Movie Review: “Pistolera” shoots nothing but blanks

Critics use the phrase “instantly awful” to describe bad movies entirely too often and far too cavalierly. For that, please accept my heartfelt mea culpa.

We should all reserve “instantly awful” for C-movie garbage like “Pistolera,” an underworld vengeance thriller that is almost unwatchable, godawful pretty much from the first frame to the last.

Romina DiLella wrote it and has the title role, Damian Chapa directed it and co-stars. Neither can write or direct or act.

“You got to stop being so jooompy,” DiLella purrs in halting Ingles, playing a Spanish badass out to avenge her papa’s murder. “Gon’ get some blood pressure or som-sing.”

“Pistolera” begins with our scarred and haunted heroine awakening from another nightmare. We see what scarred her, physically and emotionally. As a child, she and her mob family offspring went from playing with toy guns to shooting their way out of a mob hit on Angel and Rico’s fathers in the Spain of about thirty years ago.

Present day Angel (DiLella) gets out of her latest prison sentence, dons her BDSM hitwoman togs (black leather bustier and coochie-cutters) and heads to the tattoo parlor.

“Do you do booolets,” she asks her inker? “Leetle CUTE ones?”

Every line is a cringe, every scene an affront to the cinema and the senses. Start with the mob child who mows down murdering mobsters with her papa’s new Gatling gun, dive into the fight-choreography picked up on Youtube tutorials, check in with Robert Davi as the mobster everybody wants to get even with and drift over to Danny Trejo as the sunglassed “tio” who goes by the nickname “The Aztec” because “I was so savage,” and you still come back to the amateurishly delusional leading lady and leading man.

Hell, DiLella even sings (not awfully) and dances pseudo flamenco (quite badly).

My FAVORITE moment though, has to be the drone shot of the “present day” that establishes the veteran Pistolera is in prison and about to get out.

They went to the trouble of hiring a drone operator, and filmed a prison that plainly hasn’t seen use in this century, or much of the last one — overgrown, empty, trees growing through caved-in roofs.

Yeah, it’s like that.

Rating: unrated, violence

Cast: Romina DiLella, Damian Chapa, Robert Davi and Danny Trejo

Credits: Directed by Damian Chapa, scripted by Romina DiLella. A Tubi release.

Running time: 1:30

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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