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Cinema Fix

Cinema Fix: Apocalypto (2006) Is Brutality Incarnate

We love our metal here at Metal Injection… but we dig movies too! Welcome to Cinema Fix, a movie guide tailored for the metal faithful. Sit back and relax after a long week of work and/or blast beats and enjoy one of our prestigious film selections. This week's pick is:

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Apocalypto (2006)

Quick Pitch:

A masterclass in onscreen brutality.


In the waning days of the Mayan Empire, a young man fights for his family’s survival as the Mayan’s ancient civilization begins to disintegrate around him. Jaguar Paw and his people have enjoyed a peaceful existence in their jungle home for generations. One day, a group of marauders from the distant capital decimates his village during an early morning raid, killing and/or enslaving his friends and destroying his way of life. Luckily, Jaguar Paw manages to hide his pregnant wife and small son from the invaders before he himself is captured. During his death march to the city, Jaguar Paw encounters the horrid depravity of urban life for the first time and watches as his friends become victims of the Mayan elite’s cruel bloodlust. Jaguar Paw swears to return to his family, but first he must escape his captors and the diseased empire that has enslaved him.

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Mel Gibson’s 2006 film Apocalypto is an underrated classic, a true masterpiece of action cinema. Released in the wake of Gibson’s well documented decent into madness, it’s safe to say that the film didn’t get the fair shake it would have had it come out in 2005, before Mel Gibson went off the deep end. Which is a shame because Apocalypto is probably one of the wildest chase movies ever made. Sure, Gibson fudged some historical facts here and there; basically turning Mayans into Aztecs and screwing with dates, but nobody seemed to care that he did the same thing with Braveheart back 95' and wound up winning Best Picture. He may be one of the most polarizing figures in the entertainment industry, but Apocalypto is proof that few people can direct an action flick like Mel Gibson.

Why it’s metal:

Because dudes get their hearts ripped out on a literal “Alter of Sacrifice” and it’s gnarly as hell. Apocalypto is a masterclass of gore-y practical effects, with decapitations and blood spurting all over the place, like an Exhumed album in the Central American jungle. Gibson puts poor Jaguar Paw through the ringer in this film, he’s beaten, stabbed, damn near drowns and staves off attacks from wild animals, all while being chased by royally pissed warriors bent on skinning him alive. Aside from the amphetamine like doses of action/violence, Apocalypto also features a few other metal friendly tropes, mainly: societal collapse and armageddon. The Mayans are in the midst of full on imperial decay by the time Jaguar Paw arrives in the capital, suffering from failed crops, a string of plagues and a seemingly amoral populace. Not to mention that the corrupt Mayan officials are using their legit mathematic/astronomy skills to keep the uninformed masses eating out of their hands via human sacrifices and calculated solar eclipses. When the freaky leper girl curses the marauders during their trek to the city, she delivers the death nail to the Mayan’s entire civilization. It's really gnarly stuff.

Suggested listening:
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Xibalba – "Diablo"
Because the band's moniker is the name of the Mayan underworld.

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