REVIEW: Manila Kingpin: The Untold Story of Asiong Salonga   10 comments

The promotion of  this movie focused on the premise that this is the comeback of Pinoy action film. After all, when we’ve lost the likes of FPJ and Rudy Fernandez, the action film industry has also vanished. I wouldn’t count the fantasy action movies of Bong Revilla as they’re more on fantasy and special effects. With that said, this is my most anticipated movie this film festival, and I’m pretty sure that this will be the most underrated film.

In this version, George Estregan plays the coveted role of Asiong Salonga. The film covers his first days when he starts to be Tondo’s darling. Together with his friends (Yul Servo, Dennis Padilla, Ketchup Eusebio, Ping Medina, and THE Amay Bisaya), he becomes Tondo’s Robin Hood. Of course, no action film is complete without a flat our kontrabida. This side of the group is where John Regala, Joko Diaz, and Ronnie Lazaro enters. We also get a glimpse of his family life with his brother Philip Salvador (who’s ironically a cop), mother Perla Bautista and father Robert Arevalo. His own family, on the other hand, involves faithful wife Carla Abellana, and their two kids. There’s also this part when he was in jail with Jay Manalo.

It is not surprising that Asiong’s life is, indeed, colorful and interesting to say the least. However, the time frame of the movie is very inconsistent. Most of the time, it’s just scenes jumping out one after the other with no clear direction or flow of when was this or what part do they belong. That, perhaps, is my biggest problem with the film. The editing seems to jump from one scene to another with no clear transitions, and that will probably reflect to the movie’s sketchy narrative. Nevertheless, the highlights were clearly featured, and you know which parts they want to showcase the most.

Other than that, all the other things were done excellently. My favorite seems to be the cinematography. This is the first time that I’ve seen a black and white film on the big screen, and it was too awesome. The art direction is spot on, and it really gives you the 50s feeling of it. Costumes and make up were slick, and choreography of fight scenes was well executed. I have some reservations with the lead star (he’s too old to play a 25-28 year old character, and no amount of make up can conceal that), but I understand that this is his passion project, so I won’ focus on that. Between this and her other filmfest entry, I’m now a complete Carla Abellana convert. it’s a good decision to be a part of this film. Most supporting parts were underutilized, but it’s a treat to see them on the big screen.

There’s a lot left to be desired in this film, truth be told; however, one can’t help but admire that with everything against its way, it still did good. There’s a lot of things going for it: kalesa chase scene, Ketchup Eusebio in a bicycle, Mad World musical scoring, it’s all worth it. The mere fact that you get to see almost every action film character actor in the film blasting out guns left and right is a good start to revive the action film genre. For what it’s worth, it’s a very satisfying and recommended movie experience.

Now, if only we can see Tikoy Aguiluz’s version…

Grade: A-


Posted December 29, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Films, Reviews

Tagged with , ,

10 responses to “REVIEW: Manila Kingpin: The Untold Story of Asiong Salonga

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  1. May deletable scenes! Hay naku, at may parts na mukhang PSA ni gov.

  2. dante rivero is the father-in-law and philip salvador is the ‘kuya’ of asiong

  3. Philip Salvador is the older brother of asiong (FYI)

  4. totoo bang ayaw ni tikoy aguiluz ma-creditan siya dahil hidi na raw halos kanya yung film tapos pakialaman ng mga producers? asking lang.

    • Hi Teresa! Tikoy asked for his name to be withdrawn from anything related to the movie since there were re-shootings and editing that were done without his permission. He felt that it wasn’t his own masterpiece anymore. So yeah, the stories were actually true. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Manila Kingpin: The Untold Story of Asiong Salonga « Pinoy Rebyu

  6. parang hindi ko nakita si paloma dito? Oo nga eh ang bilis ng time skip eh.. 2 or 3 beses yatang buntis si carla dito. im wondering about the shoes that they’re using kasi napansin ko lang nung kay joko diaz eh naka chuck taylor siya sa scene na papatayin yung kandidato ng liberal party ( rainy scene) yung pagkaharap niya kay asiong eh naka-sneakers sya at barilan sila. Tapos nun eh nung pagkabaril kay joko eh plakda sya pero suot nya na eh black boots na yata. Pati din yung punch-out ni asiong kay totoy golem ( John Regala) eh hindi ganun ka-flawless yung blood stains. Mga konting napansin ko lang naman ito nung pinanood ko ito but the movie is great, no wonder best picture ito. grats to all who made this movie. Wonder how many tobaccos did john regala have taken haha parang chicha na lang sa kanya un hehe!

  7. parang slo mo kilos ni er tska John regala, halatang matanda na tlga cla, nakakatawa lalo yung suntukan sa putikan sa kulungan ni asiong tsaka boy zapanta, bigla Shang tumalikod na parang hirap na hirap, mas bagay cguro kung mas bata gumnap khet c robin padilla n lng.

  8. iba yung aura kasi ni robin padilla, even his stance.

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