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At Long Last, the Wait is Over! “Aztec Rex”

April 20, 2009

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I couldn’t download it. Amazon.com didn’t sell it. The manufacturer discontinued DVDs of it. And when I bought it off eBay, the seller sent the wrong DVD. I had almost all but given up my search for a copy of Aztec Rex, when a bootleg DVD stand on Sukhumvit and Soi 5 (sandwiched between a stand that sold carved, teakwood dildos and a pick-up truck that had been converted into a mobile bar) brought my quest for this Holy Grail of bad movies to an end. So was it worth it? Holy freaking crap, yes it was!!! This movie is sheer, sublime badness! It’s like the crème brulee of bad movies! Watching this movie is like slipping into a warm, bath or silk sheets. Had this film been around thirty or forty years ago, it–not Ice Station Zebra—would be the movie Howard Hughes played on a continuous loop. At least, I would if I were him.


So, what is so awesome about Aztec Rex? Ha! To that inquiry I reply, “What isn’t awesome about it?” You got Aztecs and Tyrannosaurus Rexes for one thing. I mean, are you going to tell me that you don’t think Apocalyto wouldn’t have been improved by dinosaurs? No seriously, look me in the eye and tell me you don’t believe that. Uh-huh, that’s what I thought. (And a couple of Velocirators would have livened up The Pianist, too, but I digress…) And if that isn’t enough, the movie throws in scantily-clad jungle women, a drunken friar, and Ian Ziering as Hernan Cortes. Yes, you read that right: that Ian Ziering as that Hernan Cortes. I mean who hasn’t caught Ziering during his 90210 heydey and thought, “Damn! That dude would make the perfect 16th century Spanish explorer/conqueror.” And if you’ve never had that thought, let this persuade you:

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Behold the power of my wig!

Yes, Ian rocks a mighty and awe-inspiring wig in Aztec Rex. If William Shatner had this hairpiece he’d be dictator of some banana republic right now.

Aztec Rex takes place during Cortes’s first journey to Mexico—not the one in which he subjugated the place, but a mythic one in which he softened it up a bit first. Cortes and his men (all six of them–Cortes didn’t have much of an expense account for that first trip it seems) are bumming around the Mexican jungle when they come across an Aztec village. Cortes, being Cortes, decides the best thing to do is to attack it and subjugate the natives and steal their gold. This goes about as well as you’d expect any six-man attack on a settlement to go, and pretty soon Cortes and his men are captured by Chieftain Matlal and his people (there are, like, four of them).

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“We’re gonna conquistador the hell out of this place.”

But Matlal has his own problems. His daughter Ayacoatl (Dichen Lachman of Dollhouse) doesn’t want to marry Xocozin, the village shaman to whom she’s been promised. This embarrasses Matlal to no end. The other big problem he has is the T-Rexes that are rampaging along the countryside. They dovetail with his Ayacoatl dilemma, since her betrothed Xocozin was the one that came up with the official response to the T-Rex problem. Basically it consists of: 1) cut out the heart of a young cutie, and 2) feed to T-Rex; 3) repeat as necessary. It’s that last part that’s proving problematic, since the T-Rexes aren’t satisfied with a couple puny hearts anymore (really, can you blame them? That’d be like you or me trying to live off an almond), and Xocozin’s pretty much feeding the beasts as many of his people as he can. This tends to make for a zero-population growth.

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“Aw…he’s hungry.”

So, while Cortes and his men are captured, and Cortes is strapped shirtless to the altar (Ziering so totally went to the Shatner School of Acting, Hair-management, and S&M Subtext), Xoccozin is trying to break Ayacoatl’s spirit by chasing her through the jungle and attempting to rape her. Xocozin’s a real douche, in case you didn’t get that from his whole “feed everybody but me to the dinosaurs” civic plan). Fortunately, before Xocozin can get very far with Ayacoatl, a T-Rex chomps his wingman. Ayacoatl runs and ends up in the manly-but-sensitive arms of Rios (Marco Sanchez). Rios is a Conquestidor, but serves as the angel on Cortes’s shoulder. A counterbalance to the devil played by Mendoza (William Snow). For example, when Cortes sees the Aztec village, it is Mendoza that says “Let’s capture them!” while Rios points out they don’t have enough guys. Actually, Cortes will continue to get into trouble by listening to Mendoza and not Rios. Western Civilization, the movie suggests, would have been vastly different had Cortes listened to the angels of his nature. And not encountered thunder lizards.

