The 36-year-old Rodel Pacheco Nacianceno or better known as Coco Martin has ventured into directing and the classic fictitious character ‘Ang Panday’ (‘The Blacksmith’) named Flavio, which was created by Carlo J. Caparas and artist Steve Gan—is his debut directorial project.
Come December 25, the first-time director will be competing against other seven Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 (MMFF) entries, but because of Martin’s following and the cult following of the popular Panday series that was popularized back in the 70s would go and catch this Star Cinema-CCM Film Productions-Vila Films fantasy-adventure flick for the whole family.
Nothing could go ‘Wrong’ with something ‘Iconic’.
Since the character of Flavio became part of Philippine pop culture when its comic version was adapted into film by the late Fernando Poe Jr. as the blacksmith hero and Max Alvarado as the archenemy—Lizardo—this film has a lot of promise to be a hit in this year’s MMMF 2017.
Just like any other Hollywood superhero films—it already has a captive audience; but the only danger is failing the fans’ expectations.
However, in this year’s version of ‘Ang Panday’ it has successfully combined all the elements to appeal the discriminating taste of Filipino audience.
It has fantasy, adventure, action, romance and even family drama to boost for its potential box-office success.
A More ‘Current’ Version of ‘Ang Panday’.
What people should expect on the rebirth of Flavio on the silver screen? Martin made it more the ‘now’ kind of ‘Panday’.
Martin’s character lives in Tondo (a place in Manila that’s popularly attached to the former King of Philippine Movies) with his rather large family. He lives with his adoptive parents played by Jaime Fabregas and Gloria Romero as Andoy Batungbakal and Rosa Batungbakal. In the house, he also lives with his adoptive brother—Primo portrayed by Julio Diaz. And to attract kids—Coco ensure to have the kids from ‘Ang Probinsyano’ series to be part of the Batungbakal household as his adoptive siblings—the likes of Awra, Nayomi ‘Heart’ Ramos, Enzo ‘Bingo’ Pelojero and James ‘Paquito’ Sagarino.
Such scenario is a typical family in Manila particularly Tondo, which is known to be the largest in terms of area and population; with an estimated 631,313 people back in 2015. So one could just imagine how congested the area is, today. It is perfect place to where Lizardo would start his invasion and dominion as a dark lord.
Though, there maybe scenes in the film are reminiscent of other films and TV series—it won’t bother the moviegoers who would flock the cinemas because it has fast-paced handling of scenes and it provides the kind of entertainment for all types of audiences.
Jake Cuenca is Just Perfect as Lizardo.
If there is one actor that deserves to be recognized in this film—it is Jake Cuenca.
His take as Lizardo is one that reminds the image of the character imagined by James O’Barr—‘The Crow’ which can easily be identified by the late Brandon Lee.
Being evil in this film, Cuenca effortlessly channeled the dark image or impression of a crow. His every appearance simply suggests bad omen as dubbed in the Babylon times—being the 13th month that reflects negative value. But I look forward to having a real transformation (like an Animagus in J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’) of Lizardo into an evil bird like a crow.
It could be interesting also if aside from a kid and an old-man hermit-like character as Flavio’s sidekicks—he could have an owl as a pet ally to counter a possible pet ally of Lizardo in the form of a crow.
Lizardo is a character that perfectly fits Jake. His facial expressions, his body language, his stance are just apt to be the archenemy of Coco in this latest version of a noble blacksmith hero that has a dagger (‘Balaraw’ in Filipino) as a weapon that magically morphs into a sword when he raises it and points to the skies.
Panday lovers will be in a ‘great treat’ especially the fight scene between Flavio and Lizardo in the desert.
In the previous versions of the iconic Filipino superhero—the blade hums when danger is near and it can cut through anything without resistance; but as far as I can remember it was the book with that meteor-like symbol on the cover was the one that forewarns about an incoming danger. Though the blade of Flavio’s sword still hums only during the final fight scene,
Coco Martin in this film legitimizes his status as a filmmaker and has slowly followed the footsteps of FPJ, who once donned the character of Flavio.