Carlos (2010)



Plot Summary: Over the course of two decades, an elusive Venezuelan terrorist carries out devastating acts of politically motivated violence.

Cast: Édgar RamírezAlexander ScheerAlejandro ArroyoFadi Abi SamraAhmad Kaabour; Talal El-Jordi

Serious Jest: animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd)animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd)animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd)animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd) (Queue It) The life of Ilich Ramírez Sánchez is extremely interesting in its own right, but the success of this project really depended upon Édgar Ramírez, who rose to the occasion in a remarkable way. Through him, the viewer can see the charismatic, ambitious, inspiring, fiery, driven, obsessed, aggressive, narcissistic, lecherous, hot-tempered, morally and ethically flexible person behind the notorious and fearsome reputation of Carlos the Jackal. One also gains pretty good insight into some of what drives, and the development of, revolutionaries, insurgents, terrorists, etc., and this series begs the question of where the line between those different classifications lies.  The project also calls out how instrumental governments have been in the success of these non-state combatants, and the ensuing hypocrisy of such governments in denouncing these individuals once their services lose enough value. Additionally, viewers can appreciate a fascinating account of the development of the Cold War from the perspective of its “front-lines” fighters and in constantly shifting international settings. In sum, this is a brilliant series about fascinating people and subjects, brought to life by excellent actors.


Battle Royale II (2003)

(NR) 134 mins

(NR) 134 mins

Plot Summary: Three years after the failure of the last BR program, a second act is forged and a class of students are sent to an island with one objective: kill international terrorist Shuya Nanahara.

Directors: Kenta Fukasaku, Kinji Fukasaku

Writers: Kenta Fukasaku, Norio KidaKoushun Takami (characters)

Stars: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Ai Maeda, Shûgo Oshinari

Serious Jest: animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd)animated beer mug 25% (transparent bkgrd) (Don’t Bother)  It’s as if this movie was written by a child: a plot by the World’s adults to get the World’s kids to kill each other; the ease with which anybody can pick up an assault rifle with a grenade-launcher attachment and instantly know how to operate it like a trained pro; the melodramatic speeches against The Man; and the awkward romantic moments inappropriately scattered throughout non-stop violent war.  The action is consistent, though, and Fujiwara does a great job of playing a very different role, now that his character has done a 180 after years on the run with insurgents.  Still, unless you’re a child, or the novelty of 9th-graders murdering each other is enough to get you geeked about this flick–and then you’ve got other issues, freak–hold off until the next installment of The Hunger Games.

Operacion Sodoma: la caida del Mono Jojoy (2011)

(PG-13) 44 mins

Watch it for free at Hulu via IMDB!

Plot Summary: This documentary narrates every second of one of the boldest special operations missions in the last ten years.

Director: Jaime Escallon-Buraglia

Serious Jest:  (Must See)  I’m sorry, my non-Spanish speakers, but this gem  is completely in Spanish.  It is distributed by Discovery Latin America/Iberia, though, so I hope that there’s an English version released in the future.  The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) held as much as 40% of Columbia’s territory (mostly jungle and mountainous areas) at one point, expelling and repelling Columbia’s military and police.

FARC employs the drug trade, robbery, kidnapping, and preteen soldiers as heinous means to its professed noble ends of protecting the poor, agrarian class against wealthy imperialists.  A debate exists among nations as to whether FARC is actually a terrorist organization (this is the position of the United States, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, and the European Union), or a legitimate army (Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, and Brazil support this view).  This film does not focus on any of that.

Instead, it zeroes in on what it took for Columbia to hunt down FARC’s incredibly elusive leader…and this guy wasn’t hiding in a cave somewhere across the world…he was operating openly within Columbia’s borders!  Forget the politics for a second.  From a military standpoint, this was fascinating.

If you don’t speak Spanish, get one of your Spanish-speaking friends to narrate for you a bit.  It wouldn’t take much…the footage is pretty awesome.  Or leave a comment on Discovery en Espanol’s Operacion Sodoma page asking them to distribute it in English.