After planning a ruse that would cancel a school exam (for the sake of a friend who isn’t ready to take it), Alex (Buboy Villar) gets expelled from school. But what’s more heart breaking for him was getting booted off his Boy Scout Platoon. Alex lives and breathes the scouts’ ideals. This is when he starts having nightmares concerning a band of thieves – their movement, their operandi. Heck, he even gets the exact date, time and address right! With the help of his friend Buddy (Jerould Aceron), he produces a sketch of these thugs and turns them over to a police sergeant (Rey PJ Abellana) who scoffs at Alex’s allegations. After all, who in their right mind would readily admit clues straight out of a child’s dream? But Alex’s nightmares linger on, diligently tracking down the baddies’ operations.
He seeks his Tito Ben’s (Mark Lapid) help, but all their complaints fall on deaf ears. Little did they realize that the sergeant coddles this criminal syndicate. This time around, Alex gets a gift from a mysterious old man (Amay Bisaya) who bequeaths a powerful talisman. From here on, he starts gaining magical powers that could freeze or move people (telekinesis, anyone?) When another heist ensues, Alex, his Uncle Ben and his guidance counselor Karen (Princess Armillos) find an ally in another police officer (Mon Confiado) who, though skeptical, doesn’t turn them away.
When the bad guys get wind of Alex’s gifts, they kidnap him and take advantage of his powers. Soon, more people are abducted: Delia, Alex’s mother (Suzette Ranillo); Gemma, Alex’s crush, and his father Mr. Osorio (Edwin Reyes); even his uncle’s girlfriend Susan (a bargirl). What’s a magical boy scout to do?
Why? This question loudly resonates like a huge gate of tin falling down a concrete. The choice of employing the Queen’s English as medium of expression is befuddling! In fact, the first few minutes felt like a joke. I kinda expected someone cute as Ashton Kucher declaring “You got punked!” Unfortunately, it was all for real! Take one look at Buboy Villar and his physical attributes: brown skin, flat nose with upturned nostrils, eye slits typically Asian – then he opens his mouth and out comes English, in its most horrifically pugnacious form! In fact, this soon turns into a laughfest with teachers, drivers, sari sari store tinderas “trying” their spine tingling twangs:
“Alex is-tole (stole) a copy of dee questions!”
After passing judgment on Alex (he gets expelled – proven beyond reasonable doubt without even hearing a single word from him for his defense), the principal orders an investigation to be conducted by the “is-cool” psychologist Karen: “Find out if Alex is abnormal or is sick of something!” Huh? But wait, didn’t she just expel the child? Investigations are supposed to occur before a judgment, not after a child’s been kicked off school, right?
As a thumbs up for a good job cleaning her dad’s car, Gemma (Aila Mendero) greets Alex with her top-of-the-morning cheer: “Spic and span, Alex!” Ano daw? How can the script writer live with himself using words too far removed from the Pinoy psyche? And you wonder why we’ve been besieged by storms and gusty winds one after the other!
The film must have been shot with a thematic word-of-the-day: “Stupidity”. “Don’t disturb me with your is-tupidity!” “Don’t tell me something stupid!” “Look at your stupidity!” “You’re a fool!” “Don’t be foolish!” “I am participating in your (drum roll, please) foolishness!” The word and its synonyms bloom like the spring all throughout the narrative so you end up counting them. Hmm, there it is again! And again! And again! Stupidity indeed runs around this excuse of a cinematic garbage!
Another illness is its cacologous lines: “She sit down when we want it to sit down!” Hahaha. Ohmygoodness. Please stop me from this unbridled hilarity! In another scene, Alex/Buboy Villar gets chastised, “You’re turning to be a witch!” Has Alex turned into a girl? Or was this kinda like the Boy Abunda mentality of gender equality? After all, “witch” should be applicable to every slice of the gender pie, debah? Para fair! Sure sounds better than its masculine counterpart – “wizard”! By the way, a Colgate commercial rightfully belongs here: “Our project for Colgate Fresh U is to build a lib-lary!” Just a thought.
In another scene, after receiving talisman from a mysterious old man, Alex asks the tindera, “Did you see da old men?” She replies, “I niber sow dat old dibel bepor!” Aw shucks! She sure didn’t!
Most scenes are as detached from reality. Where does the magical old man come from? And why did he abandon Alex when the latter was kidnapped? If Alex could walk through walls, why couldn't he escape from his abductors? In another scene, after a petrifying bangungot, Alex wakes up alarmed, perspiring heavily. His mother rushes to his bed, calms him down, then tells him, “Don’t forget to pray.” Suddenly, agitated Alex is a bundle of joy, beaming with a “Sound of Music” smile, and quite ready for his close up! Did I miss something?
And why does a “superhero” get agitated in the rain? Is this the Gremlins phenomenon? Will he multiply once wet? Where is the “connect”? Then when you've started to consider that thought, this idea gets ignored altogether. Nakalimutan? Manila Bulletin’s Crispina Belen refers to this film as “outstanding”. You wonder which aspect was even vaguely superlative! Yet I am called by a basurero-looking Atenista in his FB ramblings a “pure PR” (he classily declared to his amigas - "mamumura mo talaga ang reviewer na 'yan") and that's just for judiciously enumerating the things I liked about “Kalayaan” (which he calls "epic fail... Basura ng Cinemalaya"; he conveniently dismisses the fact that I also enumerated what I didn't like about it), yet you have entertainment journalists who consider this abomination “outstanding” – and do they get brickbats from basurero-looking bitches? Go figure.
Director Leonardo Q. Belen seems to be living in some alternate universe. His skill and storytelling acumen hail somewhere between the 1958 and 1976 timeline. The sensibilities are dated and too “Piling Piling Pelikula” you somehow expect Max Alvarado, Rodolfo Boy Garcia, and Romy Diaz to jump out of the screen. That would have been more fun, you know. Yes, I was the only soul tinkering with my gorgeous nails in the cool darkness of an SM North Avenue Cinema. It must have been the rains driving people away – in droves, but for once, the inclement weather proved commodious! If you’re easily annoyed by “is-tupidity”, stay away. If you want fun in clueless film making, try this one out. Laughing is good for the heart. But don’t say I didn’t warn you!
|Lapid consoles Ranillo: "Hanapin natin ang millions ng mommy ko sa Las Vegas. Huwag kang mag alala!" Or was that a different script?|
|Alex, after getting kidnapped, becomes a "zombie"! You better believe it! :) The original title "Boy Scout Hero" would have been more appropriate!|