Awfully Good: Chinango

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

Before you enjoy MACHETE KILLS (out on Blu-Ray this week), check out another piece of Mexican action cinema history…

Chinango (2009)

Director: Peter Van Lengen
Stars: Marko Zaror, Hugo Stiglitz, Susana Gonzalez

In order to “escape all the racism,” a group of Chinese monks travel to Mexico, carrying with them the secrets of kung fu. And only one man with the “strength of the tiger” can harness the magical medallion of ass kicking.

Billed as “the first Latin American martial arts film,” CHINANGO also gets the distinction of being one of the worst action movies from any country. It stars legitimately talented Chilean martial artist Marko Zaror, who you may have seen fighting Scott Adkins in UNDISPUTED III or in the aforementioned MACHETE KILLS. Zaror has the skills, but someone clearly forgot to pay the bills on this laughable embarrassment to cinema.

I don’t know what to hate more… the production design or the costumes.

CHINANGO was shot in Mexico in 13 days without any kind of permits or permission from anyone with the common sense to stop it. The result is painfully amateur on every level—from the script to the production to the horrible sound mixing—like an even cheaper version of Robert Rodriguez’s $7,000 EL MARIACHI. It looks and feels like one-time writer/director Peter Van Lengen literally threw it together as they were making it, which I’m guessing is what actually happened. Any technical or narrative sins could more easily be forgiven if the fighting was actually worthwhile. Unfortunately, the action is nothing special (at best), completely squandering Zaror’s obvious abilities. (Watch the final fight in UNDISPUTED III and then watch some of the videos below and see the difference competent camerawork and editing can make.) And there’s not even that much action in it to begin with. They actually stop and show you characters playing Street Fighter or watching fights on TV just to kill time and put more martial arts in the movie.

Thanks Vistaprint!

The plot follows Braulio Bo, a Mexican man searching for his “Chinaman” grandfather, who was run out of America because of “all the racism.” He stumbles in to a church and is given Gramp’s kung fu medallion, which immediately gives him magical martial arts powers. He also gains the ability to wear tribal dresses and parachute pants. Almost immediately, Braulio (Is he Chinango? Is Chinango a person? They never tell us.) gets chased by some local gangs and the Chinese mob that lives in Mexico. They track him down to his house and bring along their special secret weapon—a midget, who they lovingly refer to as Midget. They send him to the roof, where he immediately gets his neck broken by Braulio. Our hero is then shot a bunch of times and keeps going like nothing happened. Oh, did I mention that he had just finished banging some random Asian girl he just met, so he’s naked during this entire sequence?

The rest of the movie operates pretty much on this level. The only thing that sets CHINANGO apart from other similar no-budget action films is the utterly random amount of sexual content needlessly strewn throughout. Women call the hero just to tell him they’re naked and dreaming of him. After a brutal fight, he goes home to sleep with his girlfriend before tending to his injuries. He has a completely random dream about a Chinese girl undressing in a rice paddy and then wakes up and awkwardly touches himself under the covers for a solid minute. A bad guy reads some Japanese comic book porn and the camera stops to show you some of it for thirty seconds or so.

However, the most bizarre moment has to be when Braulio goes to finally confront the main henchman and walks in on him in a standard badass karate pose, leg straight up in the air—except he’s holding a dirty magazine in one hand and furiously masturbating with the other. He then finishes, tucks himself back in and proceeds to duel with the hero. <-- I'm not making any of that up. I wish I was.

The hero seduces a 45 year old woman in the most creepy, pedophilic way possible.

Masturbating henchman, hilarious fight scenes, and random sexual stuff. (Mildly NSFW)

You get a random Chinese lady briefly undressing. And plenty of male ass.

¡Ay, caramba! Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • There’s random sexuality or sensual material for no reason
  • The henchman extends his leg straight and slowly brings it down
  • There are terrible sound effects
  • Someone says “Midget”
  • Someone holds the phone for the crime boss
  • Street Fighter is being played

Double shot if:

  • Two fights are going on at the same time in the same frame

Thanks to Raul for suggesting this week’s movie!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.


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