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The Last Pinoy Action King ()

6.5 (15)
  • Country: ,
  • Genres:
  • Release: 2015-10-22
  • Director: Andrew Leavold , Daniel Palisa
  • Writers: Andrew Leavold , Daniel Palisa
  • Language: Tagalog | English
  • Stars: Rudy Fernandez , Gina Alajar , Nora Aunor
  • Runtime: 96 min
  • Awards: 1 win
  • AKA: The Last Pinoy Action King (Philippines)
  • Plot: This is a documentary on the life and career of late action star Rudy Fernandez which attempts to understand the man behind the image through interviews with fellow actors, relatives, acquaintances and a few critics/media observers. It is admittedly an interesting concept, though how it is executed is a different matter.Apparently, I don't see why this type of biopic isn't more popular or widespread, considering there is currently a market for nostalgia (people miss the old days when movies had soul and heart, not just because the actors and actresses look like they've just come out of a cosmetic surgeon's clinic). The guy behind the documentary is a caucasian Andrew Leavold, who once owned a shop specializing in rare cult z movies. I usually dig well made documentaries (mostly about heavy metal musicians) like Rat Skates' Born In The Basement or the unauthorized biography of Dimebag Darrell, Black Tooth Grin by Zac Crain (which is basically a docu in print form). Leavold's film though is somewhat alright and serviceable but ultimately is a hollow work.The great thing about Leavold's docu are the various tidbits/observations by the interviewees. For example, veteran fight choreographer Baldo Marro makes the quip that the late king of contrabidas, Paquito Diaz is overexposed because he's always in the movies of both Daboy and Da King and that people are getting sick of his mug, (which of course he says in affectionate jest). Or Efren Reyes Jr.'s lively commentary on the formulaic aspects of classic tagalog action films, character actor Robert Miller's recollections about the early days. A constant fixture in Daboy's movies, Alvin Anson also shares his insight on why local action films could not compete with foreign movies, because in said productions, he says, they blow up BMWs while in local action sets, they could only afford to blow up a Toyota; these are quite entertaining and remind one of why these forgotten denizens of tinsel town have a lot of wisdom to offer to the new generation of film artists.Where Leavold's docu falls flat is in the actual meat or substance of the film. There really isn't much depth or profundity to be found here but more often just the casual musings of bystanders. The impression made in the film that Fernandez's movies are about the underdog fighting for the rights of the oppressed maybe partly true but not entirely accurate; Fernandez's films are more of a reaction to the white knight portrayals and roles of Da King, Fernando Poe Jr. Daboy mostly played deeply flawed personalities such as notorious prisoner Marcial Ama, crazed copkiller "Nards" Waway and all other variations of the thug/hoodlum. The characters he essayed on the big screen are not exactly doing it for the benefit of his community but men driven to do unnatural acts for the sake of personal survival or a loved one. This is different from the motherhood statement that "people watched action movies because they feel oppressed in real life and want to be heroic". Maybe it is more apt to say that people who watch Fernandez's films are somehow attracted to the taboo lifestyle of criminals instead of the heroic exploits of the characters played by FPJ. In this way, Fernandez is like a Marvel superhero while FPJ is a DC metahuman ala Superman.Leavold could have much improved his film by removing unnecessary sections such as the pointless discussion on 1960s tagalog film companies which doesn't really add to the docu's main thesis. The purpose behind the said unrelated topic is Leavold's unfounded belief that most tagalog movies had less quality or were less gritty before the onset of Fernandez's films which is highly preposterous. Other subtopics like Fernandez's gig as actors guild president should've been shortened or minimized. Anyways, Leavold's film is very one sided and doesn't go beyond "Rudy did this, Rudy did that, etc." There's no critical analysis of his movies, no questions such as "did he make mediocre films?", "was he a sellout?", "was there a time when he was an a-hole on the set?". The most interesting docu or biopic are those that don't shun the subject's flaws and imperfections. Without this aspect, the biopic/docu is nothing more than a publicity piece.To conclude, Leavold's docu leave much to be desired. It is very lite on actual substance and spends a lot of its time more on the facade than on the center of the temple. It resembles a hyperbolic wikipedia entry than a comprehensive and exhaustive chronicle of a much missed and beloved Filipino action icon.
  • IMDB:tt5172372
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