JESUS SHOWS YOU THE WAY TO THE HIGHWAY
(director/writer: Miguel Llanso; cinematographers: Michael Babinec, Erik Pollumaa & Israel Seoane; editor: Velasco Broca; music: Atomizador, Bill Dixon, Grosgoroth & Muletrain; cast: Daniel Tadesse (Agent D.T. Gagano), Agustin Mateo (Palmer Eldritch/Batfro), Guillermo Llanso (Stalin/Roy Mascarone/Agent D.T. Gagano (Cartoon Version/Stalin’s Assistant), Solomon Tashe (Batfro), Gerda-Anette Allikas (Malin), Lauri Lagle (Commandant Alfons Rebane), Carlo Pironti (Mr. Sophistication), Iveta Pole (CIA Professor), Aris Rozentals (Jiminy Cricket); Runtime: 81; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Mesereta Argaw, Miguel Llanso, Liis Nimik, Israel Seoane, Sergio Uguet de Resayre; Arrow Video; 2019-Spain-Estonia-Ethiopia-Latvia-Romania-in Eng;ish)
“1970s kung-fu styled absurdist spy-type of film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The second feature of Spanish director Miguel Llanso (“Crumbs”), a Madrid professor, is this gonzo, no-budget, rather cheesy type of 1970s kung-fu styled absurdist spy-type of film (it’s billed as “a WTF thriller”).
There’s fighting over a cyber war in the year 2043.
CIA agents Palmer Eldritch (Augustín Mateo) and DT Gagano (Daniel Tadesse) are partners assigned by their bosses to be guinea pigs for a new alternate future government program run by scientist. In the near future, at the city of Tallinn, Estonia, they must enter the CIA computer program Psychobook, under attack from a rogue virus known as the Soviet Union, and they must destroy it. An avatar in a Stalin mask represents the enemy, as the CIA agents enter the VR (Virtual Reality) simulation and are wearing animated George Bush Sr., Robert Redford and Richard Pryor masks. It should be noted that as homage to a famous mystery author, CIA agent Palmer Eldritch is named after the hero of Philip K. Dick’s novel The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.
The film’s hero is Gagno, the hunchbacked dwarf CIA agent, who hopes to return quickly from his mission to be with his Amazon-like German wife Malin (Gerda-Annette Allikas) before opening-up with Malin a pizzeria/tae kwon do (kickboxing) studio. Gagno wants this to be his last CIA job.
Inside the VR, reality begins to unravel and things seem unclear to the CIA boys. Palmer bails on our boy, who gets trapped inside when going into a coma.
The story has no clear logic (it has Gatano escaping his fate when he meets at the bottom level of the VR a man-fly, who is actually Jesus, The man-fly flies him out of there onto where he can get to safety on the highway. This climax left me dealing with the story’s weirdness.
The tacky exploitation adventure pic is good for a few cheap laughs with its cute gags, fantastic superhero fights, silly costumes and juvenile jokes. Some of its giddiness connects with viewers in a way it doesn’t with me.
This is one of the more unusual and schlocky Jesus flicks ever made and I’m sure there’s some audience for it. For me, it was a forgettable experience I will long forget. Nevertheless I wish more zany and original films like this one would be released by other courageous directors/producers willing to provide films that go against the grain. And I would encourage Llanso to keep creating and making novel films (especially those like his previous surreal superhero 2015 film Crumbs).
REVIEWED ON 1/11/2021 GRADE: B