Step right up folks and witness Torrente in all its glory. Torrente, el Brazo Tonto de la Ley which is the full title of this insanely hilarious comedy in translation means Torrente, The Stupid Arm of Law. The idea behind it was to take the eighties concept of an action hero and crank it up to a thousand. So we got a sexist, racist, bizarre, filthy but still likable ex-detective. He doesn’t care about anyone but himself. And his favorite soccer club Atlético Madrid. And while the main story may be somewhat cliched, the rest of the movie is insanely entertaining. The cinematography is great with bright and vivid colors along with snappy editing. So, the movie has this appealing visual style. However, what you’ll be seeing might be grotesque and just plain nasty.
There are a lot of dirty jokes and bizarre situations that will have you laughing out loud. Torrente, el Brazo Tonto de la Ley is an offensive and often brutal comedy that doesn’t care about what’s politically correct. It’s willing to go anywhere to get a laugh and I just loved this approach. Mostly because I was tired of all the uptight comedies that flooded the market in just a couple of years. I mean the car and convenient store scenes are straight-up classics. I still remember them with a smile on my face. He’s so uninhibited that it’s hysterical. So, if you don’t like these obnoxious and simplistic jokes, you might wanna skip this one.
Meet José Luis Torrente, a former detective living with his disabled father in the slums of Madrid. He’s a sexist, racist, foul-mouthed alcoholic looking to make money or have sex any way he can. With as little effort as possible. During one of his schemes, he accidentally uncovers a band of drug dealers. Soon he recruits a group of local losers to help him in the operation of busting these scumbags. However, things will prove to be more difficult than he imagined.
There’s a reason why Torrente, El Brazo Tonto de la Ley was the movie of the year in Spain. And why four sequels with declining quality were made. That reason is Santiago Segura, writer, director, and star of the franchise. He made a down-to-earth, old-school funny comedy with flawed but likable characters. And sure, the humor may be crass and rude, but that’s just the reality of the world we live in. This anti-detective serves as a focal lens showing the final stages of the tribal system of values. He possesses primitive drives, very simplistic in nature, pushing him into incredibly complex situations. The situation we can use to examine certain behaviors or moral stances. All that while laughing hysterically. I mean what more to want? So get your buddies and buy some beer and enjoy this masterpiece. And if you wish to smoke something, well then…
Finally, if you’re looking for similar movies, I recommend you check out Les Anges Gardiens and Les Visiteurs. Both of these French comedies are from the nineties and feature a similar style of humor. Also, as a bonus, I must mention Vive La France, a modern but still hilarious comedy.
Director: Santiago Segura
Writer: Santiago Segura
Cast: Santiago Segura, Javier Cámara, Neus Asensi, Chus Lampreave, Julio Sanjuán, Tony Leblanc, Espartaco Santoni
Fun Stuff: The title is a riff on Stallone’s 1986 hit Cobra, The Strong Arm of the Law.