BuyBust (2018) Poster

(2018)

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9/10
Go Philippines action movie go !
phanthinga12 May 2019
BuyBust is my first exposure to the cinema industry of the Philippines and I gotta say your guys just earn another follower thank to this brutal "Die Hard in a Slum" movie. I see many people often compared BuyBust to The Raid a fantastic action movie from Indonesia in a distasteful manner and I wholeheartedly agree with them about how cliche and boring the plot is but not the action. If The Raid shock people with how well choreographed the brutal fight in Pencak Silat style then for about 1h 50 min of the pure chaotic and merciless street fight of BuyBust will do the same. I absolutely love Anne Curtis and Brandon Vera so I hope this is not the last time I see them together
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3/10
Hmmm
matt_cruz7 August 2018
Production Design was great. Scoring was irritating. Shots were irritating that you couldn't even see the choreo anymore. Extras were bad. Concept and story was great but was too draggy. You can easily make it less boring if you cut out a few parts.
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7/10
BuyBust (2018) - The Inhumane World of Drugs Warning: Spoilers
The altered world of Erik Matti's BuyBust is visually stunning and thought provoking, hitting on President Duterte's drug on war in the Philippines. Two years in the making, but kind of lacks truth on its depiction of the lower class people. That two years is put too much on the visual and aesthetics action sequences of the film. In the Philippines action films is not getting produce that much because of budget issues, but this year we are lucky to have Buy Bust. It is still worth the wait.

BuyBust is about an anti-drug enforcement agency that stages a massive drug bust in the slums of Manila. It tackles the issues about extrajudicial killings during Duterte's drug on war. It shows those people who gets affected with it. It asks the question "Is it the system or Is it us?". Obviously, the film is pure fiction it is not really showcasing what's happening, but a theory or an exaggerated fictionalized world. This situation can or may happen, but not yet. The downside of the film is its underdeveloped characters specifically the PDEA squad. The killings don't matter at all because you don't know these people and you cannot feel them. There are particular scenes that can be more heartfelt and memorable if the characters were just flesh out a bit, like the relationship of Alda (Sheenly Gener) and Bernie (Victor Neri) who are married to each other their death should have been a tearjerker sequence.

The lower class people who is in the middle of the crossfire is not humanized, they become a tool or a visual style for the director. We cannot see what do they really want - is it war or to fix the system? It's unclear because of their contradicting actions.

BuyBust was good, but it should have been better. I understand the intention and choice of director Erik Matti to make the film an hour long non-stop action sequences, like blue-printed from Mad Max: Furry Road, but as the story progress it gets lost in the action, but the third act saves the film. I like BuyBust more when it's silent and talkie, rather than its action scenes.
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5/10
overrated and senseless slaughter
alexanderstromer4 August 2018
Imitating the basic storyline of "The Raid" does not give you a good movie and this is the best example of that.

First let's have a look at the good aspects of it: 1. Pictures, Scenes, Camera are well done. Especially the 3 min one-shot action scene almost at the end is a highlight. 2. Brandon Vera did a good job, not only in martial art (he has MMA background), but also the best acting in the cast. 3. Gore scenes are splendidly done

Bad (everything else): 1. The build-up of the movie takes far too long, 30 min+ for introduction, walking talking non-essential. 2. The whole movie feels like it wants to waste time in general where the director did not know how to squeeze more time out of it. Chase, wait, walking scenes take too long. 3. The main cast (Anne Curtis) has not prepared enough for this flick. Her character is a drug agent with gun skills, yet she chooses to use hand-combat (which looks staged) against muscled up men. Holds a gun in front of enemies so close you can already punch it away. She ties her hair only half into the movie, just to look cool in the first half. Her acting is wooden (expressionless face), has no charisma and general non-leading behavior. Is able to unrealistically beat a whole mob with hand to hand combat and escapes miraculously. She steps up when needed, but thats about it. I would have preferred Brandon Vera being the lead and she is the sidekick. 4. Story: look, when you make a movie, the story should not be explainable within 3 sentences. There happens to be a twist but its not really that hard of a shocker. 5. Civilians: Since when are civilians running towards gun and like to get slaugthered. Since when are civilians fighting the police? This is just nonsense and made up to have more gunfood. Mindless contribution.

