Colour, 1997, 98m. / Directed by Juanma Bajo Ulloa / Starring Karra Elejalde, Maria de Medeiros / Columbia (Spain R2 PAL) / WS (2.35:1) (16:9) / DD5.1

A wild and often tasteless attempt to beat Quentin Tarantino at his own game, Airbag speeds through a motley cast of eccentric characters and bizarre sequences which often play more like the skits of a particularly deranged comedy troupe; this welcome shot of adrenaline may be hit or miss but deserves to find its target audience outside of Spain. Mild-mannered Juantxo (Karra Elejalde), a homely and not terribly bright man, celebrates the arrival of his unlikely marriage to a beautiful blonde with his eccentric and wealthy future in-laws. The bride's mother gives him a pair of valuable engagement rings, one of which he immediately puts on his finger. Later his buddies Konradín (Fernando Guillen Cuervo) and Pako (Alberto San Juan) take him out for a wild bachelor party at a country whorehouse, where virginal Juantxo discovers a few surprises about himself with the aid of a feisty hooker. Unfortunately he notices during the drive back that he lost his ring, err, inside the prostitute, so they go back to retrieve it. Juantxo learns that the ring has fallen into the hands of a sadistic pimp and gangster named Villambrosa (Francisco Rabal), and on the way home the boys accidentally flip their car over by the roadside. A passing motorist stops to help and turns out to be, sure enough, Villambrosa. When Juantxo demands his ring back, the mobster responds by dropping a lighter next to the car's leaking stream of gasoline, and only a freak of nature manages to save them. Soon the three men's attempts to hunt down the ring places them in the middle of a mob war between Villambrosa and another rival gang spearheaded by levitating, platinum blonde Fátima (an unrecognizable Maria de Medeiros).

Packed with weird incidents and memorable character bits, Airbag giddily skips along its merry way, delivering high amounts of gunplay, stunts, and graphic but comical sex and nudity. The plot often pauses for some weird tangents, such as cocaine-filled car airbags and a hilarious spoof of low budget Latino soap operas entitled Obsolete Love. Director Juanma Bajo Ulloa outdoes his previous gem The Dead Mother (La madre muerta) in the eccentricity department, producing a twisted film that defies any rational genre classification. Columbia's DVD lives up the standards of their American output, with a crystal clear and colourful scope transfer, enhanced for anamorphic televisions and featuring optional English subtitles. The 5.1 audio features some amusing split surround effects, even during music and dialogue passages, and the hyperactive trailer is entirely appropriate.

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