Starring John Arcilla
In the world of modern-day Philippine cinema where mushy love stories and over-the-top melodramas are most dominant, one movie manages to stand out from the rest of the crowd, and that is Heneral Luna. Featuring an incredibly talented ensemble cast, lead by John Arcilla as the titular character, what more could you ask for?
We are used to seeing stereotypical heroic male leads in movies, and Luna certainly isn’t one of them. He is the kind of hero who would certainly risk anything just to stand up for what he believes in. Most of the time, he lets his patriotism take over his mind, compromising the morality of his actions in order to protect the country he loves so dearly. One might think that a historical film like this would be boring, but trust me, it’s the complete opposite. Jerrold Tarog‘s solid direction makes for one intense, engaging, and entertaining film.
There were a lot of unexpectedly funny moments in the film, which makes it even better. The scene where Luna sequesters a train had everyone in the theater laughing, myself included. There was some blood and gore, here and there, which was nicely done, but may come across as over-the-top for some. The film’s message was delivered strongly, without compromising entertainment value. Every single cast member in this film gave excellent performances. John Arcilla kills it as the titular Gen. Antonio Luna, effectively displaying his wide range of acting skills without overacting. Archie Alemania manages to steal the show in every scene he’s in.
Heneral Luna is a masterpiece. It is the kind of local film that we rarely see these days, one with top-notch production values, and an excellent cast. It may be overlooked in favor of the current local and foreign offerings available in Philippine cinemas, but it truly is worth watching and is definitely one of the best Filipino films made in recent years. Go see it while it’s still showing.
My Rating: 10/10