Monday, November 21, 2016

Ipaglaban Mo's "Riding-in-Tandem" - Vetting Stories and Scraping the Narrative Bottom

I was waiting for Mang Ruben, my driver, who was unusually running late because of an earlier errand he had to run for my mom. I decided to kill time by scouring the television for any interesting show. The first that caught my attention was this beautiful cherubic face looking so forlorn - Albie Casino's.


Albie Casino's career resurgence is something of a miracle. The erstwhile baby-maker rascal turned out to be a convenient fall guy of a not-so-palatable situation sometime in the past. 

The itchy bitchy one was so confused with her bedtime frolics she couldn't tell who the real father was. Either that or she was just using someone so people would sympathize with her. That prematurely ended a flourishing career and destroyed Albie. Even I was so disgusted with him.  Why am I discussing this? Somehow there are lessons to be learned from his situation, particularly now that he's successfully staged a comeback. Perseverance pays off. He's in indies; in mainstream flicks, in teleseryes, in drama shows, in deodorant commercials. Heck he's even in the scandal sheet for flexing his wares and flashing his magic wand. Indeed, Milton and Mrs. S. Hall were right:"There's a silver lining to every cloud that sails about the heavens if we could only see it." These days, Albie is back with a vengeance.

in "Riding-in-Tandem", Albie plays the role of a reluctant petty thief Fredo (Casino) who's being coerced by the shady Domeng (Jao Mapa) to assist in his dubious deals, i.e. driving a tandem motorbike to snatch bags from unsuspecting pedestrians. 

The VOD (victim of the day) would be Hazel (Ingrid dela Paz), a hard-working girl who has a bratty sick mother to take care of. To cut the long story short, Hazel's bag gets snatched by Domeng who's in a bike driven by Fredo. A concerned taxi driver, Mang Conrado (Smokey Manaloto), who was himself a holdup victim, decides to pursue the tandem. The result was tragic for Fredo, but Domeng was apprehended by the cops. He was charged with "robbery with homicide", due to Fredo's death.

As legal proceedings go, this seemingly petty crime took faster to litigate than most. Domeng was eventually convicted, not of "robbery with homicide" as he didn't directly cause the death of Fredo who was, for all intents and purposes, accomplice to the crime. 

Domeng was eventually convicted of simple "robbery" that will get him imprisonment between 6 months to 4 years and 2 months depending on the judge's decision, circumstances considered.

The story is rather hackneyed and under-developed, but with an hour to tell its story, they have an excuse for its paltry character development. But think "Maalaala Mo Kaya"! They have almost similar running time, yet the series is usually braver and adept in expounding convoluted, albeit difficult stories. So you see, length shouldn't be an excuse. Another point of reference is King Palisoc's "Tandem" (2015) starring JM de Guzman and Nico Antonio. Now that was particularly stirring - with great turns from its more-than competent cast. 

Was Fredo really a victim himself? From the way the snatching was executed, this is highly unlikely. Check out a Youtube  trailer and you will observe that their motorbike was actually driving towards Hazel. Fredo was on the wheel. How can he not know? But that's just how this particular scene was set up. The story is based on real events so the film could have been tweaked for cinematic purposes.


Since "Ipaglaban Mo" is a legal drama that plunges into situations involving crime and punishment, it would sit well if they vet their crime stories more meticulously, instead of this narratively gaunt tale. On point of performance, Albie Casino was particularly engaging. I was going to channel-surf but ended up staying put, not the least of reasons included that gorgeous face. Dear Mr. Casino, if you ever decide to steer clear from doing tandem rides, mirror selfies and self-gratification videos, my house welcomes you for your eternal vacation. Love, Catherine. Tee hee. 
Jao Mapa is rather intense but I have this sneaking suspicion he was trying too hard to don the bad guy's hat. 

Such roles require a dash of subtlety to be truly street-smart credible. Jao on the other hand was loud and livid (see left photo). An insightful perspective isn't borne out of glaring eyes and loud barks.

Smokey Manaloto does better, but this comedian has always been dependable, thanks to his years of experience in the business. As for newcomer Ingrid dela Paz, who plays Hazel, she seems promising. She even reminds me of Shaina Magdayao. Unfortunately, her character isn't particularly momentous,is it? Regardless, may her appearance jumpstart a successful career in the business.

Cathy writes, "Dear. Mr. Casino...

#IMtandem   #jaomapa   #albiecasino   #ingriddelapaz


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