Anyone who goes into the boxing biopic El Inca cold, thinking it's going to be another crowd-pleasing tale of a palooka who goes through the usual personal and professional hardships before becoming one of the best fighters in the game, is in for a shock. Turns out, this guy was truly a piece of shit.
Yes, Edwin "El Inca" Valero (played by Alexander Leterni) was a boxing powerhouse, winning every fight of his brief career by knockout. But he also admitted to killing his wife (Scarlett Jaimes) before taking his own life in his jail cell. In the first half, El Inca goes through all the boxer-moxie cliches: struggling and surviving on the mean streets, this time in Venezuela; serving a brief jail stint for petty crime; the injury that almost ends the career, in this case a motorcycle accident that fractured Valero's skull. Thankfully, his beloved is always there for him.
We see his dark side emerge as the unbeatable fighter is on his winning streak. He gets paranoid and possessive to the point that he beats down a dude who has small talk with his girl. (Never mind that his coked-up ass has a side piece.)
Telling the story over a choppy-but-elongated two hours-and-some change, writer-director Ignacio Castillo Cottin gives us a tepid, troubling portrait of a champion fighter that's more unsettling than rousing. You may wonder why Cottin took the time to make a movie about such an unsympathetic, uncompelling figure. He might've thought he had his own Raging Bull on his hands. But even though Jake LaMotta was no saint, he was far more fascinating than this psycho fucker.