The Lawless Land (1988)
Nomination Year: 2010
SYNOPSIS: This is Roger Corman's attempt at left-wing magic realism. Given that it's a Roger Corman movie, this means that it's almost entirely lacking in left-wing values, magic, or realism. Even the IMDB commenter who wrote the description (and loves the movie!) calls it "hard to enjoy at first." He's not kidding!
In the future, the economy has collapsed (note -- the collapsed economy is the only futuristic thing we see in this movie; it's distinguishable from a poor part of modern society only because the video box tells us it's the future), leaving a small town run by an exploitative corporation. When young worker Falco falls for and secretly marries the boss's daughter, the boss has him thrown in jail. The daughter flees, Falco escapes, the boss hires a hit man, and the chase is on. Although the word "chase" implies a level of action and excitement not to be found in this movie.
The left-wing sensibility is that all the workers are hispanic and the boss and other managers are anglos. From that and the plot, you might expect a workers' rights or social justice parable, but you don't get it. Once casting was over, they seem to have dropped the whole leftist social agenda idea. The magic comes from the fact that Falco can turn into a falcon, leaving his human body apparently dead. It's also helpful in that, if he leaps into the falcon right before his human body dies, he can survive to reoccupy his body later. This turns out to be a very useful power, because he dies a LOT. The realism... well, I think we've already discussed that.
- Worst Acting
Jsu Garcia as Falco.
Jsu Garcia plays Falco (in human form; the bird who plays him in falcon form is uncredited, although the superior actor). Here he gives a little speech about how "our life is at stake here." Well, your career, anyway.
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