Heneral Luna - Movie Review

Sep 16, 2015
heneral luna review

Oddly hilarious and at times poetic, director Jerrold Tarog's 'Heneral Luna' is more plausible than you might expect. The past Filipino historical biopics have been consistently looked alike as if they followed a certain formula to please its audience. Though some of it come out to be good, it just gets more tiring everytime a new one comes out. Thankfully 'Heneral Luna' disregards all of it. There was really no wholly factual angle to base upon, since it was never realized to determine what is actually fact to fiction, creates my biggest compliment I could give to it. It makes its viewers to seek more about the history of Gen. Antonio Luna, and to uncover bitter truths about our ownselves. 

It was directly, and said multiple times that Filipinos indeed are the enemies of the Philippines. The movie latches on that quote until its climax which makes sense on all of it. *SPOILERS* The betrayal of Antonio Luna at the end, which doesn't really imply whoever started the carnage (Luna's arrogant attitude or his comrades) was handled very well IMO. Although the carnage took itself bloodier (and actually impossible) than it should've been, it convinces the viewers that Philippine history was painful and full of sweet lies. 

International actor John Arcilla OWNS his role as Antonio Luna and he didn't even try hard to let everyone know he's Luna because we are already convinced of him from the very start. It is a near perfect portrayal of the hero, but the only flaw I could actually give from it (aside from its uneven pacing) is that nobody can stand up to this performance, especially given the fact that it has a superbly stellar cast that includes Paulo Avelino, Archie Alemania, Joem Bascon, Mon Confiado to name a few. One really comes close though, Nonie Buencamino, who amazingly plays his ancestor Felipe Buencamino, Sr., one of the cabinet members during the post-Spanish colony.

heneral luna still

Given its huge budget, the production takes advantage of it with the multiple breathtaking action set pieces on field. But the thrills isn't taken place during the warfield for this movie, but inside a table room filled with gentlemen debating on whether to accept the Americans' assistance or not. In one of the best bits of the movie, a telegram duel between Luna and Gen. Mascardo earned the biggest applause in the theater. Thanks to the quick dialogue and sharp editing none other than by Tarog himself (he also wrote the music score. So this is HIS movie really.), this scene could've ended up being dull as hell (especially that "kabaong" joke).

heneral luna review

'Heneral Luna' might sound boring as your history teachers taught you of its stories, but it isn't really. The movie puts a spin, a risky spin on the storytelling because it merely presents the facts but to make a lot of humor in it. The performance by its lead might become the most memorable aspect of it, but its the message of reflecting on your nationality is the one that crawls under you.

The geek rates it 10/10!

'Heneral Luna' is rated R-13 and still showing in selected cinemas nationwide!

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