Manny Perez makes his directorial debut with the new action thriller La Soga Salvation, for which he is also the writer, producer, and star. While this is a follow-up to the 2009 film, La Soga, it is not strictly necessary to have seen the first movie to enjoy this one as this one is a well-made stand-alone film with a fair amount of action and a heartwarming love story at the center. The first movie is currently, as I write this, available for free (with ads), so if you wanted to see La Soga before Salvation, all you need is the internet. I went the reverse route and watched the second movie first and currently have the first movie on pause about halfway through while I write this (since the movie is largely in Spanish, like the second movie, and I need to read the subtitles); so far, I do not think my viewing of the second movie would have been greatly enhanced by seeing the first (sure, the news exposition and starting plot point at the start of the second movie may have spoiled the rest of the first, but I will live).
At the start of this new movie, Luisito (Perez; Third Watch, Homeland, La Soga) is now retired trying to put his hitman days behind him and live a quiet life in a peaceful seaside town with his girlfriend Lia (Sarah Jorge Leon; Lotoman, La Siete Muertes). He works, attends church, and is learning English. He has a rooster… and neighbors that despise the rooster. Like most other retired-hitman movies, naturally, his past catches up to him, putting Lia’s life in danger and drawing “La Soga” (Luisito’s hitman alter ego) back into the game.
Initially, it is a criminal contractor, who is revealed to have killed his previous girlfriend, that kidnaps Lia so that Luisito will take out a powerful Dominican drug lord. However, a third party, a mysterious female assassin, muddies the waters while seeking revenge against somebody for something (don’t want to spoil too much). Flashbacks are used to show key moments in the development of Luisito and Lia’s relationship, which adds to both the character development and tension.
Overall, I would recommend this movie. As I write this paragraph, I have finished the first movie and I will admit there were some things about the new movie that I would have appreciated a little more (some continuity), but I am also now wondering if the script was written with Jenny in mind but they were unable to get the actress back (leading to her character being written off unceremoniously). Anyway, I still say this movie was enjoyable as a stand-alone film with a decent premise, great acting, some humorous comic relief, and nice cinematography. The ending is brutal but has potential to lead into what could be a far more action-packed third entry (which I would be interested in seeing).