4 May 2018 | js-66130
Life is tough for a down on his luck Mexican wrestling masked hero. Crime fighting doesn't really pay, so El Monstruo is relegated to thug duty. The conflicted good guy is a complex character, eager to carry on his family tradition (daddy was a famous luchador), but with a baby on the way, he stoops to henchman duties for local crime boss Teddy to pay the bills, usually with uncontrollably violent results.
That's plenty for plot, but this film throws in a heaping helping of parallel story lines for a rather convoluted viewing experience. Major events are replayed through different characters, and alternate angles, resulting in some much needed clarity, as everything comes together nicely, and not so nicely in the end.
The very seedy side of L.A. is the backdrop here, where illegals are funnelled towards horrific futures as prostitutes, or donors for a lucrative organ harvesting operation, or both. Grisly, old school gore movies are referenced as is some of Tarantino's spicier moments, but "Lowlife" works best on it's own originality: tackling very big global topics with local struggles.
"Lowlife" struggles from the usual low budget issues, mainly uneven performances - Teddy is too wooden - but the clever, spiderweb tale, wild sequences, and quirky characters make up for it: here's a newly released convict with a full face Swastika tattoo, who is refreshingly likeable. No, really.