- I really had high hopes for it ever since the trailer came out: watching a group of Tondo thugs walking in an almost straight line, portrayed by the best under-rated Pinoy Actors (Baron Geisler, Ketchup Eusebio, Pen Medina…) shot in Black and White, with all the yosi smoke floating in the air, Gun fights under the rain in slow-mo..
- Never mind if the story was already retold several times or if the typical Pinoy action film cliches exist in the film, IT WAS THE ULTIMATE in Angas EYE-CANDY, something you’ll watch for the fight scenes and not the story itself (reminiscent of Suckerpunch)
- But then news of re-editing without the Director’s consent started to surface, so at the back of mind, I was thinking that it isn’t going to be great as it supposed to be, and I was literally identifying which of the scenes were “re-shoots”
- For all its worth, there were a lot of scenes that used the black and white medium effectively (i.e. using contrasts to make the scene look really pretty), Opening Credits were unusually stunning for a mainstream Pinoy Flick, glorious moments of slow-mo cinematography made for exciting gunfights – just for these scenes, and the fact that a Pinoy Film can achieve such an aesthetic – I’d say I got the most out of my 180 peso-ticket.
- What keeps it from being great: the awkward editing, acting (Seriously, Governor ER’s acting made me realize how hard it was to force yourself to cry, naawa ako sa kanya) – the use of Mad World as the background music at last gun battle – out of place, meyn! and probably the fact that somewhere there exists a better version of this film, a version that didn’t veer away from the vision of the person who conceptualized the film’s memorable moments.
- Cheers to Amay Bisaya, and yes, I’m one with the netizens clamoring for the release of the director’s cut version of this film
P.S. Interesting biographies of Manila’s Most Wanted in this blog, which includes what really happened to Asiong Salonga.