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Charismatic players make viewers care for the characters they portray

/ 12:20 AM July 02, 2017

From left: John Lloyd Cruz, Angel Locsin and Richard Gutierrez

The first few telecasts of “La Luna Sangre” had visual scope and dramatic impact, with striking images that effectively brought to vivid life an otherworldly alternative universe inhabited by supernatural denizens like vampires and werewolves.

The sequel to past hit series like “Lobo” and “Imortal” now extends its storytelling to the next generation with protagonists played by Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo.

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As of this writing, they have yet to make an appearance, but the new series still sustains viewers’ attention and empathy, because Kathryn’s parents are portrayed by Angel Locsin and John Lloyd Cruz.

They’re such charismatic and “knowing” performers that we care for the characters they play, even if we sense that they may not be around for long.

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What about Daniel? His character as a boy is played by a child actor whose father is portrayed by returning star, Romnick Sarmenta.

Like Angel and John Lloyd, Romnick is an exceptional actor and screen presence who adds to the series’ dramatic dynamism.

This early in the new show’s storytelling, his performance is already one of the production’s stronger suits.

What’s up next for viewers, even as Daniel and Kathryn are about to make their thespic bid and grand entrance?

It looks like the young protagonists’ lives are in danger, because the cult and coven’s “replacement” leaders feel threatened by their mere existence.

Kathryn’s character, in particular, is a key threat to them, because it’s more than hinted at that she has inherited her parents’ superpowers—even after they gave them up in order to live a “normal,” human existence.

For his part, the boy Daniel is shown being trained as a fighter by his father, so he can be expected to help Kathryn’s character ward off and triumph over the similarly powerful enemy.

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At this early point in the sequel’s unfolding, the major nemeses include the coven’s new leader, played by Victor Neri, and Richard Gutierrez as the king of the vampires.

Thus far, Richard’s portrayal is appropriately sinister and toothily evil, but we’re still waiting for him to go beyond the usual “vampiric” vileness, and make the role truly his own.

It would help a lot if he’s given scenes that require him to do more than just look and act the part.

For his part, Richard could study some of the sinister and villainous portrayals of the likes of Jeremy Irons and Anthony Hopkins, who are able to take cliché “supernatural” stereotypes and limn them in a more accessible and sometimes even vulnerable light.

Finally, an early standout in the cast of character actors in “La Luna Sangre” is another returning actor, Randy Santiago, as one of Daniel’s relatives.

Aside from his signature easy-breezy performance style, what makes his reappearance on TV distinctive is his “adjusted” look—no longer with both eyes in dark shades, but now with one eye “revealed.”

Yes, it’s a gimmick, but it’s a welcome touch that adds freshness to Randy’s portrayal, and we’re eager to see what else he has up his thespic sleeve, now that he’s on the comeback trail.

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TAGS: Angel Locsin, Daniel Padilla, John Lloyd Cruz, Kathryn Bernardo, La Luna Sangre, vampires and werewolves
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