Welcome to Acapulco

A nerdy but inexplicably chiseled video-game designer named Mathew Booth (Michael Kingsbaker) is on his way to New Mexico to show off his “revolutionary” first-person shooter video game. Instead, Mathew gets detoured to Acapulco and mistaken for someone involved in organized crime. Several gangs are after him. A pretty secret agent named Adriana (Ana Serrandilla) protects him. Mathew continuously tells us Adriana is turning him on any time she kills a member of the goon squad(s) pursuing him. Mathew tells us a lot, because Kingsbaker narrates the entire movie. Every single scene.

Freeze-frame: You might be wondering how I got here.

If you’re browsing through Redbox or video-on-demand provider of choice and see a movie called Welcome to Acapulco starring William Baldwin, Michael Madsen and Paul Sorvino as gangsters and a tagline like “Sun’s Out, Guns Out,” how can you say no? Honor those washed-up professionals, who have spent the last decade (or more) slumming it in movies that provided them a free vacation, an easy check and opportunities to ham it up on the first and only take!

If you choose to drop a couple bucks on Acapulco, expect a lot of moments where Mathew says something like “Freeze-frame: You might be wondering how I got here.” The joke originates from ’80s and ’90s movies, which used that kind of dialogue as a way of engaging with in media res storytelling. It became a popular meme on image boards a few years back, so it’s tough to say whether Acapulco is borrowing from old movies or trying to engage with the modern fad. But it does it all the goddamn time.

It’s a Russian nesting doll of poor storytelling, where events never happen without being explained by poor narration. One sequence features Mathew falling off a hill into a pool — which pauses to let him make a quip, despite making it possible for us to see the stuntman making the plunge.

No character is introduced without a Suicide Squad-like pause-and-profile — even characters who die seconds later and have zero impact on the movie. It has a first-person action sequence where Mathew uses “FPS mode,” which is just poorly cell-shaded GoPro footage. It’s funny for a few minutes but overstays its welcome very, very quickly. Any initial amusement at the tagline and cast gives way to boredom and listlessness. Without any thrills and paced like a student film, Welcome to Acapulco is best left a confused chuckle to yourself as you scroll past to finer delights, like something equally terrible on demand starring Bruce Willis.


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Administrator of Midwest Film Journal. Previously a staff writer for TheFilmYap.com, Evan has been writing film criticism in the Indianapolis area for over half a decade. He is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. He also reviews Oreos.


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