Friday, December 27, 2013

Chito Roño's Boy Golden

Boy Golden

Director: Chito Roño
With: Jeorge Estregan, KC Concepcion, John Estrada, Eddie Garcia, Gloria Sevilla, Dick Israel, Leo Martinez, Roi Vinson, Tonton Gutierrez, Mon Confiado, John Lapus

There are two possible outcomes after watching this MMFF entry, Boy Golden: 1) You're dumbfounded by the whole thing because it has a lot of WTF moments and campy gimmicks 2) You're smiling on your way out of the theater because of the same reasons I've mentioned in number 1 and you think that the film is actually fun and good. You'll either love it or hate it. Me? I definitely enjoyed it and more inclined with number 2. ^_^

The film is loosely based on the life of Arturo Porcuna (Jeorge E.R. Estregan) during his gangster life as Boy Anino to Boy Golden. Along his journey, he met a dancer named Marla Dee (KC Concepcion) only to find out that both have the same mission in seeking revenge against one of the most notorious gangster, Razon (John Estrada).

In Boy Golden, Chito Roño celebrates classic Filipino action films while maintaining his modern style and including more crazy tactics. The vibrant colors of the set screams his style wherein neon colors of blue, red, purple and green enrich the old school Manila vibe. It actually reminds me of Feng Shui and Only God Forgives' (nuks!) color schemes but it also worked well here in Boy Golden. Revenge is one of the most common themes, not only in Philippine action films, but in the whole action film genre. That's why I find it necessary that Roño included comedy and camp, something we rarely see in any Filipino movies, and it indeed made the film unique in comparison to the usual action films. It made the film a lot livelier, crazier and funnier: from epic names such as Tekla, Bungal, and the best among the rest, Datu Putla. Ridiculous characters varying from a cliché Chinoy, spoiled brat gangster son who plays spectacular piano, gay sidekick to one of the biggest bosses and a mama's boy gangster. Campy and gory action scenes like parkour, where a number of regular guys jump from roof to roof, KC Concepcion's kickass one-on-one fight against a Crouching-Tiger-Zhang-ZiYi like woman who creates Chun-Li growls along their fight, Gloria Sevilla unleashing her inner cruelty while plucking her armpit hair and more scenes that goes beyond your serious imagination. And when I say more, there really is more. Describing them through words won't suffice the campness of those scenes. Surprisingly impressive musical score by Carmina Cuya also gives each scenes life varying from fun and chill to romantic and melodramatic to heart racing sounds. The film is also not devoid of depth and twists proving that this is not another pointless action comedy. There's even a scene justifying the true missions of gangsters and the failure of the police in capturing them. All this while a montage of what seems like a real-life pictures of past Filipino gangsters like Nardong Putik flash on the screen. There really are numerous reasons why this film works.

While the lead Jeorge Estregan acts terribly as hell, I guess it sort of works in this kind of film. But thank goodness to the ensemble for giving a variety of awesome performances, with Eddie Garcia looking more epic in each scenes he appear in, notably old Dick Israel who I may also call as legendary in this film, Gloria Sevilla enjoying a role I don't think she's ever portrayed before, and Baron Geisler as Datu Putla embracing his very maputla makeup that's reminiscent of Skyfall's Raoul Silva, what more can a moviegoer ask for? Even KC Concepcion shined in this, aside from her reaction when John Lapuz slapped her in the beginning of the film. That's kind of funny. But these are iconic characters giving more oomph to the film.

The film still needs massive improvement in terms of make up and visual effects but with the film's goofy nature, these imperfections are easy to overlook. If there's one person who truly enjoyed this film, I'm pretty sure it's Chito Roño. He's never afraid to try new things proven even in his past works. He's not afraid to take risks and be corny or cheesy in this film, thus, making it more solid. I guess it would be a stretch to compare his work in this film to Quentin Tarantino's, but I really do think that most of the scenes are inspired by his movies. I can see this being a terrible film for some, but truth is, I really enjoyed this film that I can't wait for more people to see it so I can discuss and laugh at all the hilarity of this film with them.