Anti-crime crusader Lilia Chiong Yang seems to have everything a woman could want and need: a husband who pampers her; children whom any parent would be proud of; and the respect & ... See full summary »
Anti-crime crusader Lilia Chiong Yang seems to have everything a woman could want and need: a husband who pampers her; children whom any parent would be proud of; and the respect & admiration of the most powerful people in the land. But just as Lilia prepares for her 25th wedding anniversary celebration, a chance encounter in Thailand with her first love Michael throws Lilia's life into chaos. So begins the resumption of a relationship that threatens to unravel the delicate threads connecting Lilia to the other people in her life. Written by
A wealthy Chinese businesswoman reunites with a former lover who tries to rekindle their romance. But she's reluctant to leave her husband..
Vilma Santos plays the prominent businesswoman who is widely admired and respected in Manila's Chinatown. Christopher Deleon is her former lover. Jay Manalo, as the clueless husband, completes the triangle.
Mano Po 4 isn't a movie about the Filipino Chinese community. It's just another typical Vilma Santos movie that has her reciting a litany of lines that had been written with hopes that they would be added to her gallery of overwrought dramatic scenes. She's given one big scene that requires her to scream for help after a car mishap in a deserted street in the dead of night. She's done this before, several times.
She even has a big Meryl Streep scene that has her shamelessly aping Streep's moving scene in the car from The Bridges of Madison County. But audiences aren't moved by Santos since it's just Santos trying to outdo Streep. For Santos, that means overacting it to the hilt.
Christopher Deleon gives his trademark hammy performance. His acting is more mannered than ever. These two veterans ought to get acting lessons from Jay Manalo. He doesn't need talky dialog or histrionics to get the quiet anguish of the husband across. And still he looks much too young to play Santos' husband. (They were supposed to be high school sweethearts!) The film is dominated by talky scenes. It doesn't seem to go anywhere, not specially under the unimaginative direction of Joel Lamangan.
Even the script's attempt at being socially relevant is forced. Santos, as the leading businesswoman in the Chinese community, is a staunch activist who publicly bewails the crimes being committed against Chinese businessmen (kidnapping, extortion). With the way this angle is sloppily handled, the "relevance" tastes like bad medicine. It doesn't taste good and it doesn't do anything to cure the flaws of this movie. Not even if it's forced fed on us.
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