• Wendy Shreve


Updated: May 25, 2021

Bombarded with negative or stereotypical imagery of life in Colombia, the opening salvo of Blast Beat (2021) involves the only weapons available to two brothers who wish to leave their mark, spray cans.

The younger brother, Mateo (Moises Arias) instigates trouble whereas the older brother, Carly (Mateo Arias), a.k.a. Metalhead (hence the title meaning a beat used in extreme metal music), has a brilliant, creative scientific mind that he hopes to employ in a laboratory. When their parents (Wilmer Valderrama, NCIS; Diane Guerrero) decide to move to the States to give their sons better opportunities, their plans hit several snags.

Chaotic, hand-held camera work opens with the accompanying music to solidify the mood. Local police, ever-menacing, try in vain to capture the graffiti “vandals” but these boys have the street smarts to elude authorities. In another environment, Georgia, their over-confidence becomes tempered by reality and the visual landscape, mood music transition to demonstrate the dramatic turn-around.

All the main players perform with energy, heart, but its Moises Arias whose tortured Mateo can’t fit into any mold, whether it be in Colombia or his new home. Yet, his character evolves in surprising ways.

Writer/Director Esteban Arango (he shares screenplay credit with Erick Castrillon) captures the ups and downs of immigrant life—struggles with language, culture and identity—but some may find Mateo’s character too hyperkinetic (and his taste in music) to their tastes. All in all, Blast Beat has much appeal, especially for young audiences and those who share the American Dream. But does it work for everyone?

Unrated. Fights, bodily fluids and some language. English/Spanish (subtitled)

Available in theaters and VOD (Video On Demand) May 21, 2021

Earlier reviews are also available on

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