The Mambo Kings
A.k.a. The Last Stand of Armand Assante. Seriously, where has this guy been? (Judge Dredd?) The film (based on Oscar Hijuelos’ Pulitzer Prize-winning novel), about musician brothers who leave Cuba to become mambo stars in 1950s Manhattan, was Assante’s last major film work. And what a performance he gives — it’s smoldering, it’s sexy, it’s…Latin (in actuality, he’s Irish-Italian). Alongside the over-the-top Assante is a baby-faced Banderas, giving his first performance in English (speaking his lines phonetically!). EXTRAS A dated making-of featurette, a lone restored scene that explains what happened to Cathy Moriarty’s character, and director Arne Glimcher’s saliva-encumbered commentary — from which we do learn that the studio, originally hesitant to release a Latin film, wanted to cast Jeremy Irons and Ray Liotta in the leads. ¡Qué no!