Xtreme Goes Too Soft on Plot


Starring Teo Garcia, Oscar Casas and Andrea Duro

Rated R18+

Xtreme is a schlocky Spanish thriller with a loose plot and commendable but disappointing action.

Two years after the murder of his son, Maximo (Teo Garcia) wages war against the Spanish mob.

Xtreme is driven by a nebulous power play within the Conclave crime organisation, which feels disconnected from the death of Maximo’s son. In a jarring tonal shift after the harrowing opening, the film introduces Leo (Oscar Casas), a plucky high-school student who tags along with Maximo but has almost no impact on the plot.

Oscar Jaenada is engaging as the sadistic yet stylish mob boss Lucero, but he’s barely in the movie. Finito (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) is a bland secondary antagonist, and the plot builds some intrigue with Chul (Alberto Jo Lee), a henchman disgusted by Lucero’s ruthlessness, but ultimately does nothing with this conflict.

The action sequences are well-choreographed (save for a terrible swordfight), use plenty of old-school blood squibs and pyrotechnics, feature some clever physical comedy and contain an all-important sense of struggle, but generally feel staged due to the actors’ slow movements, and the gun battles are often incomprehensible.

Many action films draw a vicarious thrill from the hero punishing the bad guy, but Xtreme takes this too far in one scene of Maximo beating up a drug lord, which ends up deeply uncomfortable.

Like Wrath of Man, Xtreme is needlessly grim, but has a sloppier plot and production and the action is less satisfying.

Seth Lukas Hynes

239 words