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 »
If you don't know who's Asiong yet and don't want to read his biography on the web, I won't spoil you. Just know that this movie is only based on him and not 100% real.
First of all, I really feel bad for the Philippine Movie Industry. This film has won major movie awards locally and praised for all the wrong reasons. If you're really a fan of Hollywood blockbusters, you'll be disappointed
First off: "Best in Cinematography". I'm 50/50 on this. There were good camera angles. But since it's in B&W, there were some scenes where I just would like to scream "Turn on the lights!" or "Open some windows!".
"Best Editing". Nope. There was one scene where Asiong was crying while reading a letter. And then it cut to a love scene. And then back to him weeping. Editing of the Year, huh?
"Best Director". There were a lot of talented actors in this film like John Regala, Baron Geisler, Ronnie Lazaro, Yul Servo, hell, even Ketchup Eusebio. But if you can't help the main character in his acting skills, you don't deserve to win this award. Which brings me to the next one...
"Best Actor". I tried. I really tried. At first I was giving him a free pass because maybe it's just because the fight choreography sucked. But then I heard him speak/whisper. And ear excruciating dialog delivery. This man is a half older than the man he tries to portray. He looked like a 50 year old couch potato who tries to look for a 5 minute exercise on the shadow boxing scene. And in terms of facial expressions, he's the male Kristen Stewart of the Philippines. Note to producers: "Just because he portrayed Asiong 21 years ago, doesn't mean he should be him again".
"Best Production Designer". The set was nostalgic. So maybe it really deserves this award. One thing that was funny though was that wooden tables became barricades in gun fights. Whoops!
"Movie Musical Scorer of the Year". Nnnnnope. A lot of melodramatic music in the film even in parts where it doesn't need to be there. Totoy Golem playing pool had sad then terrifying music. He was trying to make a corner pocket dammit!
"Best Supporting Actor". I say yes. And I do feel Baron Geisler deserves his own lead actor role in a Film Festival movie. I just feel bad for Ping Medina and Yul Servo. Wasted actors given ridiculous lines in the movie. My favorite worst few lines by a good actor: "Domeng.... Si Asiong... Si Totoy Golem... Si Erning..... Si Asiong."
Did I mention that the direction/fight choreography was awful? Knife battles had a dramatic Samurai Battle ending. In one of the gun fights, Asiong blasts through a door in front of 5-10 armed men shooting at him and he just struts for a good 3 seconds before shooting somebody. During the stand off with Pepeng Hapon, about 10 shots were fired by each men and none hit. They were literally a few meters from each other. Near the end, a man gets shot in the arm and looked almost dying while Domeng gets shot in the shoulder and shrugs it off.
All in all, you can't take this movie seriously. If you've reached all the way through this paragraph then you have been warned. Take a laugh every once in a while (especially on the bicycle drive by scene) while watching this and maybe it wouldn't be so bad.
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