What do you get when you put together some of the most beloved Mexican comedic actors and throw anything even remotely resembling a plot out the window? The answer is Los Pelotones de Juan Camaney (Juan Camaney’s Platoons). Luis de Alba is without a doubt one of Mexico’s most enduring film and television stars. With four decades in the business, almost 90 movies, and a few popular television shows under his belt, it seems he has done it all. However, when it comes to latsploitation, what matters most is his character Juan Camaney, a funny, chubby guy with a knack for verbal antics and who’s always looking to get laid.
LOS PELOTONES DE JUAN CAMANEY
Mexico, 1990, Oscar Fentanes
So, how does a movie with no plot manages to actually be worth watch? Before I get to that, allow me to ask you a question: am I the only one who immediately thinks of Michael Bay whenever the words “no plot” come up? Okay, back to business. This movie works because it’s a funny mess. The costumes are ridiculous, the acting is exactly what we’ve come to expect from no-budget Mexploitation, and the women are there for no apparent reason. As a bonus, the movie came out in 1990, a few years after the heyday of Mexploitation. This means that they were done pushing buttons and, in some cases, holding back because they didn’t know how far they could push things. In the case of Los Pelotones the Juan Camaney, caution went out the same window they used to get rid of the plot. For starters, they threw a double entendre into the title. Pelotones are platoons, but they’re also big balls, so the movie title can also be read as Juan Camaney’s Big Balls. Also, the dialogue contains gems such as this: “You want me to dress like a faggot? Well, your name is Lazarus, right? Okay, Lazarus, get up and walk… and go fuck your mother!”
While this is a fun watch, there is one major problem with it: there are times when the dialogue is completely unintelligible to anyone who is not a native or an expert in Mexican lingo. Juan Camaney likes to go on small rants that range from silly to angry, but he does so at breakneck speed and using words that only used in Mexico or words that are used in that country but that mean different things for them when used in certain contexts.
In these times of military unrest across the globe, maybe things would be better if soldiers spent their time trying to play practical jokes on each other instead of shooting at people they don’t know. Anyway, if you’re looking for a senseless latsploitation film with more silly humor than flesh, give this one a try.