Best of the Fest: Mandrill at AIFF

Video store schlock-influenced

Quentin Tarantino

has gone on to influence countless young American filmmakers, but who knew his reach extended to Chile?

Ernesto Díaz Espinoza

, all of 32, minds his P's and Q with


, a Spanish-language, revenge-exploitation flick presented tonight at the inaugural Anaheim International Film Festival (AIFF).

Mandrill (heh-heh) is loaded with guns, disco, casino action, babes in bikinis, hot sports cars, rising body counts, tae kwon do moves, an evil one-eyed villain, a fake '70s TV action hero, movie gun silencer "dwoot-dwoot" sounds, a score worthy of a Bond flick and a handsome leading man at the center of it all.

Best of the Fest: Mandrill at AIFF

He would be

Marko Zaror

, a karate/tae kwon do black belt who plays the titular assassin, choreographed the fight scenes and previously teamed with Diaz on


n (2007). The cameras can't get enough of Zaror, whether

The Rock

's stunt double in

The Rundown

is dispensing with a platoon of henchmen, delivering

Clint Eastwood

-worthy one liners behind dark shades or dancing for his target's daughter, who he has fallen for. Hard.

She would be Celine Reymond, a dark-haired beauty with an icy stare best known from Chilean television. It's easy to see why Mandrill falls for Reymond's Dominic, but the actress obviously has a ball with the turn her character takes in the third act.

If Zaror, the plot, the music, the look of Mandrill and flashbacks to the assassin-molding "John Colt" fictional American television series do not drive home the point that this movie loves the '70s more than I Love the '70s, there is also Mandrill's "Tio Chone," played by veteran actor Alejandro Castillo, who oozes gold chain/tight slacks/Aqua Velva-cool as teen Mandrill's coach with ladies.

Q would approve.

Mandrill screens at 10:30 tonight (also 4:30 p.m. Sunday) with The Little Dragon, Swiss director Bruno Collet eight-minute short about Bruce Lee's soul being reincarnated in a little rubber doll.

Best of the Fest: Mandrill at AIFF

Also recommended (barely):

Broken Springs: Shine of the Undead Zombie Bastards


Neeley Lawson

's homage of sorts to other no-budget zombie flicks has just enough humor and ironic stereotypes to make up for the poor acting, bad lighting and


build up to the inevitable conclusion. Don't bring the kids; there are enough scary ones on screen.

Broken Springs: Shine of the Undead Zombie Bastards screens at 10:30 tonight (also 7 p.m. Saturday) with Clean Carousel, Danish director Andreas Bodker's short short about the forces of nature working against a dedicated man trying to clean a carousel for children.

Not recommended (barely): American Bully, a brutal drama about a day in the life of high school teens led by a gung-ho, anti-immigrant senior bound for Marines, starts well. But things spiral so out of control that it's as if writers Zak Meyers and Dave Rodriguez, who also directs, wrote themselves into a corner and decided the only way out was to go with an over-the-top ending. Wrong choice.

American Bully screens at 7 tonight (and 1 p.m. Saturday).

Anaheim International Film Festival at UltraStar Cinemas at GardenWalk, 321 W. Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 399-0300; Through Sunday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. General screenings, $5-$10; special screenings, $12; all-day pass, $15-$30. Master classes, workshops and panels, $10-$25 each. Awards presentation in Sequoia Ballroom at Grand Californian Hotel, 1600 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim. Oct. 16, 5 p.m.; VIP World of Color show at California Adventure, $150 (space limited). Closing festivities at GardenWalk (gala, screening, after-party), Oct. 17, 5 p.m. $10-$50; all-access pass, $350.


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