, it's down to a childhood trauma involving his mother, who he idolised, and his father, who was very abusive to them both. But now he is out on probation, the authorities have given him a job in construction, and a therapist, Isabella Villalobos (Yara Martinez), who aims to set him back on the straight and narrow. However, things have a way of running away from Alonso, and with the threat of homelessness looming, the combat may not be enough to save him...

Miami native Corrigan had been in the movie business for a few years by this point, planning to manufacture his own big break by starring in a film that he wrote, produced and directed, a real one man show as far as getting Huracan made went, and testament to his own grit and determination. One of his motives was to tell a story of a Latino character that would not resort to cliché, and this tale managed to resist falling into the trap of many a MMA flick by basically rehashing Jean-Claude Van Damme's Kickboxer, mostly by not crafting a plot that was all about the violence in a competitive arena. He did this by offering his protagonist a backstory that was not what the usual audience would be anticipating from a movie about this type of fighter, however eccentric that was.

There was a strange mixture of the socially grim and believable to a degree, as if this was an issue picture, and the frankly extremely hard to believe, much of the latter thanks to one of the least convincing psychiatrists you would ever witness. Martinez was saddled with a character who is meant to be a professional, yet crying in her sessions with her patients was not her worst trait, how about inviting the plainly disturbed Alonso back to her home (where she lives alone!) when he approaches her on the street after semi-stalking her, taking pity on him and putting him up in her guest room, and allowing him to come onto her in an amorous way that she encourages then rebuffs. Corrigan was seemingly putting the audience on edge, for we have seen how savage Alonso can get, but if this was supposed to reassure the viewer about the danger levels of the mentally ill, it failed miserably.

Not only that, but this court-appointed therapist uses hypnosis (!) to get to the heart of Alonso's problems, despite his flashbacks being the trigger for his violent episodes: he basically becomes a murderer during the narrative, and we're meant to regard this as justified because the man he killed was a wife-beater like Alonso's father. It's at this point you realise Huracan was essentially a fantasy of redemption for a man who actually needed to be in a secure unit, or at least getting some proper medication and a psychiatrist who did not swallow the long-discredited multiple personality syndrome diagnosis. That he gets none of these by the end, but does get to be as violent as possible in the cage, speaks to some confusing messages, as most people would think a man prone to murderous rages is not best advised to turn to combat sports, but there could have been an observation about the sort of person attracted to them, though that appeared to be that they were off their rockers. Corrigan certainly cut an intimidating, charismatic dash, and you admired him for getting his movie off the ground, but Kickboxer had a more acceptable premise.

[HURACÁN is out in cinemas across the UK from Friday 23rd October.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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