In a dystopian near future, beautiful people rule the world. A group of outsiders plots terrorist attacks on the establishment. The group comprises conjoined twins, a deaf-mute giant with the mind of a toddler, a hunchback dwarf, a man in a full body brace, and a legless man who floats around in a hover-chair and keeps explosives strapped to his torso. They call themselves mutants, and their organization Mutant Action.
The film opens with the group floundering without their imprisoned leader, Ramón. They try to kidnap and ransom a famous bodybuilder, but while they argue whether the bag over the bodybuilder’s head should have air holes, the bodybuilder suffocates.
Soon after the botched job, Ramón walks free from prison. To his dismay, he finds the group’s headquarters—a large spacecraft—in disarray, their cause floundering, and their cat unfed.
Ramón barks orders, and the group snaps into action. Their plan, to kidnap a beautiful heiress at her wedding, proves successful, but not without a cost, as two mutants fall to police bullets.
The remaining mutants flee earth with the heiress. Ramón arranges a ransom exchange with the heiress’s father on a remote mining planet, unaware said planet is devoid of women. Further complicating matters, a traitor emerges among the mutants.
Relating the plot is one thing, but describing the film proves a challenge. The satirization and over-the-top violence evoke Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop and Starship Troopers. The absurdist humor, Monty Python.
Yet, Mutant Action never feels like a pastiche. Writer/director Álex de la Iglesia melds these varied inspirations into a resonant original work infused with confrontational urgency.
The Mœbius-inspired production design and exotic Spanish locales help. They belie the meager budget. The odd ship feels lived in, and when it crash-lands on the mining planet, the terrain looks alien.
But this exotic quality extends beyond the tangible. The tone itself feels foreign. More than a comedic science-fiction fantasy. More than a European comedic science-fiction fantasy. A punk-rock European comedic science-fiction fantasy.