Reverential treatment weighs down Pacquiao biopic | Inquirer Entertainment

Reverential treatment weighs down Pacquiao biopic

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 11:44 PM April 17, 2015

Manny Pacquiao is only 36 years old—but, we’ve already seen three films about his ascent to boxing superstardom: Joel Lamangan’s glossy 2006 dud, “Pacquiao: The Movie,” featuring Jericho Rosales and Bea Alonzo, no less; Ryan Moore and Leon Gast’s hard-hitting documentary, “Manny” (narrated by Liam Neeson), and Paul Soriano’s “Kid Kulafu,” released barely two weeks before Pacman takes on the biggest fight of his career, on May 2!

With the eight-division champ’s eagerly anticipated mano-a-mano against the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. fast approaching, “Kulafu” couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time—the better for his followers to rally behind Manny when he needs it most!

The proficient but much-too-reverential film focuses on the driven pugilist’s early years in Bukidnon, Digos, Manila and General Santos City—where, thanks to his uncle, Sardo (Cesar Montano), Manny (Buboy Villar) discovered and nurtured his love for boxing. It puts his rags-to-riches journey in perspective, but doesn’t offer new insights into the Pacquiao mystique.


Soriano’s film benefits from its spot-on casting of Villar, whose gimlet-eyed portrayal and physical/facial approximation of Manny give the film a modicum of believability. In contrast, it’s hard to suspend disbelief that the luminous Alessandra de Rossi, however winsome the actress’ “improvised” portrayal is, can ever pass muster as Pacman’s irrepressible mom, Dionisia. The role is a tough thespic row to hoe but, to her credit, the actress makes Mommy D less animated and “refines” her thick Visayan accent.


The movie stalls in its runup to its rousing finale. While it is for the most part viewable and visually appealing, it doesn’t pack as much wallop as, say, Gast and Moore’s docu because, like Soriano’s well-meaning but ultimately underwhelming runner’s tale, “Thelma,” it fails to capture the excitement and urgency of the contact sport that has made Manny one of boxing’s greatest fighters. —Surely, there must be more to boxing than its propensity for violence!

MORISSETTE. Releases self-titled debut album.

MORISSETTE. Releases self-titled debut album.

This ‘loser’s’ a winner

The competition is just as fierce in the talent-tilt subculture. But, losing in a singing contest—like “The Voice of the Philippines”—has not rung the death knell for mesmerizing Morissette’s quest for musical stardom. In fact, the gifted songstress has just released her self-titled debut album—and successfully turned her initially bumpy ride into a pleasurable, upward ascendancy!

Her polished and impeccably rendered vocal bravado is always easy on the ears—but, her gentle sound is even better—as she deftly demonstrates in Francis “Kiko” Salazar’s heartfelt ballad, “You and I,” and the two contrasting versions of the “Himig Handog” entry, “Akin Ka Na Lang.”

Truth is, Morissette’s whistle register and stratospheric trills in the otherwise radio-accessible “‘Di Mapaliwanag” and her cover of Jolina Magdangal’s “Kapag Ako Ay Nagmahal” sound stilted. If you’re partial to something more upbeat, “Throwback,” her hip-hop-tinged duet with another musical wunderkind, KZ Tandingan, lightens up the collection’s ballad-heavy repertoire.

Morissette also delivers knock-out revivals of Aiza Seguerra’s “Ano’ng Nangyari Sa Ating Dalawa?” and the luscious, R&B-styled “Mahal Kita, Mahal Mo Siya, Mahal N’ya Ay Iba”—one of Sharon Cuneta’s jukebox hits during her “Mr. DJ” heyday!

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TAGS: Alessandra De Rossi, Biopic, Buboy Villar, Cesar Montano, Kid Kulafu, Manny Pacquiao, Morissette, movie, Movie Review, Paul Soriano

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