Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ang Panday 2 (2011)

Ang Panday 2 (Mac Alejandre, 2011)
English Title: The Blacksmith 2

The malady caused by the proliferation of loud but predominantly empty Hollywood blockbusters in Philippine shores is most evident in Mac Alejandre’s Ang Panday 2 (The Blacksmith 2). The bombardment of special effects has never been this harmful to the eyes and to the mind. This sequel to the 2009 reincarnation of one of Fernando Poe, Jr.’s most beloved cinematic alter-egos is hardly a film. Its characters which are proudly advertised as based on Carlo J. Caparas’ creations actually reflect the weakness of Caparas’ imagination which seems to be fuelled only by stereotypes and derivations. In Alejandre’s hands, Flavio (played by Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr.), who transforms into the heroic Panday with his elongating dagger that detects evil, is a hollow vessel, a tool for ambitious Revilla to transform his political ambitions into something as simple as a battle of good against evil.

Its story is nothing more than an excuse to chain together scenes that are supposed to inspire spectacle, the special effects of which are sometimes delightful to look at but are mostly just numbingly repetitive. After defeating Lizardo (Phillip Salvador), Flavio decided to settle with fiancée Maria (Iza Calzado) in a little town whose citizens are more than grateful to the hero for getting rid of their oppressor. However, Lizardo is hardly dead. Awakened by Baruha (Lorna Tolentino who braves to wear make-up that makes her look like a subpar version of Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch), who opts to wreak her brand of evil from atop an ominous looking peak, Lizardo begins his quest for world domination, first, by kidnapping the town’s female folk including Maria, second, by murdering the men folk through his many minions, and third, by attempting to disarm Flavio by stealing his magical dagger.

Along the way, he discovers that his pet dragon is in fact a foxy lady (Marian Rivera) who is a member of an ironically peaceful race of people who can transform into powerful dragons. He also meets a couple of his friends from his first adventure. All this is of course a bunch of nonsensical filler. The film has lost all ambition to entertain beyond its brainless showcase of what it intends to be as international-caliber computer-generated extravagance. Every now and then, jokes are cracked, slapstick happens, or hints of a probable darkness beneath all the fakery are exposed. However, all those attempts are quickly shelved as soon as Revilla, who seems to have lost all humanity in his exertion to be an effective action hero despite his age and his unwieldy heft, sucks all the possible fun with his mug of contagious indifference.

Alejandre horribly mistakes pageantry with aesthetics. From the small town and its colorfully costumed townsfolk to Lizardo’s grimly dressed monstrosities, the film looks like a hodgepodge of miscommunicated pegs and influences. Like a zombie in search for a living human brain to feed on, the film gnaws on your sanity. It actually forces you to wish for random calamities that would salvage you from the misfortune of sitting through a confused and disastrously taxing film.

By the film’s end, when Baruha announces that this is just the start of the reign of evil, the aches stopped with the promise that this part of Flavio’s saga will finally close. But then, Revilla, donned in his heroic garb and flicking his symbol of being macho for all the world to see and mouthing cryptic words that may or may not be his battlecry for the next elections, appears in another one of Alejandre’s painfully pretty backdrops that are too reminiscent of every torturous episode of TeleTubbies to be taken seriously. Baruha indeed has played propher. This, ladies and gentlemen, is really just the start of the reign of evil.

(Cross-published in Twitch.)


Cathy Pena said...

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this. "The film gnaws on your sanity" resonates like a voice from my conscience. :)

Jazz said...

Sometimes I feel that it's a shame you even make an effort reviewing these kinds of movies. I've seen Panday 2 myself, and half the time I was just mentally enumerating the reasons why it was a bad film.

kutitap said...

Sumakit ang ulo ko reading this review alone. Whew!

Rey Benipayo said...

i think Panday needs to be reboot with new actor to para gumanap bilang panday.

Life of a Living Legend said...

It's not just the actors. The story lines are bad. The abuse of cgi and vfx is bad. The elongating sword seems like an ad for Viagra the more you see it.
There were scenes when Panday was riding a horse at night and the next scene is all of a sudden morning.
Or when the Lizardo attacked the Ragona tribe at night and Panday was taken by bagwis out of the tribe to the epic sand battle, and it was high noon.
How about when the fiancé was taken at night and Panday waited til morning to rescue her when he has a dragon?
Terrible movie because of the cheesy story lines and useless scenes.
Come on son, Baruha saying oops! Intro of the movie, Baruha introduces herself. "Ako si Baruha! Eh eh eh!"
For 80M budget, I would have done a better movie.