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Fists of Netflix: Mandrill

Welcome to another episode of Fists of Netflix, the (mostly) weekly blog post where we take a look at the plethora of martial arts movies offered by everyone's favorite movie-streaming service, Netflix. Each week we try to select one, give it a viewing, and let you know whether you should rush it to the top of your movie queue or avoid it like a sweep kick to the leg. Continue reading to find out whether this week's selection is the former or the latter.

Today's Fists of Netflix pick: Mandrill, R, 2009 (90 min)

Revenge never looked so suave.
The Plot:

After witnessing the murder of his parents as a young boy, Antonio is raised by his caring Uncle Chone. Raised to believe that his father was a man similar to John Colt, a television action hero whose skill in combat is matched only by his skill with women, it isn't long before Antonio decides to follow in his father's footsteps.

Training himself in martial arts and firearms, Antonio becomes super-assassin Mandrill, targeting his parent's killers while building a strong reputation for himself. Things of course become just a little complicated once Mandrill finds himself falling in love with the daughter of his newest target. Will Mandrill be able to forgo revenge for the sake of love, or will he achieve his lifelong goal at the cost of happiness?

You'll have to tune in to find out, but either way, there's going to be some guys getting kicked in the face!

Behind those glasses is another pair of glasses.

The Styles:

Being that Marko Zaror has been training in both taekwondo and kickboxing since the age of six, you can bet you'll see some fancy footwork during the fight scenes. Oh, and did we mention he has a black belt in judo too?

  • Taekwondo - The chilean-born actor may have gotten his start as a stuntman, but his real talent lies in his aerial kicks. Awesome, awesome stuff.

  • Judo - The various transitions to judo groundwork were one of the many smile-inducing moments revealed in this martial arts movie.

Why, oh why, did I throw my banana peel THERE?!

Scenes To Jump To

Just looking to skip to the good stuff? It's okay, we've got you covered. Below you'll find a rundown of the juiciest fight scenes as well as where in the movie they can be found. Sometimes you don't have time for story, right?

  • 0:05 - So far so good. Mandrill takes out a couple of bad guys with a well placed kick. Impressive.

  • 0:12 - For our first big match up we have super assassin Mandrill taking on an older, balder assassin. It's a decent showdown that sets the tone for some of the fights to come. Most noticeably, the lack of ambient soundtrack noise that so many Hollywood-trained viewers are used to hearing. The surprisingly quiet fight scenes (most likely due in part to the film's modest 1,000,000 dollar budget) create a unique intimacy between the combatants as you realize you are watching two guys duke it out.

  • 0:27 - A brief but action-filled chase scene that culminates in a great showdown between Mandrill and an unnamed assailant in a suit. The highlight is one of the aforementioned moments of taekwondo acrobatics melting into judo groundwork that any martial artist should be able to appreciate.

  • 0:58 - A quick escape sequence involving more jaw-dropping flying kicks and some painful looking stairway brawls.

  • 1:11 - What is pretty much the film's last big fight scene involving more of that awesome hybrid taekwondo and judo choreography. Here Mandril takes on not one but three villains who don't exactly fight fair as they look to bring down our beloved Don Juan of danger.

  • Is this how you train your TKD kicking?

    Final Thoughts

    As a martial arts film, the action in Mandrill can seem a little sparse at moments. It spends more time on characterization and relationship building than some action movie fans may be used to. This is by no means a bad thing! This is a great little movie that offers something for everyone.

    Fans of film will be able to appreciate the creative approach to the tone of Mandrill as it successfully balances the fine lines between parody and farce to create a truly unique story. One of the most welcome surprises actually comes from watching Antonio handle the major relationships in his life. The relationship between a budding Mandrill and his Uncle Chone is handled with particular care, allowing a refreshing bit of heart to shine through its rough exterior.

    Of course, none of this is meant to weaken the martial arts to be found in Mandrill. Marko Zuror is a delight to watch, never ceasing to amaze with his acrobatic prowess. The fight scenes are well handled and provide a strong look at a quickly rising star in the martial arts sphere. With a handful of movies under his belt and more in the works (including the role of a villainous sidekick in the upcoming Machete sequel), we're positive this isn't last we've seen of Marko's fancy footwork. Whether you're in the mood for a quirky action film (think James Bond meets your favorite seventies cop television show) or some awesome martial arts fights, Mandrill deserves a viewing during your next movie night.

    Final Score:

    Queue It Up!

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