Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Film Review: SALSA (1988, Boaz Davidson)

Stars: 5 of 5.
Running Time: 98 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Robby Rosa!
Tag-lines: "The Dirtiest Dancing Of Them All!"
Best one-liner: "Don't call me puta, cabrón!"

"You are the frame and I am the picture! Got it? Now let's dance!" Strap yourselves in folks, cause this is gonna be a bumpy night. Speaking of ALL ABOUT EVE, SALSA is so tinged with tight pantsed, big haired, sweaty, half-naked excess, that it makes that film look manlier than THE DIRTY DOZEN.

And our hero, (Menudo's own) Robby Rosa, makes Wham! seem straighter than, say, Robert Mitchum.

In the first 5 minutes, we have dance sequence with fan-blown hair, semi-nude men humping cars, well-oiled back-up dancers, spit-takes, and muscular dudes thrusting their crotches; a gratuitous shower scene that ends in a homoerotic reimagining of RISKY BUSINESS; and then, after all of that, we cut to MORE dancing, and this is just the first 5 minutes!

Later, tight jeans are spanked, a 'straight' man gives a belt to his best friend as a gift, a guy seduces a woman with the erotic power of a disco ball, a woman does a bullfight dance with a dude on a motorcycle, the line "I liked it mucho" is uttered, the dancing note "Open your legs....deeper!" is given (and taken!), there's cameos by Tito Puente and Michael Sembello (singer of "Maniac"), and all of this may or may not end with an endlessly pulsating group hug.


This is the sort of thing that Cannon Films was churning out in the 80's and early 90's (RAPPIN', BREAKIN', LAMBADA, THE APPLE, etc.), and this is why they were basically the greatest purveyor of popular culture to ever exist.

Alternate forms of percussion were a key visual trope in the films of Golan and Globus.

The plots were slight, the denouements were uplifting, the dancers were sweaty, and the music was rockin'. Golan and Globus, Cannon Films' Israeli handlers, continually navigated assorted genres and varied cultures, creating art that was simultaneously offensive, hilarious, and genuinely well-constructed. These guys basically went back to Israel circa 1994, and took with them the magical 80's aura that had enveloped lower-grade American cinema for the last decade. Look at the crap that came in their wake. Five stars. Here's to you, Menahem and Yoram (and Boaz)!

-Sean Gill

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"But boss, I'm gonna be the king of salsa!"

*enter stereotypical uptight and stern 80s boss*

"King of bullshit!"

Haha. I wonder if they had our perspective when they were making it, or if they were actually serious... Great stuff, but I'm not sure if I could stomach the entire film though.

P.S. As a side-note, my verification word for this comment is "spern". Coincidence?

-Dustin C.