Director – Alex de la Iglesia, Screenplay – Alex de la Iglesia & Jorge Guerricaechevarria, Producer – Esther Guardia, Photography – Carlos Guisa, Music – Juan Carlos Cuello, Special Effects – Jean-Baptiste Bonetto, Yves Domenjoud, Olivier Gleyze & Bernard-Andre Le Boette, Makeup – Hipolito Cantero, Production Design – Jose Luis Arrizabalaga Biaffra. Production Company – El Deseo SA/Ciby 2000.
Antonio Resines (Ramon Yrritu), Frederique Feder (Patricia Orujo), Alex Angulo (Alex), Juan Viadas (Quimfieca), Karra Elejalde (Manitas), Ion Gabella (Chepa), Fernando Guillen (Jose Maria Orujo), Ramon Barea (Blind Man), Francisco Maestre (Grandfather)
Released from jail, Ramon Yrritu reunites the Mutant Action terrorist group he leads. Mutant Action are made up of freaks and cripples who specialize in attacks against institutions that promote standards of beauty and physical norms. Ramon and his motley group invade the wedding party of Patricia Orujo, daughter of a wealthy wholewheat bread manufacturer. They abduct her and head for the planet Axturias to collect the ransom. On the way Ramon double-crosses and kills off most of his followers. However, the ship crashlands on the planet. There he and Patricia are forced to survive amid the crazies on the surface.
Accion Mutante is a science-fiction film that was made by the production company (El Deseo SA) of Pedro Almodovar, the celebrated Spanish director of culty offbeat comedies such as Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1987), Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1990), The Flower of My Secret (1995), All About My Mother (1999), Talk to Her (2002), Volver (2006) and The Skin I Live In (2011). Almodovar has become the most famous Spanish director next to Luis Buñuel and developed a considerable international reputation. At the time, the Almodovar name caught the attention but of course in retrospect the film was the directorial debut of Alex de la Iglesia who would go on to become a major Spanish director in the next few years.
Accion Mutante is a future action thriller in the mold of Mad Max 2 (1981) – in fact, it is not that different from Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn (1983) and Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983), the duo of 3-D planetary adventures that came out around the same time, particularly during its latter half. The major difference is that the standard future action scenario is crosshatched with the zanily outrageous, willfully iconoclastic light comedy that Almodovar specialised in (at least in his earlier films).
The first half of the film drags somewhat – the scenes on the spaceship with Antonio Resines knocking off his crew are strained. The party scene has its moment but the outre costumes – oversized Madonna-styled pointed brassieres and the like – seem to strain too much for that zaniness.
However, once on the planet, the film picks up considerably with its series of bizarre incongruities – the Siamese twin dragging his stuffed dead brother around with him, at one point he left hanging via a noose around the other twin’s neck; the family of bald hillbillies who have never seen a woman and their ten year old son who ties Antonio Resines up and sits gouging the wound and pouring salt into it when Resines gets out of hand; the climax in the bar where every element of the film comes together, including a tv crew covering the hostage swap who keep interrupting the coverage with commercials, including an hilarious ad for LSD flavoured cornflakes.
There is not a great deal to Accion Mutante – the future background is sketchy, the story slight – but the wacky humour helps carry it. The film has its own title rap song which, during the opening credits, recites the name of the cast and crew.
Director Alex de la Iglesia has been a regular genre contributor. He next made the End Times comedy The Day of the Beast (1995), the great Perdita Durango/Dance with the Devil (1997), the genre black comedies Common Wealth (2000) and Ferpect Crime (2004), the mathematical murder mystery The Oxford Murders (2008), the sf tv series Pluton B.R.B. Nero (2008-9), the circus psycho-thriller A Sad Trumpet Ballad (2010), As Luck Would Have It (2011), a satire on the modern media, the comedy Witching and Bitching (2013), The Bar (2017) with a group of strangers trapped inside a bar during the outbreak of a deadly infection, the occult and deviltry tv series 30 Coins (2020- ) and Venecia Frenia (2021) about tourists being stalked in Venice.