LALIFF 2024 Coverage Part 1
June 4, 2024
LALIFF 2024 Coverage, Days 3-5
June 5, 2024

“LALIFF’s Big Unexpected Surprise”(Movie Review.)

by Rosa Parra

The most outstanding film at this year’s LALIFF was “The Unexpecteds,” written and directed by Alejandro Montoya Marin.

The movie revolves around a group of friends who are scammed and must find a way to recover their money. It features a talented cast that includes Matt Walsh, Alejandro de Hoyos, Francisco Ramos, Chelsea Rendon, Sonya Smith, John Kaler, Jason Konopisos and Gerry Bednob.

Pictured left to right, actor John Kaler and writer/director Alejandro Montoya Marin.

Metal Mike, portrayed by Kaler, is an influencer whose primary role is to persuade his followers to invest money in his get-rich-quick scheme. Gary (played by Walsh), Pati (Rendon), Carl (Ramos), and Kurt (Bednob) realize that all their hard-earned money has vanished after they are deceived by Metal Mike, who initially appeared to be heartless and ruthless. As a result, Carl comes up with a plan that could help his friends get their money back – by seeking the assistance of his estranged father, Felipe (De Hoyos).

The film is action-packed, funny and an unfortunate reality check to what so many people have suffered. Recently, we’ve learned of religious leaders scamming their followers and YouTubers promoting items and/or a lifestyle that leads to luxury, but instead leads to nowhere.

The Unexpecteds features a talented cast that includes Matt Walsh as Gary, a man who has lost it all now scheming to get it back.

Montoya Marin displays his talents in the script and direction. There are various funny moments between the friends that aid in the silliness of a serious matter. It helps that the actors have impeccable comedic timing. The action sequences are reminiscent of “John Wick” and “Mission: Impossible,” and they are further accentuated by the sharp editing. Along with the directing, acting and stunt work, the editing is also a highlight. It’s quick and responsible for the fast and fluent pacing that makes the movie entertaining and engaging.

The stories vary from a mother(Chelsea Rendon, pictured left,) trying to do everything she can for her child to a fractured father and son relationship. There’s a man attempting to earn his wife’s trust back and an older man who doesn’t have too much to lose but has health issues.

All are great to watch unfold, but The father and son (Felipe and Carl, respectively) stood out. Felipe(Alejandro de Hoyos, pictured left,} is a Latino James Bond with stunning looks and top-tier fighting skills. He carries himself with such confidence and slickness that it left me wanting to know his origin story.

Metal Mike is simply the face puppeteered by the mastermind Jordan (Jason Konopisos, pictured left.)—an ambitious, power-hungry man who wants money and is willing to do anything to obtain it. Jordan is a conventional antagonist who manages to earn the hate of the viewers. And seeing his treatment towards Metal Mike adds a little complexity to the influencer, who has no other option but to do what he’s told.

The dynamic between the friends is relatable, and their intimate moments are entertaining.

Overall, “The Unexpecteds” is a fun, action-packed heist film driven with heart and executed with its unapologetic director vision. Montoya Marin is a creative filmmaker who leaves me wondering what he can produce with a higher budget.