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I think Ian’s working through some stuff here…

Okay, so where we at? Right, so the Aztecs are all ready to sacrifice the Spaniards to the T-Rexes when Ayacoatl shows up with Rios is all like, “this dude totally saved my life! Let them all go.” And that’s when the Conquistadors realize that, Hey! The Natives can speak Spanish! Turns out they have a drunken Spanish friar living among them (he got left in Mexico by an earlier expedition) and he taught them how to speak his language. This helps when Rios pitches his idea: we kill the T-Rex, you let us go. The Aztecs hem and haw (well, Xocozin, mostly) but agree to it. So, the Spaniards make like Ewoks and dig a pit filled with sharpened stakes, that they lure the T-Rex into. Everybody’s happy. Yay!

Except that night Cortes listens to Mendoza and loots the village and makes off for the coast, leaving Rios (and his pesky conscience) behind. This, unsurprisingly, makes everyone miserable since there is now the dead T-Rex’s mate to contend with. She stalks Cortes as he and his remaining men make their way to their ship, but also attacks the village. The T-Rexes in this movie seem to able to be everywhere at once (They’re also real good at sneaking up on people—which I wouldn’t have thought would be a 40-foot lizard’s strong point, but there you go). Oh, and Ayacoatl has offered herself to Rios (by stripping out of her leather bikini and saying, essentially, “Take me!”). Rios, ever the gentleman is all like, “No, we should get to one another first…and aren’t you going with that mass-murderer dude?” Xocozin, however, spies this from afar and vows to kill his competition for Ayacoatl’s heart (the idea of buying her flowers or, you know, not feeding people to the dinosaurs never occurred to him).

It all ends about the way you expect it to: Rios fights off Xocozin and the surviving T-Rex. He and Ayacoatl marry and get down to a little Meso-American bam-chicka-wah-wah. They let Cortes go in exchange for his never returning to their valley–in the closing voiceover we learned that he just invaded the rest of Mexico. And the friar returns to Spain, bringing the gift of the New World: Sangria.

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You can leave this one off your resume, Dichen. We won’t blame you.

As you can probably tell, I have incredible affection for this movie. It’s just sublime in its badness. I love that no explanation for the presence of two T-Rexes is ever given (guess they were just hanging around the valley). I love Ian Ziering’s occasional attempts at a Spanish accent, making him sound like a cross between a hoarse Speedy Gonzalez and a fey Russian gangster. I love that even though Dichen Lachman is Nepalese/Austrian, she makes no attempt to sound like anything other than a put-out SoCal girl. I love that everyone in the movie thinks that it somehow saves the movie’s verisimilitude by eliminating all contractions. I love that the friar delivers the line, “Let’s send this monster to hell! Or the afterlife of your choosing…whatever.”

But most of all, I love the fact that someone had the brainstorm to put dinosaurs and Aztecs together.

So, that’s Aztec Rex. It just goes to prove that history can be a treasure trove of creative ideas for truly terrible movies. And that when you have a minuscule budget and SoCal shooting locations, there are worse ideas than dropping in a bikini-clad Dichen Lachman and a CGI dinosaur.

11 comments

  1. Dildo, DVD, bar. All your good-time needs are right there. How convenient Thailand is!


  2. Yes. Within a one-block radius I can get dinner, get drunk, get laid, and feed an elephant.


  3. This is amazing. btw, I am reading your movie reviews instead of studying for secured transactions this time around.


  4. Well, you did okay on the evidence exam. So I’d say you’re fine.


  5. I have always wanted to know how you find these obscure movies to review? That alone has to be a useful skill.


    • Most of the time they seem to find me.


  6. Great stuff, I stumbled across your blog and read several posts, extremely funny. Now you’ve made me want to seek out this movie!


    • Glad you enjoyed it. I hope you enjoy (and find) “Aztec Rex.” It truly is a marvel of badness.


  7. so i worked on the film and have been looking for a copy and obviously it is nowhere in the world literally. please i need guidance to find one playable in the u.s.


  8. Would you consider selling the DVD? Depending on the price you paid, I’ll most likely double it, as I very much wish to see this movie again. I’m not talking as all business. I Iove the movie as much as you do (I crave bad movies!). I’ll leave my email here, so please consider this!

    Andywithcake@gmail.com


    • I’ll have to see if I still have it. I think I may have given it to the guys at BMFCast.com



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