Manila Kingpin: the Asiong Salonga Story (2011)
December 28, 2011
Cinema 1, Seat L
I remember the first time I saw an FPJ film as a kid. Although I barely understood the plot and cannot recall the title of the film without making use of Google, I just knew that FPJ, who portrayed a Muslim, was the good guy and everyone with facial hair had to die. It was a very Manichean film: black was black and white was white. Even with the innocent mind I had back then, there was no question that FPJ was the kind of guy my dad wanted me to become: macho, and, somewhat, gun-slinging. Hence, all the Armalite toys as a kid.
Now, I won’t comment on what happened from then on until the very moment I’m writing this post with the use of my Blackberry while trying to fall asleep.
Now, after having seen the failure of a supposed horror film that is Segunda Mano hours before hearing the news that Manila Kingpin: the Asiong Salonga Story reigned supreme during the 2011 Metro Manila Film Festival, I just felt so proud and exuberant that finally, there is proof that Filipinos still have taste. As anyone who follows me on Twitter or are “friends” with me on Facebook, I have been professing how great this film is long before I actually got to see it at Trinoma. You see, Filipino movies always fail to make good trailers. But the first time I saw Manila Kingpin’s trailer out of the corner of my eye, I just knew this was one movie I cannot afford to miss.
A lot of people would say that Manila Kingpin feels like a Quentin Tarantino movie. But what they fail to realize is that it is in fact the other way around. If I am wrong, feel free to correct me, but I believe the B-movie feel of most award-winning Tarantino films were in fact inspired by a lot of Asian movies, some of which I am confident to have originated from the bygone era of FPJ and Max Alvarado.
Now, Manila Kingpin has brought this long lost genre back from the grave with all the swagger and gangster-feel that can even raise “The Godfather’s” curiosity and envy. This is why I would like to continually spread the word that Manila Kingpin is in a class of its own, not only if you compare it with the rest of the current MMFF entries, but even with other movies our local tinseltown has generated for the first decade of this millennium. I will not go one by one about the cinematography, the scoring, the editing, and all those details which are so far better experienced in the movies than read and spoiled not only in my humble blog but in those of other would-be critics.
All I can say is Manila Kingpin is a testament that Filipino movie producers still have the magic and that our actors still have the calibre that can match or even surpass those of other countries. And for that, I am proud to be Filipino. All they need is the faith and support, and perhaps 11 shiny trophies to brag about after all has been said and done. If there is going to be a Renaissance of Filipino Films, then it’s gonna be an oxymoron for it’s gonna hopefully start now. 2012 is not gonna be the end of the world for all of us, even though to satisfy the growing hunger of the domestic market for quality Filipino movies, a lot of antagonists with their guns, goons, and gold, have to perish to make all of us squeal with delight!
I just wish though that the Best Actor Award went to Jorge ER Estregan. Even with the risk of being pestered with the Dongyan crowd and prematurely jumping to my next movie review slash narrative (for Segunda Mano that is,) I believe the word acting is not exclusive to the emotion of anger, pain, or, in this case, half-baked insanity. They say Dingdong Dantes was great in his role in Segunda Mano, but in my honest opinion, the chivalry and the toughness of Asiong Salonga as portrayed by Jorge ER Estregan was so much more award-winning in every which way I look at it. It was like seeing a diamond in the rough. To award Dingdong Dantes for portraying his role in that movie seems to give more weight to “TV Patrol” and “Elevator Acting” vis-à-vis Jorge ER Estregan’s “As-Is-Where-Is” rendition as professed by the great Eugene Domingo herself who also won Best Supporting Actress for the 2011 MMFF by the way.
Coming from the year 2010 wherein all of the winners were quite questionable based on my personal assessment (yes I have no degree that would warrant my movie wisdom any actual weight) the victory of such a risky film – Manila Kingpin – this year can only make me and, perhaps, the rest of the Philippines ultra excited about what’s in store for the next Metro Manila Film Festival. Maybe we will see the big names like Ai-Ai De La Alas, Kris Aquino, Bong Revilla, and Vic Sotto really altogether show their Godgiven acting capabilities at a whole new level because this time around, they know there would be a market for such thing. God forbid we’d still see another Panday, Enteng, or Shake, Rattle & Roll instalment, or a Manila Kingpin prequel entitled “Asiong ng Ina Mo” just for the fun of it. I hope both movie goers and producers have learned their lessons well.
But then again….
P.S. Congratulations to Ely Buendia, but Gloc 9, if ever you get to read this, you really rock!
P.P.S. Now that the quality of our movies show signs of promise and improvement, please do something about those goddarn posters.
P.P.S. To the people behind Manila Kingpin and to the rest of the Filipino movie producers, please make a movie about the Boy Scouts of Quezon City. I know who they are. A lot of people don’t.
Blog Post Updated 11/29/2011 at 11 AM