Torrente, el brazo tonto de la ley

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Torrente, el brazo tonto de la ley
Torrente 1 dvd cover.jpg
Directed bySantiago Segura
Produced byAndrés Vicente Gómez
Written bySantiago Segura
StarringSantiago Segura
Javier Bardem
Javier Cámara
Tony Leblanc
Neus Asensi
CinematographyCarles Gusi
Edited byFidel Collados
Release date
  • 1998 (1998)
Running time
97 min.
Budget280,000,000 PST
Box office1.500.000.000 PST

Torrente, el brazo tonto de la ley (Spanish for Torrente, the dumb arm of the law) is a 1998 Spanish dark comedy written, directed by and starring Santiago Segura and produced by Lolafilms. Characterized by its deliberately thick, cartoonish humor, it had a positive reception from the public and critics, making Torrente part of Spanish contemporary popular culture.

The title is a parody of Cobra, el brazo fuerte de la ley (Cobra, the strong arm of the law), the title that was used in Spain for the 1986 film Sylvester Stallone-starred film Cobra.

This film won two Goya awards and it became the highest-grossing film in the history of Spanish cinema, later surpassed by its sequel, (Torrente 2: Misión en Marbella), it also laid the foundations of the Torrente film series by Santiago Segura, who also directed the sequel, the third (Torrente 3: El protector), the fourth (Torrente 4: Lethal Crisis) and fifth (Torrente 5: Operación Eurovegas) films. These last two were shot in stereoscopic 3D.


José Luis Torrente is a lazy, rude, drunkard, sexist, racist, right-wing ex-policeman turned fake cop who lives in a decrepit apartment in a slum neighbourhood of Madrid with his wheelchair-bound father, whose disability checks are Torrente's only real income.

One day, a new family of neighbours which owns and operates a fish store moves into the apartment below Torrente's and he becomes attracted to the young, nymphomaniac niece of the family, Amparo. In order to get close to her, he befriends her nerdy weapon enthusiast cousin, Rafi, by taking him to target practice and on his nightly patrol rounds through the neighbourhood. During their patrols, Torrente begins to suspect that criminal activity is occurring in the new local Chinese restaurant, his suspicions are confirmed when his father accidentally overdoses after eating a stolen food roll which was filled with packets of heroin. Torrente decides to crack the drug ring in order to regain his former status within the Police Force.

Simultaneously, Torrente successfully attempts to seduce Amparo, who has sex with him after his father's overdose. Amparo's aunt, Reme, misreads her relationship with Torrente and believes that they are engaged.

Torrente and Rafi sneak into the restaurant at night and witness El Francés, the underboss of the drug trafficking outfit run by a mobster named Mendoza, torturing and executing a delivery boy named Wang, who had lost a shipment of the heroin (which in reality was unwittingly taken by Torrente's father) and they overhear that the outfit will soon be receiving a major drug shipment from a mobster known as Farelli; the pair accidentally make their presence known and flee the restaurant on Rafi's fish delivery van while being chased by armed delivery boys.

Torrente enlists the help of Rafi's equally nerdy friends: Malaguita, a martial artist, Bombilla, an electronics expert, and Toneti, a James Bond aficionado; the crew picks up Torrente's father from the hospital (while drunk) and then prepare a reconnaissance mission to discover the location of the drug deal. Toneti goes to the Chinese restaurant while wearing a wire but quickly blows his cover and winds up revealing Torrente's name to El Francés before trying to escape through a window and falling to his death.

El Francés and some of his goons raid Torrente's apartment but are attacked by Torrente's father, who wields a taser and some pliers, before the father suffers a heart attack and plummets down a flight of stairs. Nonetheless, they kidnap Amparo when she arrived to the apartment looking for Torrente.

After discovering his father's death and Amparo's kidnapping, Torrente becomes despondent but soon after Lio-Chii, Wang's girlfriend and a waitress at the Chinese restaurant who had once waited on a drunken Torrente, arrives and reveals the location of the drug deal, claiming she wants revenge for her boyfriend's death.

Torrente, Rafi, Malaguita, Bombilla, Lio-Chii and Torrente's friend and informant Carlitos head over to the drug deal on an old warehouse outside town; the crew plan a very complex plot to bring down the deal and take the 50 million pesetas that Mendoza brought but the plan goes raw from the start when Bombita accidentally blows himself and Farelli up with a bomb he'd set up as a distraction. Farelli's men and Mendoza's men begin shooting at each other and in the aftermath, most of the mobsters and Carlitos end up dead. Torrente guns down El Francés and ends up getting shot in the stomach himself, while Rafi goes to rescue Amparo (who had been providing oral service to Mendoza's men in a back room). Rafi gets cornered by Mendoza but he's rescued when Lio-Chii shoots him in the back.

In the aftermath of the shootout, Rafi and Malaguita get congratulated by police commissioner Cayetano for helping in bringing down one of the most vicious local drug rings and Rafi begins a relationship with Lio-Chii. Torrente gets taken away on an ambulance for his wounds. Cayetano sweeps the scene and discovers that the money is gone. In the ambulance speeding away, Torrente bribes the ambulance drivers (played by the comedy duo Faemino y Cansado) and flees to Torremolinos with the 50 million pesetas that he swiped while no one was watching.



