A lot of people know I have traveled to a modest but still respectable amount of foreign countries, and hopefully once the pandemic ends, I will be able to continue traveling around. I have been to Chile on two occasions and would definitely go there again and again.
During my first trip, I saw posters in downtown Santiago promoting a comedy cop film called Fuerzas Especiales which is similar to those famous 1980's spoof comedy movies such as Police Academy or The Naked Gun. If you liked those movies, you will probably like this film as well. The fact that I dumped half of my popcorn on the floor after the movie ended is vivid proof I had a blast. I sort of feel glad the theater only had 1 person that didn't feel offended I was so annoying because I was likely laughing real loud.
Even though it was the sequel, the plot was very straightforward: Salinas and Freire are now best buddies and they have been promoted to the special forces. The problem is that, well... their rather "colorful" approach to policing is not well accepted among the clique.
I don't really get it. I think Salinas's idea of putting armor on a llama during a downtown Santiago protest in the first 10 minutes of the film was brilliant. As in pure comedy gold, haha.
The movie also delves into the romantic lives of our two heroes. Salinas is miserably oblivious to the fact the force's beautiful cop Vergara is crazy for him, whereas Freire's new girlfriend is both slightly closer to his age than his ex in movie 1, all around nice.... and just happens to be the single mom of a huge troublemaker child who hates Freire to the bone and will do any kind of mischief to get rid of him.
After Freire is wanted for a crime he didn't commit, the oddball team of heroes including the no nonsense Chief Oropeza and freshly minted officer Riquelme come to help clear the names of our friendly duo.
I would have thought such a movie would become a cultish hit in the US, particularly because the kind of slapstick humor in the film is so reminiscent of 80's satire films. No political agendas, just simple PG-13 rated fun.
While for some weird and rather unfair reason this movie was never released in cinemas in Mexico (I have no idea why if I believe a lot of families would have enjoyed watching it even if the Chilean accent is a bit hard to understand at times), sadly the English translated title is just... well... See for yourself:
I don't really understand the logic behind such an absurd title. The exact English translation should be "Special Forces". They could have simply tried to name the movie "Chilean Naked Gun" or "Chilean Special Forces", and it would have come out as something close to the original title without sounding condescending.
Yes, Mexico is a 3rd world country, 50% of the population earns less than 2000 USD a year and I have visited many houses in rural areas with dirt floors, don't have a toilet and much less a tank of potable water. Ironically houses without toilets have a good chance of having satellite tv but that is sort of offtopic. But despite that, the cities are actually quite developed, and nobody rides around with donkeys, not even in the villages where I have lived in for the past 10 years. People ride around villages in scooters or old tsurus.
Chile is actually quite a developed country. With a population of only 16 million people, half of which live in Santiago, rural areas always have well paved roads, lighting and toilets are pretty much everywhere. Chances are a rural town in Chile will have better facilities than a small midwest town of similar population in the US.
That isn't to say everything is peachy perfect in Chile, public college simply does not exist there so only kids born in wealthy families get college degrees which only further separates the haves and have nots. This ultimately affects the minority indigenous communities of the country that likely find it simply easier and affordable to go to college abroad. But insanely expensive colleges and horribly bad salaries for low skill labor in Santiago is a problem that affects the US as well. People also have to remember Chile has some amazingly skilled engineers. As a country that routinely gets 8.0 earthquakes pretty much every week, their building codes are probably one of the most stringent in the entire world and people over there don't even bat an eye when they get hit by their weekly 7.0 quake. I have been to the Atacama desert during one such quake and people were quite aloof about it. The US has tons of historic buildings that can crumble into pieces with 4.0 quakes. There is a reason why it took them forever to reinforce Washington DC's Capitol Hill. I actually saw the cracks on the marble when I went there in 2016. The quake that did so much damage was around 6.0.
I am not sure why Amazon Prime and Netflix removed this film from their selection. Either it was because nobody ever paid any attention to it, or the really awful English title was too distracting which only perpetuates the social stigma that every aspect of life in Latin America is backwards, primitive and all sorts of wrong when a lot of things in my neck of the woods are actually quite efficient. Chances are the pandemic will only further make processing things online such as loan repayments or petitioning passport renewals to become more and more efficient. Medical licenses even now are partially fast tracked online. Once the university gives the green light the student has passed all graduation requirements, the mexican government sends you an email that you are now allowed to pay the license fee and as if by magic, your digital pdf license is sent to you by email in less than 2 minutes.
It took me a whopping 5 days to go in person to the central offices 10 years ago and request a temporary license. Imagine how much more streamlined and efficient some of these processes will be in another 5 years. Hopefully greater sensitivity towards foreigners from thinking every corner of Latin America is riddled in poverty and backwardness will start to put some much needed breaks to pervasive bad stereotypes.
BTW, enjoy the film! Buenos días, buenas tardes everyone!