Indio’s gimmick is to combine a save-the-rain-forest message with a basic one-man-army action flick. If that seems like a lot to ask from a genre known mostly for macho posturing and reactionary sentiments, it is. Despite its trendy sheep’s clothing, Indio is just another wolf.
A half-breed American Marine (Francesco Quinn, Anthony’s son) returns to his primitive mazon village to find it leveled and his chieftain father killed by the minions of evil land developer Brian Dennehy (who wears a Yankees cap as if to implicate George Steinbrenner in environmental destruction). In no time, Quinn has stripped down to bare-chested warrior togs, filled the jungle with booby traps, and taken on the Uzi-toting goons armed only with a blowgun.
Every so often the action stops dead so the characters can deliver canned bromides about the environment. (And the tape’s distributor is supporting those sentiments by donating 50 cents of every cassette sold to the Rain Forest Alliance.) But the obvious joy the filmmakers take in blowing things up obscures the message. The complex truth of the situation — Brazilian ranchers and gold miners are responsible for much of the environmental damage — is avoided for a cliched evil-Americans-versus-childlike-savages approach.
Viewed as a low-budget Rambo knockoff, Indio is a reasonably watchable action flick. Still, the mentality on displaced here — that real men solve conflicts with the application of maximum firepower — isn’t part of any environmental solution; it’s part of the problem. Indio is an exploitation movie in more ways than one.