Uploaded on Nov 15, 2009
This is a "trailer" that I edited and assembled for the Mexican film Los Campeones Justicieros/Champions of Justice.
In the mid-to-late 90s, I was granted the rights to produce and distribute an English-language version of Los Campeones Justicieros (to be tentatively titled Champions of Justice).
This was just before the DVD revolution; it was also before Mexican wrestlers had started to infiltrate American pop culture.
My master copy of the film--and the technology I had access to for sound mixing--may have been adequate for a VHS release, but it would not have passed muster in the up-and-coming DVD format. Back then, DVDs were still fairly expensive, and most releases of older films were of the Criterion variety: painstakingly remastered, loaded with extra features, and aimed at cinephiles. To compete in that marketplace, Champions of Justice would have required a LOT of restoration.
We were prepared to create an entirely new soundtrack from the ground up, starting with comedic English-language dialogue, a newly composed electronic score, driving surf music, and beefed up sound effects. Unfortunately, the person who was going to help with the sound mixing only had analog equipment. Over the next few years, digital technology progressed faster than I could arrange to upgrade, and the learning curve to master professional programs like Final Cut Pro required more time than I could spare while working at a day job.
AAA-America International Entertainment represented Champions of Justice at the American Film Market, but we couldn't get buyers to share our vision and put up money for pre-sales before the dubbing was completed.
This was about ten years before Mucha Lucha, Saban's Los Luchadores, Nacho Libre, or Los Campeones De La Lucha Libre. As far as the buyers were concerned, the Power Rangers was the five member team that most resembled our Champions, and masked Mexican wrestlers didn't look as slick as Japanese superheroes with transforming robots. Since that time, there have been numerous guest appearances by Mexican wrestlers in cartoons, commercials, and on English-language TV shows. In the world of professional wrestling, luchador Rey Mysterio has become a popular champion in the WWE. Nowadays, most people who are hip to American pop culture have at least heard of Mexican wrestlers.
Los Campeones Justicieros was eventually remastered for an English-subtitled DVD, to cash in on Nacho Libre's release in American movie theaters.
My biggest regret was that a lot of work had been done without adequate thanks or credit (or cash compensation), but now I have the opportunity to rectify two-thirds of that situation.
The debut of iMovie '08 (and my learning how to use it) made it cheap, quick, and easy enough to edit together a "what might have been" trailer that also serves to thank some of the people who contributed to the Champions' cause.
I had a blast editing the trailer. I love putting images together to tell a story. In some cases, I took liberties with events and sequences in Los Campeones Justicieros, and tweaked shots to keep the fast pace of my shortened version.
There isn't any English-language dialogue in the trailer, but the people who received credit for it made an effort to submit scripts, gags, or lines of dialogue. I may not have used their work, but they certainly have my gratitude. Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, the original film's visuals are hilarious enough without forcing "funny" dialogue into the characters' mouths: The straighter it's played, the funnier it gets.
Likewise, David M. Rubin's haunting "evil midget" themes remain unheard here, but he definitely deserves huge thanks and props for his excellent work and professionalism.
In the end, I believe that things worked out for the best. As nice as it would have been to be among the first to present Mexican wrestlers-as-superheroes to the English-speaking public, I don't think that the potential rewards (financial and otherwise) would have equaled the amount of work it would have required to restore, upgrade, and promote Los Campeones Justicieros. Even with the technology available today, it would only appear quaint, at best. (Although an all-new movie--with current wrestlers--could be AWESOME!) Plus I know that certain purists would not have approved of some of the changes that my distributor had insisted upon. Besides, the English-subtitled DVD is out there, for anyone who is interested.
Steve Ross/Mr. Maskrado
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