The whole movie is essentially just a gore-heavy flick with a lot of waiting and chasing (especially in the beginning). Nobody has any special skills except Brandon Vera, so this movie has nothing how it can separate itself from other movies. I don't recommend watching this movie as it is like a senseless slaughter and little to no-fun lines. Non-memorable
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3/10
Dreadful action film
ChocOrange_20 December 2018
There's plenty of incredibly badly choreographed action in this non-stop action snooze-fest and that's all it has to recommend it. OK, it does have one long-take that passes for reasonable but that's probably because the rest is just so shockingly bad.

Reviews are comparing it to the Raid films. Don't believe them. The director of this is talentless compared to The Raid films' Gareth Evans and his incredible crew of stuntmen.

Give it a miss.
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1/10
Good Story but Camera is TOO SHAKEY
leonardrealon14 August 2018
The movie is full of action and so as the camera. Its like they have a palsied hand camera man. Out of 100% action scene, only saw 5% of it. It gives me a headache
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7/10
Erik Matti's not so best but good.
joanacatbagan17 February 2019
A totally credible action flick that's got a lot going on under the hood. Must-see.
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4/10
COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER
chicando_kiel13 August 2018
Warning: Spoilers
SYNOPSIS: An elite team of police operatives must fight their way out of the slum for an overnight survival against the drug syndicate and mad slum dwellers after a supposed drug buy-bust operation went south. Just that.

The GOOD As expected, Erik Matti accomplished in delivering the goods in terms of the technical aspects of the film. In a couple of hours I experienced a cinematic brilliance which is unfortunately a rare commodity in Pinoy movies specially on action flicks, then and now. The visually violent, overly chaotic and dominantly dark ambiance of the film throughout the duration are never a downside; instead I was visually enthralled by the great production design or the entirety of this craft. The realistic creation of a makeshift ghetto-like environs, exceptional (panning) camerawork, clever use of lighting, fiercely choreographed/executed close quarters combats and the application of sporadic torrential rains, are much to my delight. But what really captivated me (though not as a pleasant surprise) was its ambient score, raising more the bar of fascination on the already intense fight scenes as the masterfully orchestrated mixed musical instruments prominently played in the background is an absolute gem. It was indeed quite an engrossing experience.

The BAD While my praises for this movie are aplenty, it is unfortunate that my displeasures are likewise in abundance. This, despite my suspension of disbelief on several scenes, and for it falling "way" short from Erik Matti's internationally-acclaimed masterpiece, "On The Job", contrary to my hope and expectation. Here are "some" of the following:

1. COMEDIC INSERTIONS - While I'm a fan of adding light humor on a serious film for cinematic balance, most of the comedic punchlines here, to me, are "arguably" forced and cheap (presumably to accommodate the "telenovela" crowd). Instead, it made me cringe in dissent rather than provide me the intended comic relief. Take for instance on the opening torture scene. The captured bad guy "pleaded for mercy" from further harm from his captor-policemen, but shortly thereafter after some cheesy dialogues, he changes tune and menacingly "taunt" his "inflictor" turning himself now like a mindless captive. Though subjective, this, to me, is totally unnecessary, aside from defying logic and reason, specially on an opening scene of a seriously-themed movie where momentum can easily be drawn backward instead of the supposed intended direction. Disappointing, at the onset eh! Red flag spotted this early, Direk?!

2. UNDERCOVER COP - In one scene, a covert cop, along with his fellow secret agents, was seen in the busy crowd of bystanders and peddlers at the park where the supposed buy-bust takes place. He is presumed to be undetectable (or so, to say the least), right? Not here, for even an untrained eye can easily spot him on. WHY??? Because he was wearing a scarlet-colored shirt, a white half mask (like surgical mask), a lousy hat, and yes, a pair of sunglasses at nighttime, defeating altogether the ultimate purpose of getting unnoticed by supposedly "blending" well with the crowd. Ain't that a damn giveaway Direk? I learned later, as credit rolls, that you have a number of consultants, including a policeman, but why this glaring blunder? Tsk...tsk.. Whew!

