Superargo vs. Diabolicus (1966)

Superargo Contra Diabolikus PosterEven though I never deciphered what a Superargo was, I marvelled at both the genius of the idea as well as the flawless execution of it. What if you were to take a masked wrestler who was the very best at what he does (wrestle and stuff) and make him a secret agent?

And what if he had to foil a madman bent on world domination? And what if this wrestler had to take on an entire island lair of henchmen to save his girlfriend before the madman can blow the island up and escape in his rocket? And what if this wrestler was the heavyweight champion of the world?

And most importantly of all, would defeating this madman and causing his secret hideout to not only explode, but to sink straightaway into the sea count as one of his mandatory title defenses?

That a movie can even raise such questions renders any further review of it pointless because such a thought provoking assortment of queries are only reserved for the very finest in masked-wrestler cinema and I can offer no higher recommendation than to say that Superargo wears his bright red costume (nicely accented with black briefs, boots, belt, gloves and facemask) throughout the entire duration of the film, even while pouring his old lady a drink back at his bachelor pad.

When the movie started and we were treated to the big showdown between Superargo and El Tigro I was thinking that more movies would benefit by easing us into the plot with a heavyweight bout. Since this was more of a James Bond movie than a wrestling pay-per-view though, Superargo and El Tigro weren’t really pulling out all the stops.

Sure there was some mat wrestling and Superargo seemed overly fond of the head scissors, but where were the ring entrances and the theme songs? Where were the pre-match promos promising total devastation? Where was the referee bumping and the outside interference by Ric Flair and Triple H?

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No matter. I’m still giving the match four stars because of the finish: El Tigro was put in the bow and arrow and catapulted through the ropes and outside onto the concrete below where he cracked his skull and died!

Superargo is all broken up over this, quits the business, and goes into a lengthy (less than three minutes movie time) depression, though strangely he keeps his costume on even as he’s threatening to never wrestle again.

Luckily Superargo’s only true buddy (now that he killed his other one) is the head of some secret service or other. Superargo served under him during the war, but is too proud to go to his pal and ask him for advice. So his pal comes to him and offers him a job as a secret agent to break up some operation that’s been hijacking uranium shipments in the ocean. That’s just what I would have done for a friend who seemed kind of down!

Superargo takes the job and his pal stabs him in front of the rest of the secret service as a way to begin the demonstration of his super powers. Argo isn’t hurt because he’s got this special blood that coagulates instantly, but that’s not all this guy has in his tights!

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They put him through a battery of tests that show us how he can hold his breath for seven minutes, how he can handle being frozen, and how he’s able to absorb an enormous amount of physical stress because he’s got great metaphysical equilibrium, whatever that means.

Next up is a visit to the labs where Q, I mean his buddy from the war, gives him all his special gear to go out and hunt down Diabolikus. You’ve got your souped up car, your bulletproof Superargo costume (which his buddy promptly tests out by shooting him several times – “It was just a .45, old chum!”), broach with hidden camera, player piano which acts as two way radio and the fake olives that are really miniature Geiger counters. (These suckers even came complete with toothpicks! They were to be used to detect the presence of uranium, presumably to make double sure that Diabolikus hadn’t spiked Superargo’s martinis or something.)

Superargo ends up crashing this guy’s place two separate times. The first time he gets caught and tries to claim that he was just a tourist who got curious about the island. I think that it’s at moments like that that maybe Superargo’s costume becomes a bit of a hindrance.

Diabolikus shows us that he isn’t a fool and rejects this lame excuse of Superargo’s and tells him that he is going to kill him. Superargo pulls the old classic “well, since I’m going to die and not be able to tell anyone, why don’t you clue me into your plans for world domination.”

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Diabolikus agrees and says that it will be the last thing he hears to which Superargo responds, “well, I hope that it’s lengthy and interesting then.” Is there any way that I’m going to skip his next adventure, Superargo and the Faceless Giants, after this?

This is the way masked wrestler/secret agent movies were meant to be done and you’ll watch enraptured and/or stunned as one stupefying moment after another plays out before your disbelieving eyes.

Superargo is rarely at a loss of what tact to take in any given situation, whether it be jumping off a bridge and playing possum on the ground below or getting his face whipped with a riding crop by Diabolikus’ girlfriend.

You never do get to see his face which only adds to his mystery and makes you think that he could be anyone: your neighbor, your boss, or even your dad!

Even at the end of the movie as the credits roll, Superargo is such a showman that he just stands there staring at you and making faces (it may have supposed to have been a smile, but it kind of came off as a cross between a snarl and that face you make when you’re nervous and aren’t sure what you’re supposed to do next). Bring on those Faceless Giants! And lets have a ten bell salute for old El Tigro!

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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