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[Fantasia ’21] ‘Operation Luchador’ review: How lucha libre fought World War II

Unearthed lore about lucha and WWII.

Operation Luchador examines one of the most important freedom fighters of World War II. L’Ange Dore (The Golden Angel) was a Mexican luchador recruited by the American government. His goal was to stop the network of spies that seemed to be infiltrating North and South America. He went on to become an important part of the Allies war effort. His legend lives on to this day.

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Filmmaker Alain Vezina relies more on narration than other documentaries. Operation Luchador is an in-depth history lesson. It goes into details on how lucha libre became involved in WWII. A lot has been said about the Second World War, so it is nice to hear about something that has never been discussed. Along with the fresh details, there is also a sense of excitement.

[Fantasia '21] 'Operation Luchador' review: How lucha libre fought World War II

Since the mission was top secret, there are less interviews than would be expected. The ones that are included are a nice touch, but it wild have been nice to hear from people that were there. Wrestling fans may be disappointed by the lack of old time footage. There is some to be found, but it does not really give a feel for the era. A match that ends after Nazi interference will remind many of the Hulk Hogan – Yokozuna match from the 1993 King of the Ring.

Operation Luchador is very detailed – maybe too much so. Even the most interesting footage can wear out its welcome. This happens more than once. There is also a moment involving an American astronaut that is shown a few times. There are some topics that it would seem impossible to learn anything new about. One of those is World War II. Operation Luchador is able to talk about a part of WWII that is unique and interesting.

The Fantasia Film Festival takes place in person and online from August 5 – August 25

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