Review: ‘Lucha Mexico’ can’t hit its finishing move

This documentary about professional wrestling in Mexico doesn’t push hard enough to tell the reality beyond the ring

Adam Graham
DetroitNews-Unknown

“Lucha Mexico” dives headfirst off the top rope into the world of professional wrestling in Mexico, but is bodyslammed by its lack of focus and wandering narrative.

Directors Alex Hammond and Ian Markiewicz tell several stories, in and out of the ring, detailing the history and hardships of lucha libre, the highly active, acrobatic style popularized by mask-wearing grapplers in and around Mexico City.

But without a center, threads are left dangling. There’s a story about how wrestling mirrors the politics of the day and with unrest comes a rise in extreme wrestling, but it’s abandoned. One of the subjects of the film dies during the course of filming, but the particulars of his death are glossed over. World Wrestling Entertainment is mentioned several times but is swept under the rug.

In wrestling terms, “Lucha Mexico” suffers from bad booking.

The documentary’s main subject is Shocker, an aging, bleach-blonde barrel of a man whose gimmick is he’s an irresistible stud. (He goes by the nickname “El 1000% Guapo,” which means by his own estimation, he’s very handsome.) Shocker is injured midway through filming, which takes him out of commission for eight months, and “Lucha Mexico” details his re-entry into the sport, wrestling in arenas, fairs, tents — wherever there’s a ring.

There’s a taxing loneliness to the grind of pro wrestling, but the filmmakers don’t push hard enough to tell wrestling’s reality. “If you’re totally healthy, that means you’re not pushing,” one of the wrestlers says at one point. In that sense, “Lucha Mexico” earns a clean bill of health.

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‘Lucha Mexico’

Grade: C

Not rated: Language and wrestling violence

Running time: 105 minutes