Project and influences[edit]

Segura decided to make his first film during the filming of The Day of the Beast, while preparing the final scene; as an actor believed there was enough drama to provoke pity when your character dies, de la Iglesia ignored him and realized that to do what you want with the characters, you have to handle. Segura's debut shows many influences of Spanish comedy, and a risky handling of humor; the most recognizable is perhaps the berlanguiana influence, we can even venture the reference of certain nods to Luis Buñuel, and his partner, the Mexican Luis Alcoriza. Santiago Segura resurrected the popular comedy doing a tribute to the films of Alfredo Landa, Mariano Ozores and company.

The main character, José Luis Torrente, came during a lunch Segura own in a Chinese restaurant, where I saw a client who was so rude to the waitress and relatives who had lunch with him felt ashamed, but had already begun to cultivate while studying Fine Arts at the Complutense University of Madrid, to not link anything with her companions; the character he imbibed as despicable beings and egotistical as Quo vadis?, Nero Chief Wiggum from The Simpsons or the character of Orson Welles in The Third Man. Felipe Torrente is based on Tony Leblanc, actor who plays him, the actor suffered a traffic accident that left him disabled.


Santiago Segura reserved the title role, he had great successes in the cast as Neus Asensi, Jimmy Barnatán and, above all, Javier Camara; in addition to the idea of "reviving" the great Tony Leblanc, who had retired 23 years. They play in their favor numerous cameos of actors (Jorge Sanz, Gabino Diego, Javier Bardem), familiar faces (Poli Diaz, Pepe Navarro, Cañita Brava) 2 and humorists like Andreu Buenafuente (which has the same role in Sunday 4 movies), El Gran Wyoming (Commissioner) or the comedy duo Faemino and Tired (stretcher), they have also collaborated major TV actors like Santiago Urrialde and Pablo Carbonell, and directors such as Guillermo del Toro. The shooting of the film took place on July 28, 1997 to September 23 in different localities of the Community of Madrid, among which are Leganés, Móstoles, Navacerrada, San Sebastián de los Reyes and the capital of the community.


Some of the keys to the song from the movie, "Apatrullando la ciudad" succeed were: first the surprise effect, the imposing symphonic heard after the start of two-time Goya Award winner Roque Banos; then the letter, which also contrasts with the action; and finally, that El Fary is autoparodiase. In addition another song from singer appears, "Torito Bravo".


Theatrical release[edit]

The film released in Spain on March 13, 1998.

Home media[edit]

The DVD of the film was put on sale on January 21, 2000 and was distributed by Manga Films, it is full of faults, but his greatest problems lies in the color reproduction, presented completely off. On November 25, 2008 to mark the tenth anniversary of the theatrical release, a remastered version was released by Warner Home Video, and observed an improvement in the color of the image and a better definition in the forms of the objects are made and characters; also it contains two posters and three pictures, small, film chosen by the director. This remastering was integrated into the special tenth anniversary pack in which three films appear.


Its success has also given on television, its premiere earned a 31.1% share, the third Spanish film of the decade, second only to Abuelo Made in Spain and Torrente 2: Misión en Marbella (the sequel).


Critical reception[edit]

Criticism welcomes this first, some more enthusiastically than others, but most see it as a parody starring in the time of the unveiling by Andrés Pajares and Fernando Esteso, among other things. Cinéphiles abundant quotations containing exaggerated ridicule and character seem to confirm this, but this romance with criticism at the lower quality end of the later works. Luis Garcia Berlanga said, "The film contains a great gag that perfectly defines the Spanish character: layered in the bar, Torrente picks his teeth with a toothpick ... who then left to the toothpick".

Box office[edit]

Its premiere took place on March 13, 1998 with 130 copies; the good acceptance of the public made in July were still showing 76 copies. He became a social phenomenon and reached the mythical barrier of three million viewers. Santiago Segura has become one of the most popular characters in Spain, he developed an ingenious task of promoting his first film, ensuring a permanent presence in specialized media film. The film managed to cope with big budget films like Titanic.

The reason for this success is the commitment of making sure Segura, youth, creating a patriotic icon celluloid, which many do not like, knowing how easily connect with young people in large urban middle layers that now make up the core fundamentals of film audiences in Spain. A major success, however, also a handful of critics were won by his humor, sometimes vulgar and excessive.


The film, according to IMDB, 16, won five awards, including two of the three Goya awards for which she was nominated; when Tony Leblanc went to collect his, as best supporting actor, the audience stood up and greeted him with a standing ovation, also dedicated to Segura responsible for his comeback. This, in turn, upon being granted the award for best new director was to pay 100,000 pesetas Javier Fesser who had bet with him, convinced that the winner was to be the director of The Miracle of P. Tinto.


In 1998, Segura himself as a writer and as an artist Jose Antonio Calvo published a comic adaptation of the film in the magazine in 2001. Virtual Toys Víbora. Performs Torrente PC game: The game based on the first two installments of the saga and, in 2005, along with Virgin Play, Torrente 3: El protector, based on the third part, PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Safe lent his image and voice to videogame. In late 2009 Santiago Segura, along with Ludicus a gaming company, decide to take a slot machine set in the movies of the character new in the sector.

Many films have subsequently inspired Torrente, R2 and the case of the headless corpse or Vivancos, if you like do the first two, but achieve less success, or public or crítica. Is also preparing an American remake that would be produced by Chris Bender and could be directed by Oliver Stone, who made a cameo in the third installment of the saga. Finally has announced that New Line Cinema will produce the film and the writers will Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer and David Mandel, known for the series Seinfeld, and the main character will be played by Sacha Baron Cohen; the filming will take place in Spain. Thomas Langman, the son of Claude Berri, he was also interested through his company La Petite Reine for a remake in France.

External links[edit]