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By Jamie Tipps | January 20, 2008

Director Carlos Moreno’s “Perro Come Perro” is a movie that doesn’t quite know what to do with itself. It’s predominately a crime drama that also dabbles in the occult, often introducing characters of tepid motivation who march from plot point to plot point. The film wants to make a statement, but doesn’t seem to know what it is; unfortunately, for as seriously as it takes itself, nothing much happens.

Victor Penaranda and his thugs are sent to shake down a man who has stolen a Colombian crime lord’s money, but before he cracks, they accidently kill him. While searching the house, Victor finds the loot and steals it for himself. The crime boss, suspicious that his employee snaked the missing cash, pairs Victor with another contract criminal and assigns them the task of recovery. And so begins a fairly incongruous sub-plot. Victor’s partner has murdered a close friend of the boss, and unbeknownst to him, is now under a voodoo curse for his deed.

As the anti-hero, Marlon Moreno turns in a nice performance as the stoic Victor. He emanates a quiet intensity and understated intelligence, and even manages to remain a sympathetic figure as he coldly dispatches the innocent. In this dour, violent world, there is precious little for the audience to identify with or care about, and Victor is perhaps our sole anchor. Too bad, then, that the weird twists and turns of the plot cut into what could be some interesting character development.

All in all, “Perro Come Perro” isn’t a horrible movie; there’s just not much that is memorable. It needs to be quicker, tighter, and leaner to achieve any depth. As it is, the film informs us that it’s a dog eat dog world, to which we shrug our shoulders and say: “Yeah. And?”

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