‘Ang Panday’ Movie Review: A Modern Spin On The Iconic Filipino Superhero


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*MINOR Spoilers Ahead*

Continuing the lore of one of the Philippines’ most celebrated superhero icons, Coco Martin takes over the mantle as the newest wielder of the mystical sword, and technically the next in the the original Panday’s bloodline to use the weapon, Flavio III.

Coco Martin as the titular character in ‘Ang Panday’/Star Cinema
Coco Martin as the titular character in ‘Ang Panday’/Star Cinema

'Ang Panday' puts a spin on the tale by presenting the popular actor as the third in bloodline to possess the weapon that will be useful in defeating arch enemy, Lizardo, played by Jake Cuenca.

Jake Cuenca as the new Lizardo in ‘Ang Panday’/Star Cinema
Jake Cuenca as the new Lizardo in ‘Ang Panday’/Star Cinema

Given that we have seen multiple iterations of the character already -- be it on the big or small screen, it’s difficult to be intrigued by this new version of “Ang Panday.” The various incarnations of Flavio had been spun in numerous ways that sometimes, it is kind of a wonder why we keep on rebooting the film in a way that seems to just be a one and done thing. Despite this, everyone can agree that the quintessential form of the Pinoy superhero remains to be Fernando Poe Jr.’s 1980 outing, and given Martin’s career trajectory seemingly trying to emulate “The King’s,” it makes sense that he gets a crack at one of his most iconic roles. Not just in terms of embodying the role, but also directing himself, just like Poe Jr. back in his day.

The best thing, however, that director Martin did with his version of “Ang Panday” is to put a contemporary flavor to it. Retreading the same story from the same origins story feels too redundant at this point. Presenting the new narrative as a continuation of the longstanding story opens up the lore in a way that the film does not film boxed by what its predecessors have set. Further, it gives the movie the ability to carve its own place in the string of “Ang Panday” films over the years.

Unfortunately, “Ang Panday” does not offer something new in terms of cinematic storytelling. The tropes are too cliched just wrapped in a new way. Cuenca’s performance was convincing but is hindered by uncompelling motivations, leaving his iteration no different than other versions of the antagonist bar the fact that he makes Lizardo more stylish, making him scary in a different way. Understandably, the film also gets campy at times, but it’s tolerable considering the kind of mystical story that it is telling.

Coco Martin as the titular character in ‘Ang Panday’/Star Cinema
Coco Martin as the titular character in ‘Ang Panday’/Star Cinema

All in all, Coco Martin’s “Ang Panday” is decent retelling of the age-old story. The attempt to modernize the story for a new generation of fans is commendable, but it fails short in terms of fully executing the narrative. Nonetheless, if you want a thrilling action-adventure flick, there are enough interesting plot points that make it worth your while in the cinemas.

“Ang Panday” is one of the eight films partaking in MMFF 2017. If this isn’t your type of holiday media entertainment, check out all the other movies and see which one tickles your fancy.

Watch full trailer of 'Ang Panday' | MMFF 2017:


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