Once again, the MMFF season is upon us in this part of the world. That is when most Hollywood and other foreign releases are blocked to give way for local producers to
bilk a captive market dry wheel out big-budget productions guaranteed to pull the family crowd.
This year, Regal Films decides to give its traditional horror three-piece Shake Rattle & Roll a rest, while Bong Revilla opts to divert funds intended to produce another Panday installment toward the relief of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) victims.
While the Philippine box-office may be dominated by the Vic Sotto-Kris Aquino comedy My Little Bossings (aka child abuse with the Presidential Seal Of Approval), there are two productions that definitely caught my attention.
10,000 Hours and Boy Golden.
At first, Boy Golden comes off as yet another gang-land revenge drama of the kind lead star Jeorge Estregan’s dad and uncle used to churn out back in the day.
Jeorge plays Arturo Porcuna, the notorious leader of the Bahala Na Gang which has gripped Manila headlines at a time when Mandaluyong was large patches of cogon fields. Porcuna survives an attack by a rival gang led by Tony Razon (a cool-as-a-cucumber John Estrada); he then gains the underworld nickname “Anino” (shadow). He crosses paths with club dancer Marlady (KC Concepcion in total Megan Fox mode) as they were sharing a common target, a failed lawyer working for Razon’s gang (advantage KC). Together, they blaze a trail that leads straight to a confrontation with Razon and his henchmen (including a sweet old lady named Nanay Puring).
It plays with the tropes patented in Joseph Estrada’s Asiong Salonga flicks and their imitators (cowboy-themed sock hop – check!) while flirting with its Hollywood and Hong Kong counterparts (check the Untouchables tribute opening the film). The leads – along with the supporting cast, including veteran Eddie Garcia, Baron Geisler and a somewhat subdued John Lapuz – appear to have so much fun, what with production design that captures a very authentically Pinoy ’60s feel. The fights – partially choreographed by Thai and Chinese experts – are equally awesome; KC Concepcion should definitely do more action-oriented movies as she can pull them off credibly. Chito Roño’s film provides copious bloodshed as well as graphic cursing and even a brief sex scene – a welcome surprise given that the MMFF tends to prioritise family-oriented attractions.