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Ang Mga Kidnaper ni Ronnie Lazaro


I mentioned in my previous Cinemalaya reviews this year that independent cinema is dead. That's because major players in the Philippine film industry have started dipping their hands in indie turf.

Well apparently, indie cinema is not dead. It just moved to a different circuit, by the name of Sineng Pambansa.

The new home of Philippine independent cinema.

Now this particular film is a great example of indie cinema. What really makes a cinematic work independent? What are some of the characteristics of independent films?

1. Good storyline
Cinema is all about storytelling. There is a saying in film school, "The story is the master." That means everything must revolve around the story─the cast, the special effects, the visuals, the production design─all of these must propel the story forward.

"Pasalamat ka maganda kwento mo!"

And this film's storyline goes like this: A group of independent filmmakers want Ronnie Lazaro to star in their film. But because Mr. Lazaro has already committed to other indie films, he is abducted by the filmmakers and forced to do the film with them. The plot may be simple, but there is so much comedic potential, which they were able to pull off. Thank God.

2. Same faces
Because an indie budget is so low, it mostly goes to the production equipment such as lights and cameras. But that doesn't mean you won't see any famous faces in indie flicks. Some actors, despite being A-listers, choose to lend their talents to emerging filmmakers.

I went to film school with that guy on the left.

And that is the reason this film has, of course, Ronnie Lazaro as himself (in the title role, no less), Noni Buencamino, Dwight Gaston, Epy Quizon, and Soliman Cruz. Then there's also cameo appearances from the great Joel Torre, Tado, Lourd De Veyra, and my favorite Filipino actor, Jun Sabayton.

3. Not so good audio and visuals
I don't like saying bad things about local films especially, but this film was horrible bad not so good. I've seen film majors with better theses than this film. Yes, it may be apparent from the script that director Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez is schooled in the cinematic arts, but that's just on paper. On the screen, it's a totally different ballgame. Like I said, I've seen college students do better.

"Nobody disses my film! Even if it sucked!"

Let me just end the review right there, and let the rating speak for itself.

Ang Mga Kidnaper ni Ronnie Lazaro. Philippines. 2012.

Rating: Three and a half out of ten.

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