3. DERANGED SLUM DWELLERS? - If you think these elite police operatives will have the exclusivity of adversaries of the drug syndicate here, you are dead wrong because the somehow deranged (and zombie-like) slum dwellers, in less convincing reason, joined the fray appearing (and disappearing) in bunches on sporadic occasions and threw everything within reach, to include the kitchen sink (pun intended) unmindful of a certain death in the process. Just damn bloody chaotic. No more, no less.

4. ACTING - While the actors' portrayals here can easily pass the mark with Erik Matti at the helm, I take particular notice on Anne Curtis' emotional progression as what the story demands. Yes, she was convincing at the start but as the film reaches the 2nd act, where they were fighting for their dear lives after the botched buybust operation unfolds, I felt less sense of emotion of fear on an impending death despite knowing her equally-skilled fellow agents are already dying one by one. She even had a cheesy relaxing moment with her fellow surviving male agent whom she applied first aid care during a brief lull.

5. TIRING - After indulging myself on heavy fight scenes and crafty camerawork, I became less engrossed as the film reaches halfway through as it offers nothing more but tedious shooting, boxing, kicking, stabbing, and the like, all in excess and intemperance, that I even made twice casual visits at the restroom without missing any single significant detail of the film.

6. PLOT TWIST - There's none. The story is devoid of complexity that you can easily foretell way ahead from the very start on how it will end. The futile attempt to have one at the climax, where bosses are revealed to be the rats in the police organization made me grin mischievously rather than freeze myself in utter surprise and disbelief (It doesn't have to be like those films of M. Night Shyamalan, just a bit of "oh i-didn't-see-that-coming" feeling will do). Well, unless if this is part of the humor then I can easily give this a pass (pun intended). Ouch!

My VERDICT There are several claims that this movie is a knockoff of this and that film but to me, this movie is mildly (if not heavily) referenced to the style of the great Quintin Tarantino. It also has the touch of the Coen brothers' approach. And if you just watched Deadpool 2, then you can easily tell Erik Matti, "gotya, Direk!) To sum it up, on entertainment value this movie is just watchable, though it has the potential to be at par with its predecessor, "On The Job". Just keep your hopes and expectations low...and yes, you must suspend disbelief, and you're good to go.

Just my two cents.
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9/10
What's surprises me 😍
saraginajp14 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Platform: watched through Netflix! Date Wathed: 13/01/19

Intro: i must say this movie was so underratedand was not appreciated by many. that is why i'm posting this review. i'll be honest, i did not expect too much from it. let's just say that it's because number 1) it's been a long time since i last watched or they last an action movie, 2) i am judgmental and i belittled Anne Curtis' ability to do an action film. but boy, when insaid i did not expect too much, i never imagined that being surprised was one of the things i didn't expect from it. so here goes the review:

Screenplay/Videography: the screenplay was great and were all artsy. i love how they all captured every beautiful angle of the fight scene smoothly. the scene at the end where the camera is facing downwards capturing the entire slam area filled with dead bodies was onenof my favorite scene. the setting i must say was very well thought of and was organized to a point that i realized manila can look so hollywood-ish in a way.

Overall effects: let's be pinoy here and be honest, when it comes to visual effects we're number 1. number 1 at settling for the worst. but this time, i love how they level themselves with the hollywood movies. the blood, wounds, the sounds. it doesn't sound or look cheap anymore.

Actors/Performance: come on guys, admit it, Anne did a great job on this!! i mean she's not a natural action star but all i know is that she has the courage to do it and that's what built her character here. it does need a little polish but hey, i can see she really did her very best to portray her role. the rest of the cast were all perfect. each and everyone did a great job giving justice to the character most especially Teban, Alvarez and Dela Cruz!!

Story: the story i must say was cliche. i mean, duh? hundreds of years in the film industry, what else hasn't been offered in the theatres? it'll all fall down to the twist and i love how the writters of the movie twisted everything. i love how everything seem to have a significance to what is currently happening in the country. the plottwist at the end where Anne says: "Nanlaban yung sospek" (which i predicted she would say and i was laughing so much) was what completed it. it was so intense, genuine and exquisite!!!!! sobrang in love ako sa movie na to and i regret not watjcing this in cinemas.

i would also like the fact that there were no dull moments and this is the first time i've seen a filipino movie filled with so much action. KUDOS TO BUYBUST!! if you haven't seen it yet, check it out on every platform you can think of!!
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6/10
Thumbs up
seanroger-8296331 December 2020
This movie has a lot of action. I enjoyed watching it. I recommend watching this movie.
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Quite overrated
plsletitrain25 August 2018
Okay I may be inviting trouble here but what the heck. I hate to use the term, but OVERRATED may very well apply in this case.

