When I first saw a commercial for Ben Hernandez Bray’s El Chicano I was thinking to myself that maybe Latinos would be getting a superhero they could call their own, in the same way African-Americans led the way in making Black Panther (2018) into something greater than his comic book origins.
Now maybe that’s too high a standard to hold any movie to, though Hispanic culture spans continents and it wouldn’t be a bad thing to see other ethnicities receive such recognition.
Unfortunately El Chicano isn’t that movie.
Which is a pity because the story – written by Hernandez Bray and Joe Carnahan – at times appears to head in that particular direction, particularly when an old man who knows way too much to not have been El Chicano is explaining to Detective Diego Hernandez (Raul Castillo) about the mysterious vigilante (I’m unsure if the movie was implying that very thing or it was just some really sloppily assembled expository dialog).
Though what’s particularly interesting – and not in a good way – is that Ben Hernandez Bray has done stunt work for over 120 movies, yet too many stunts in this movie that come off half-baked (though to be fair that’s sometimes due to the editing, which feels a bit choppy and not at all geared toward the stunt work, which typically needs some sense of flow and continuity).
And that’s a pity because there’s a really taut action drama straining to get out of El Chicano.