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By Eric Campos | May 26, 2003

Like a schoolyard bully who’s all talk and no bite, this Brazilian thriller blows a heck of a lot of hot air, but really doesn’t deliver on the a*s-kickings it so threatens.
“The Three Marias” starts off like gangbusters and the grip on my icy cold beer grew tighter as I waited for the fireworks to truly begin. Filomena Capadscio is delivered some completely shitty news – her husband and two sons have been killed by a bloodthirsty family. All she has left are her three daughters, yep, the Three Marias. She has a post funeral gathering with her daughters, sending each of them out on a mission to find a specific hitman. Each hitman is to kill one member of the murderous family, bringing their heads back to Filomena. The events leading up to this gathering happen lightning quick and they grab you by the crotch, squeezing plenty hard to make sure your attention is pretty goddamn undivided. We’re shown the butchered bodies of the father and one of his sons right before son numero dos is soaked in gasoline and set on fire. The news is delivered to Filomena, then the funeral, and then this group huddle. With this fierce momentum and the severity of this meeting, you’d expect all hell to break loose once these three girls jump in their jalopies and set out to find them some revengesmiths.
But this is where the films slows down…way down, even though the girls quickly find their men and convince them to take the job. The bulk of the movie focuses on the girls dealing with their assigned killer’s personal problems – one guy refuses to talk to women as he equates them with snakes, another guy’s health is being hampered by a rabies dilemma and the third guy is in lock down. Not a whole lot is done to spice up these guys’ faults and I don’t want to tell you what happens further because if you do see this film, you should be able to enjoy a surprise in the final act, even if that surprise is extremely small and wraps the whole film up with a fizzle.
Despite being a beautifully shot, acted and scored film throughout, I’m a little bummed because the first twenty minutes promised me a lobster dinner and all I got in the end was a PB & J. So much more could’ve been done with the simple premise of this film. It’s a basic Spaghetti Western set up, dressed up all pretty for today’s visually spoiled crowd, but has one of the weakest showdowns you’ve ever done seen, pardner. “The Three Marias” isn’t a bad flick; it just isn’t all it could’ve been.

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