Following well-known narrative tropes, Los fierros focuses on motorcycle racer Federico’s life after jail. We see his desire to have a normal life as the realities of his past come back to haunt him. He returns to his dysfunctional family, who have dramas of their own, and tries to reconnect with his loving mother, his disapproving stepfather, and his adoring younger brother.
It isn’t long before Federico goes back to making the terrible decisions that initially landed him in trouble – in part, due to an old debt that his brother has to a local gangster. Before he knows it, he’s racing motorcycles again, this time to protect the family that he loves.
The plot follows so many familiar themes that at times it’s easy to guess what’s going to happen. The story focuses on a trite tale of redemption gone wrong, and even its surprise ending does little to save the film from the boredom that plagues the previous 80 minutes.
The accents of the characters are one of the few clues as to where the story is set, although it’s obvious that it takes place in Colombia. The characters always refer to it as “El pueblo” but there’s never a clear revelation of where and when this situation is taking place. Was the intention to make the story more universal? If so, it backfired.
There are so many generalities, at so many levels, that it’s up to the viewer to make assumptions about the back story or motivations of most of the characters. The funny thing is, most of these assumptions are correct. The filmmakers rely heavily on the public’s ability to recognise these clichés in order to understand why the characters behave the way they do.
The weight of the movie is carried by Alejandro Buitrago, whose honest and emotional portrayal of Federico, is the highlight of the movie. His experience in similar productions helps him understand the character on a different level and he brings a characterisation that is both fun and refreshing to watch.
But not even his best efforts can save the movie from incredibly awkward moments, especially when it comes to the plotline surrounding his love interest. It’s so undercooked that at moments, it feels as if even the actors themselves are calling into question the plot’s plausibility.
The film shares a lot of similarities with some current TV productions, which might be because the same production companies are involved in making the movie. Los fierros fails to become the compelling and complex drama it wants to be, though maybe this particular plot with these particular characters would have done better as a Netflix show. With a little more time, the characters may have felt more mature and the plot could have developed at a more reasonable pace. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and Los fierros failed to deliver by any measure.
Los fierros opens in Colombian theatres today