It is awfully easy to dismiss Coco Martin’s directorial debut as a noisy, corny, and often nonsensical piece of spectacle. It is even easier to just give all the awards to a more respectable film in the lineup, like the musical Ang Larawan. But that would be ignoring how undeniably entertaining the film is, warts and all. And that wouldn’t be giving enough credit to the weird bits of subversion that the movie sneaks into its ridiculous, blockbuster nonsense. How about the rap battle about the rights of informal settlers? How about the gay coming out subplot that feels like a direct commentary on the machismo that the movie itself employs? Or how about just the infectious passion for the project that Coco Martin emits in every single frame of the film? This film breaks a lot of the rules that people might associate with ‘good’ cinema, but it does so with an earnest yearning to entertain, and a mad enthusiasm for everything happening on screen. It’s a rambunctious film that deserves serious consideration.


Okay, so “best” might not be the most accurate term here, but one cannot deny the strange magnetism that Jake Cuenca exhibits as the villain of this version of Ang Panday. Cuenca really commits to the name “Lizardo,” and delivers a completely reptilian performance that is wholly engrossing and completely appropriate to the madness that the film at large exhibits. And he does all this while exhibiting an aversion to buttoning his shirt up all the way. That’s kind of acting, too.

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