The movie looked just like a 2-hour compilation of all the fight scenes and gunshots we've seen in the movies. Just that. There's no real story. Or maybe I was expecting a docu? Then again, the director, Erik Matti, made it clear this is not his "statement" film. So what went wrong? I think Matti capitalized on the fight scenes to the point that he lost the essence of it. This is entitled "Buybust" after all, a flagship project of the current administration-so it feels underwhelming to just see Anne and her team kick here, shoot there. Blood here, screams there. Is there more? I'm afraid there's none.

Now before I get criticized for the "there's no story" remark. Here it is. You judge for yourself if this is considered a "story". Manigan (Anne Curtis) is part of an anti-drug team tasked with catching a big fish named Biggie Chen. They embark on an entrapment operation with the help of their intel asset. Biggie Chen plays safe, so he invites the asset to transact on his village, a slum area in Manila. The area literally looks like a maze, and once inside, its hard to find your way out. Soon, the team figured that they were set-up, and they struggle to survive and come out of the maze alive.

I find it hard to engage in a movie where the lead/s seemingly feel like IMMORTAL/S that they're too invincible to die dammit! Its one thing if you're superman, but I thought we're mirroring Philippine society here with this theme? In here, you'll see Anne Curtis battle it out with two groups: 1) The drug syndicate (complete with ammunitions) and 2) the zombie-like crowd who has had it all and wants nothing to do with the drug war. She battles with them AT THE SAME TIME. And she's injured and she's got no ammunitions. And she's not familiar with the place! Try harder to convince me. Unless this is comedy. There's just quite so many plotholes that defies reality and common practice here.

There's no strong message delivered in here. Unless you count the few minutes in the ending. Other than that, this is just really a work of fiction.

The fight scenes execution were okay. There's too much gunshots here that I think I may have gone deaf in the theater. It also didn't help that the illumination (because the entrapment operation was scheduled to start at 8:00 PM and ended in the early dawn) was dark and it was raining (because of course, it always rains when you want a bloody violence to ensue-it just helps with the dramatic effect) and so it was hard to make of on who's fighting who.

If there's any positive aspect of the film, it is (and only this) the music. The music here went far lengths, and it was the only redeeming factor here. Too bad it was only the music that I liked here.
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7/10
Buybust: A maze of a film
mackysarol5 August 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Erik Matti has pushed himself even further with Buybust. As a project, although we've seen it before, is almost impossible to pull-off, the man admitted it himself. So the fact that this film exists and that it is local, for me, is impressive. Still, to rank some of his best films, Buybust comes as one of my least favorite.

It gets stale in this maze it puts itself into. In its build up, with so much hostility surrounding its characters, it surprisingly never established enough tension for me to be gripped and be fully immersed with it.

Soon enough, it goes out of control and we are presented with this cluttered unconfined chaos -slash- "shaky cam fest". I don't know, for me, most of the time in that second act, I had no idea what was going on.

The action and fight scenes get steadier as the film reaches its finale. It is claustrophobic and graphic, to the point that it becomes unrealistic, and I feel like it is intentionally assembled that way.

Its hyperbolized bloodshed, something they might have gotten from Aronofsky's playbook, is probably gonna stir a lot of takes from people, but for me, it is a powerful criticism of our times.

In that chilling final shot of the aftermath, we are reminded once again who the losers are no matter what type of war we wage in. But we never learn.

As a whole, it is a grand action film. No scale could measure it. And it would be really nice if everyone would watch it so that we could talk about it in-depth. I just have to mention Arjo Atayde somewhere in here coz he pretty much stole the show.

