Disturbing scenes mar action-comedy

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By Zsarlene B. Chua, Reporter

MMFF Movie Review
3Pol Trobol: Huli Ka Balbon
Directed by Rodel “Coco Martin” Nacianceno

3POL TROBOL: Huli Ka Balbon is an action-comedy film and the second feature from Rodel Nacianceno or more popularly known as Coco Martin.

The film follows Apollo C. Balbon — the titular Pol — who is in charge of security of Secretary Guillermo of the security council. And true to its genre, less than a minute into the film there’s already a high octane action scene featuring shotguns, automatic rifles, and a rocket launcher in the middle of Carriedo.

Mr. Guillermo is an upright man whose misguided decision to directly confront the leaders of a firearms smuggling ring — a general and a Senator — during a Senate session leads to his death in an ambush.

In the aftermath of the ambush, Pol — the lone survivor — is tasked to take care of Mr. Guillermo’s daughter Trina (Jennylyn Mercado) and bring a ledger filled with proof to the President, while being on the run.

Mr. Nacianceno (who also acts in the film) shows improvement from last year’s Panday, delivering a less complicated storyline and a more polished film than his debut film.

Panday often felt like a mishmash of everything the ambitious director wanted to say, but in 3Pol, Mr. Nacianceno pulled back on the ambition and focused on the story: there’s less sub-arcs and back stories. There are also fewer action scenes as Mr. Nacianceno focused on doing more comedy.

(Light spoilers ahead.)

But was it a good film? Technically, it wasn’t bad — if you think of the film as a funnier version of Ang Probinsyano — but what bothered me was Pol perving on his boss’ daughter throughout the film. Oh, and most of the male characters are also pervs or bullies, or both. It was gross.

Another scene that made me feel uncomfortable were several attempted rape scenes, with one involving Jennylyn Mercado and Sam Milby (who plays the son of the crooked Senator). I thought this was 2019 and I thought action films would have evolved enough not to include such disturbing scenes in film. Apparently, Mr. Nacianceno is still a caveman.

Jennylyn Mercado deserves better than being a damsel in distress.

I hope one day Mr. Nacianceno moves on from dirty jokes and using sexual harassment as a trope in his action films. I don’t think this film is suitable for children.

Honestly, I would’ve liked the film if they stuck with the premise and didn’t do the problematic scenes.

Oh, and it’s just 2020 but Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso’s cameo felt like an early campaign promo after a scene outlining all his accomplishments as “the former Mayor of Balete, Batangas.” The actor is currently the Mayor of the City of Manila. His character is named “Yorme,” his nickname in Manila.

But in all fairness, Mr. Nacianceno looks absolutely great in drag. He looks like Farrah Moan from RuPaul’s Drag Race. He spends a good chunk of the film in drag.

The film also stars Edu Manzano, Ai-Ai delas Alas, and Joey Marquez.

MTRCB Rating: PG

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