By Michelle Anne P. Soliman, Reporter
Jack Em Popoy:
Directed by Michael Tuviera
WHEN THE hosts and one of the directors of the longest-running afternoon variety show on television, and actors from the action TV remake based on a Fernando Poe, Jr. film team up on the big screen, the audience gets a little bit of everything.
It was an ordinary day on the busy streets of Manila when police officer Emily “Em” Fernandez (Maine Mendoza) of the Manila Police District arrives at a scene of a car accident. While she helps iron things out, a thief runs by. As she shifts her attention and runs after the thief, senior police inspector Jacinto “Jack” Halimuyac (Coco Martin) — dressed in civilian clothes — arrives at the scene on a motorcycle. The police officers meet each other for the first time after a violent action sequence with the other criminals.
Due to inspector Halimuyac’s arrogance, officer Fernandez complains about him to her father, senior police officer Perfecto “Popoy” Fernandez (Vic Sotto). Unexpectedly, they are assigned to work together on a case called Oplan Salot (Plague) involving the distribution of illegal drugs by business mogul Antonio Montenegro (Rolando Valdez). As Jack, Em, and Popoy team up to solve the case, working together also leads them to discover truths about their past.
I sat in theater dreading the probable shallowness of the storyline. But it turned out to be more bearable than I expected. Simply put, the story presented issues on loss, abandonment, and criminality starring main actors from Eat Bulaga!’s “Kalyeserye” (excluding Alden Richards) and the lead actor of Ang Probinsyano.
Mr. Martin (real name Rodel Nacianceno) suits roles in action movies which is evident in this one. Meanwhile, Ms. Mendoza’s acting chops seems natural since gaining popularity as an accidental actress.
Despite the lack of product placements (Mr. Sotto’s previous movies are rife with them), the film includes common tropes in local dramas — a character grows up not knowing their real parents; gay men as a lead character’s confidants (in this case, loving uncles); and, a final fight sequence in a warehouse.
The Eat Bulaga! segment where inspector Halimuyac joins the “Poging Pulis 2018” competition was unnecessary. It was likely included to give Pauleen Luna (Mr. Sotto’s wife) a cameo on screen.
If there was one element that entertained me, it was the final fight sequence which highlighted individual fight scenes per main antagonist.
Despite its lengthy scenes of physical combat and gun shooting, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board granted the film a PG rating in November after the movie’s final version was presented to them, giving the film the opportunity reach a younger audience.
MTRCB Rating: PG