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REVIEW: ‘On the Job: The Missing 8’

The beginning of The Missing 8 departs from the chaotic, crime-infested Manila and arrives in the small provincial municipality of La Paz. You don’t have to be a keen observant to figure out that this sequel, just as the original film is a screaming social commentary. But what makes it, even more, a haunting portrait of our current events is the presence of key personalities and instances that keen viewers would easily see as equivalents of real-life people and events; say, the deviously unscrupulous town Mayor, Pedring Eusebio, who is brilliantly played by Dante Rivero, for example.

The expansion of the critically-acclaimed film, On the Job, to a six-episode mini-series–The Missing 8, provided mindblowing contexts for the events in the film version. It paved the way for more riveting scandals and mysteries to evolve.

HBO ASIA

Actors: John Arcilla, Dennis Trillo, Dante Rivero, Christopher de Leon, Lotlot de Leon, Andrea Brillantes, Wendell Ramos, Ricky Davao, William Martinez, Vandolph Quizon, Eric Fructuoso, Ina Feleo, Isabelle de Leon, Megan Young, and Soliman Cruz

Genre: Political thriller, neo-noir, crime

Premise: The story centers around crime syndicates that temporarily release contracted prison inmates to carry out political assassinations for those in power, except that the crime syndicates are run by politicians. (HBO Go)

Director: Erik Matti

Writer: Michiko Yamamoto

Running Time: 43-63 minutes

Watch it on: HBO Go

Why You Should See It:

First, it must be known to those who haven’t started seeing it yet, that the new HBO Go series includes the very first film released in 2013. The Missing 8 begins with the third episode, with the rest of the six-episode series focusing on three key personalities played by Filipino actors John Arcilla, Dennis Trillo, and Dante Rivero.

The beginning of The Missing 8 departs from the chaotic, crime-infested Manila and arrives in the small provincial municipality of La Paz. You don’t have to be a keen observant to figure out that this sequel, just as the original film is a screaming social commentary. But what makes it, even more, a haunting portrait of our current events is the presence of key personalities and instances that keen viewers would easily see as equivalents of real-life people and events; say, the deviously unscrupulous town Mayor, Pedring Eusebio, who is brilliantly played by Dante Rivero, for example.

The mix of grim and grit is expected to prevail in this sequel, and while the depiction of real-life events is showcased here with much more clarity and detail, the conundrum is somewhat toned down from the incredibly staged action set pieces of the first film. While the grimy streets of Manila became a potent venue for tightly, and elaborately staged chaos, the picturesque rural landscapes of La Paz, are poised to present challenges.

Arcilla plays the former idealistic and now works as a practically a political puppet, Sisoy Salas. A local celebrity, Salas owes his popularity to his massive influence as a radio announcer, but he thrives more by supporting even the most questionable politicians like Eusebio. When some of his media colleagues started disappearing–a nod to cases of desaparacidos–Salas embarks on a crusade of finding the truth, but he is living in lies.

Arcilla’s ravishing brilliance here does not any more surprise, but to anyone who is the first time to witness his artistry in full glory, may understandably feel like a biblical moment. 

There are still three upcoming parts of the series, but judgment can easily be made on the actor’s magnificent take on his role in this gripping socio-political drama. The contrast between the actor and his role is stark and damning, which only provides immaculate proof of his compelling artistic caliber.

The narrative is yet to uncover riveting backstories, including the prisoner-turned-hitman, Roman, breathtakingly played here by a deglamorized Dennis Trillo. Crossovers with the first film is expected to happen in the coming episodes as Matti himself, revealed that the mini-series was a chance for him to include deleted scenes in the 2013 film.

On the Job, the mini-series now streams on HBO Go. Catch it in high-definition and commercial-free with SKY’s HBO GO plan for as low as P99 a month via SKYcable or P149 a month via any SKY Fiber subscription package. Watch the official trailer below: 



 

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