Erik Matti has continued to push himself and the whole local scene with him. I think that type of drive from a filmmaker is very contagious. Wherever we are headed, it is in the right direction.
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9/10
Like it, generally
rayrenz_0925 October 2018
I was engrossed with the fight scenes and it made me root for the main character to survive the ordeal. I won't compare this to any other movie. I'll give it its own praise for giving what I need for an action film. Obviously, this isn't just drama. It's a fun-filled action. I love the music that lightened the mood when it went all bloody and chaotic. The action is part of the story itself, it can't be dismissed as just another unnecessary part of the scene, 'cause that's the point of the film. The punch of the story at the end is just a way to show that everyone has something to fight for.
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10/10
Never ending rush
aj-794817 October 2018
This is a wild bloody maze of action !!!!!!............
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7/10
Awesome Action Flick!
amgee-895515 October 2018
My favourite Action Movie of This year. Fantastic action and fighting sequences. It's up with the raid films. I must watch. 7/10
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7/10
A drug buy-bust operation gone-wrong.
filmreviewph16 August 2018
People hope for a better life, at the very least a peaceful one. BuyBust is a film that deals with the anti-drug campaign of the government, but the core of such campaign is how will it impact on the lives of the every Filipino.

The film may be predictable from the start but was told in a different fashion. It was not the usual buy bust operation of the anti-drug authorities, the goal is to catch Biggie Chen- a high value target with Shabu laboratories.

What is entharalling is when PDEA operatives headed by Bernie Lacson (Victor Neri) with Nina Manigan-PDEA operative (Anne Curtis) and Detective Dela Cruz along with the Alpha and Bravo teams, were trapped in Baranggay Gracia ni Maria in the slums of Manila, a community that is fiction but an epitome of what Philippine society is.

Gracia ni Maria is maze-like compound with the texture of a shanty town that you could smell the stink and rot in every corner. A community and people forced to protect drug lords and live in fear and violence.

Characters are very real while the action scenes were obviously choreographed and the gun battle sequences are far better than the usual action films of the 90's. Director Erik Matti weaves the story with layers in the plot like Anne Curtis' character (Operative Manigan) who can't seem to forget her drug buy-bust operation in the past that killed all her team members. She became very cautious, uncertain and even doubtful of the Police team leading them. Another layer in the plot is how the people of Gracia ni Maria have suffered in the war against drugs, as they witness violence everyday of their lives.

Anne has certainly prepared for this film, showing her skills in hand to hand combat; even her movements, stance and reactions during gun battle appear to be realistic. Anne has rediscovered herself and maybe considered as the First True Female Action star of Philippine Cinema. Though BuyBust has not really deviated from the formula of action films in the Philippines where the action hero is being attacked by a mob and yet manages to defeat all of them.

Anne's co-actor Brandon Vera (Rico Yatco), muscled and Hulk type character that can defeat an army of enemies at one time, has played his role well as buddy of operative Manigan (Anne) who also believes in amulet to keep him safe. Joross Gamboa is also commendable in his role as Manok (Chicken) who seemed to be at his being state in most of the scenes.

Award-winning supporting actor Joel Saracho, portraying a shanty owner and out of fear, he casually declines to help PDEA Operative Manigan and Yatco on their way out of the compound. The scene typifies how fear has become a normal and casual state for the people. Music is not overwhelming but enough to heighten and build up the action scenes.

BuyBust is action in its real sense, with deafening gun battles, hand to hand combat fight scenes and unending chase sequences around the compound. Manigan (Anne) being the action heroine, as usual, is the last PDEA operative standing.

Manigan and Biggie Chen mano-o mano fight scene is also very real though it is the typical protagonist and antagonist face to face showdown with great reveals as to who are the protectors and snitch within the Police Organization.

One essential element in the film is the people in the community. People have taken arms and have resolved to act; seized to believe that the Government will truly solve the illegal drugs problem. Innocent civilians as always are caught in the cross-fire between the Government and the Drug Lords or even in any war that the government launches. Illegal drugs will not proliferate without the nod of a high-ranking government official. What else is new??-it is a common perception. And the innocent civilians are the victims.

In many of the sequences, community people were also attacking the PDEA and Police Teams, furious and raging like zombies who are ready to eat their preys alive. But in the end, the fury and rage of the people are the bi-product of frustrations and hopelessness from the Government to resolve the social ills of our society.

The film is not only an eye opener about the sincerity of Government on its anti-drug campaign but also a call to action for the people to stand and participate in issues of our Nation, people should become part of the solution and hope is the only thing we should hold onto.

