Filipino crime thriller inspired by a real-life scandal in which prison inmates are temporarily released from prison to work as contract killers on behalf of politicians and high ranking military officials.
Jose Rizal's life and works are recounted through a series of non-linear flashbacks which reflect on various aspects of his life - as writer, propagandist, lover, friend, brother, doctor, and the man that inspired a revolution.
Before the film was shown, Tikoy Aguiluz requested the producers, through his lawyers, that his directorial credits in the film and promotional tools be removed because the final version of the film can no longer be described as his after the producers made a reedit, re-shoot and music mixing without his involvement. He also demanded that he be allowed to make a director's cut of the film. See more »
Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story wants to recapture the old style of filmmaking. At first glance, I thought it looks pretentious because of the black and white color. But it turns out to be a beautiful aspect to the film. The only thing that stumbles here is the storytelling. It paces to quick and the editing is kinda choppy. Although it has some solid performances and the action is pretty entertaining. Manila Kingpin is still watchable. The cinematography just made it better.
Manila Kingpin is suppose to be a relic. Wants to bring back the old filmmaking. Some parts gives its tone but mostly it doesn't. The storytelling has its missteps. It paces too quick and skips some events. The directing is kind of impressive though. Scenes are nicely shot and every sequence was well played. The acting, Jorge Estregan was fairly good in this film. It's not quite a nuance though but he really nails it when he's holding the guns. Phillip Salvador does his thing but what's fascinating is he looks great in black and white. The rest of the cast also did good and gave some personality to their roles.
The drama can be great for some reason although it tells the story in a sort of messy way but the action never fails to be enjoyable. It's well directed. Though, the editing may jumble some of its sequence and the action doesn't run that long. The kalesa gunfight scene is going to be remembered to the Philippine Cinema. The best thing here is the cinematography. It doesn't only made the picture black and white but it also gives great effect to the aspect. For example: Phillip Salvador's face. These elements made this more than an action drama.
Manila Kingpin is sort of messed up in some parts but it's mostly a satisfying picture to see in MMFF this year. We don't get to see Filipino films like this anymore. Since the Filipino cinema is now plodded with romance, boring horror films, drama cookie-cutter, and comedies played by drag. Manila Kingpin is strongly recommended. It's good to see a Filipino film like this. They say there will be a Director's Cut DVD of this film. I will be looking forward to that soon.
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