21 August 2004 | dinky-4
"Midnight Express" for teenyboppers
This movie's more than 20 years old and yet no one, as yet, has offered any comments on it, so here goes ...
Although it has the superficial quality and low-budget look of a straight-to-video feature, "El Diablo" offers an hour-and-a-half of time-killing entertainment for the undemanding and easily-pleased. Its plot vaguely calls to mind "Midnight Express" since it involves a young American male thrown into a brutal foreign prison, but the treatment has a light "Beach Party" touch befitting its youthful cast of blond and bland Californians. These cast members get to indulge in surfboarding, in-line skating, motorbiking, skateboarding, and windsurfing, and there are a number of comedy scenes mixed in with scenes of Timothy Van Patten being beaten up in prison by a sadistic guard. The results are never very convincing but the movie makes no demands on its audience and is content to be seen and then forgotten.
"El Diablo" gives Ethan Wayne (John's son) his first adult role though "adult" may not be an accurate term. He plays one of those "mysterious strangers" who comes to the aid of Jimmy McNichol but his character is poorly developed and his tough-guy actions are unpersuasive. (Seeing him and McNichol fight off a gang of thugs borders on the laughable.) Wayne, does, however, offer a bit of "beefcake" for those looking for some youthful "eye-candy."
The Mexican Tourist Bureau will be understandably displeased with this movie's patronizing stereotypes.