Over-all, Kudos to Director Erik Matti! Setting a new trend in action films and riveting story telling.
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10/10
A must watch for every Filipino.
normaeugenioagustin2 August 2018
Buybust courageously gives a possible view of what truly is happening now. What's good about this film is that in doing so, it did not use a typical perspective (through the eyes of the usual victim like the family of a drug suspect wrongly killed in an operation). Instead, it presented the story through the life of a pdea agent (someone from the government whose always seen as the antagonist in this drug war) but was successful in obtaining from the viewers sympathy for both parties in this drug drama.The film will make tou realize that in drugs, including drug war for that matter, those below will always be the victims.
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9/10
pure entertainment
FincherNolan5 August 2018
At the end of the movie the people in cinema gave the film a round of applause. I must say that the fight scenes are not perfect but it still manage to entertain and make me nervous at the same time. Anne Curtis did a great job as well as the other actors and extras in the movie. The music was also perfect specially the one in the opening credits and for me the best scene was the mad girl with cactus that scene also has the best fight. This movie is not like the previous film of erik matti On TheJob because this one is a popcorn movie. After watching this movie i could say that Erik Matti is one of the best filipino director working today although he gain a lot of haters because of his political views.
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1/10
Tha Raid (Knockoff Version)
radiojuicefm5 August 2018
The movie was a cheap The Raid (KNOCK OFF) Movie. With bad story lines. The Actors where ok but who ever directed this movie needs to think the possibilities of retirement! Its juz a total waste of time, efforts and production money.
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1/10
I love Ann but..
trojandem-exe6 August 2018
My eyes hurts. There's only a handful of Filipino films that's worth 20 minutes of my time, the rest is just pure GARBAGE.
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9/10
The Raid District
kosmasp4 March 2019
Some may feel distressed that this may feel a bit like an oversized Raid movie. But there is so much Mayhem here, all in one big area, that you'll either jump on that train and take the ride or you are leaving quite early. If you stay, you are in for a treat. It is ultra violent, it is down and dirty and it does take any prisoners (quite literally so).

You may have issues with characterizations and building characters or having some distinguishable characters overall. But here is where some Shaw Brothers madness kicks in too. You have complete mayhem at certain points and you may even lose orientation. But this makes it even more exciting. The choreography is not overstylized most of the time, but is spot on all the time ... really brutal and really mad!
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1/10
Waste of time
allscope-abichong4 August 2018
This movie was so bad and so trying hard! We're so disappointed about the acting, the dialogue, cinematography and the director! The plot and concept was good but obviously Erik Matti just cannot deliver. Overacting, overrated, OVER!!!
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3/10
Pretentious
anaakut4 August 2018
Awful. Some actors are clearly inexperienced and my god! what a disaster! The story is "so-so" nothing to write home about. It's a good movie tho' to watch alone on the tv, to serve as background noise while you're cooking at your home.
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9/10
Well Made and Timely Film
lvillamar4 August 2018
Relentless in its violence, cynical, unforgiving. It could infect you with a fever, from vicarious trauma.

Anne Curtis secures her place as a viable female action star.

No one is innocent in the "War on Drugs." It makes Philippines fell inhospitable. It kills any hope. No redemption, only survival that matters.

Well made film. Our answer to South Korea's "Old Boy.")
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9/10
I was pleasantly surprised
kendislyf31 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The film had some dash of fiction here and there with the amount of people that ended up dead but I was pleasantly surprised with how the story unfold. The world building was great considering the amount of time we spent with the characters, you knew their motivations and their struggles. It highlights the struggle of being a good cop in an already corrupt environment. My personal favorite character is Yatco, I felt that he was the most pure out of all of them, all he wanted was for some of them to survive, constanly sacrificing himself was what he did throughout the movie. This was a fun movie to watch, it makes you think about everything that's happening in our country while making us see the struggles of all sides. Although there are some fictional aspects in this movie like the unbelievably high death toll, it is easy to suspend your disbelief since the movie makes you see the motivations of all these characters. The movie is competently shot, I like the choreography of the fighting scenes, they looked so realistic. The movie made me hope for the good guys so my heart hurt when they died one by one. It's a great film, I wish I watched it sooner.
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