I really wanted to like this film. The trailer, save the very obvious references/copies of certain big-budgeted Hollywood “epic” movies, had a certain appeal–that this was going to be massive, and that it was going to be one hell of a ride. It was a win-win situation. If the story doesn’t carry the movie, at least the action will. Which is why I was disappointed to find the movie dragging.
The story of Ang Panday 2 follows the events of the first movie, obviously, but with certain retconning involved. No mention was made of Celso (Geoff Eigenmann), although we do get a cameo from Emelita (Rhian Ramos) who died in the first film. And though the main villain does mention that Maria (Iza Calzado) is of magical descent, as does her own mother, it was not confronted by the good guys–not even after main character Flavio (Ramon Revilla Jr.) sees her aged and caged in the villain’s den. Which was weird, seeing as how it was already revealed in the first movie.
But retcon complaints aside, my main beef with the movie’s story structure is its unevenness. The movie starts with a bang, narrating Flavio’s conquests and his triumph over Lizardo (Phillip Salvador). We then jump to a villain (Lorna Tolentino) that appears out of nowhere who narrates that Lizardo isn’t really dead. And then we see Lizardo returning through a blast of lightning. And then we go back to the good guys who are none the wiser, until after Lizardo’s minions start attacking random towns to wreak havoc. Meanwhile, Flavio is getting a taste of normal life–complete with a secret kiss from the mysterious Arlana (Marian Rivera) a few nights before his wedding to Maria, and a dream-like encounter with animal-people who wants to thank him for killing Lizardo. Which he didn’t really do.
A lot of things are happening in the first hour of the movie. It doesn’t happen logically, but it’s happening. Maria gets abducted. Again. And Flavio makes it his mission to chase after her, reluctantly letting a band of wannabe warriors from the town he’s inhabiting join his rescue attempt. Flavio gets sucked into a portal, only to see Maria aged and caged, and then spat back out to where his rescue party is getting decimated by Lizardo’s minions. Flavio gets blamed for abandoning the party, and he accepts the blame because he prefers to be alone–and this is the part where my mind started wandering.
Why? Mostly because the movie started becoming more talk and less action. We get introduced (finally) to the mysterious Arlana who is built up as a strong female character, only for her to devolve into a damsel in distress, before becoming kick-ass again; we meet new characters from Arlana’s tribe who are supposedly peace-loving people, who cast Arlana out for fighting back, only for them to turn to violence at the drop of a hat; and let’s not even mention the deus-ex-machina appearance of the townspeople-slash-wannabe-warriors who spurned Flavio in the middle of the movie, only to suddenly have his back at the battle no one even knew about. Oh, and remember the villain who narrated Lizardo’s return at the start of the movie? She does nothing at all in the course of the film, except turn pretty in the end and leave an ominous “things are about to get worse” message–to an empty cavern!
As for Maria? Flavio never gets around to saving her because she dies, gets transported to the land of the faeries, turns young again, and remains asleep–until the end, that is, where her maiden-in-waiting Dahlia (Sheena Halili) calls the attention of Maria’s mother to say that something was happening to Maria’s body. That’s where the story ends. Seriously.
Bong Revilla movies are hit-0r-misses for me. I liked last year’s Si Agimat at si Enteng Kabisote, and his post-apocalyptic Resiklo. The first Ang Panday movie was okay too. Those were hits for me. I don’t think you need to ask me where this movie ends up in my Bong Revilla movie spectrum.