Ian Veneracion feels that the decline of local action films has paved the entry of a new generation of creative individuals with fresh ideas to offer.

Photo: Noel Orsal

Former action star Ian Veneracion admires the young lead actors of GMA-7's upcoming romantic drama series, First Time, which features  Barbie Forteza, Joshua Dionisio, and Jhake Vargas. The show will premiere on Monday, February 8, before the news program 24 Oras.

"Itong mga bagets na 'to, nakakatuwa kasi makikita mo sila sa set, may mga notes sila. So, aside from the fact na binabasa nila nang buo 'yong script, may mga notes pa silang sarili, may mga personal notes sila and reminders para sa sarili nila... Concerned sila sa story, 'tsaka alam nila kung anong importance ng bawat scene kahit hindi sila involved. Natutuwa ako sa ganun kasi ang ganda-gandang training," Ian told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) last February 1 at Studio 6 of the GMA Network Studios in Quezon City.

The young stars discipline in their craft may be attributed to their participation in an acting workshop facilitated by highly-respected veteran actor Pen Medina.

Ian remarked that emerging actors today fortunately enjoy a lot of extra perks from their respective home networks and handlers. Thus, they're able to hone their skills and even learn new ones. It's a stark contrast to the practice of yesteryears, when talents had to take care of themselves in a cutthroat industry.

"Ngayon, mas accessible sa kanila ang teachers. For example, gusto nila matutong kumanta, maibibigay agad sa kanila. Whereas before, kanya-kanyang sikap 'yan, hanap ka ng teacher mo kung gusto mong matuto and bayad ka din ng sarili mo, on your own lahat. Kaya ngayon ang laking advantage meron ang mga batang artista, sana lang gamitin nila wisely."

PUTTING STUNTS BEHIND. Ian started his showbiz career as part of the now defunct youth-oriented show That's Entertainment. But it was in doing action films that Ian was able to break out  of his boy-next-door image.

Unfortunately, clichéd plots coupled with the decline of box-office  returns brought the local action industry to its knees. The death of the genre automatically sent all its players scampering to find new roles in the booming television industry.

Ian was fortunate to land roles outside the big screen as TV networks continued to hire him for various projects, though this time he's doing drama rather than action roles.

"I do miss action [films], pero 'yong physical aspect lang. Pero I get to do that even on television, like 'yong mga kay Robin Padilla, Totoy Bato and Joaquin Bordado. Marami kaming mga ginagawang action scenes and fight scenes," he said.

However, the mestizo actor was upfront in saying that even he got tired of the action genre's staleness and lack of innovation, which has become the butt of jokes in Pinoy pop culture over the years.

"Umabot kasi sa point na nakakasawa na rin. Feeling ko, nag-uulit-ulit lalo nung time dati na palakihan lang kayo ng kotseng pinapasabog, minsan kung hindi car chase, motor chase o pag may budget, chase ng helicopter. Paulit-ulit na lang 'yong story.

"So, sa tingin ko nga, ang ganda rin nung nangyari na in a way, though ang sama nga lang pakinggan, lumiit 'yong income ng local movies, pero mas naging creative ang mga tao. Naglabasan 'yong mga magagaling na batang writers and directors, 'tapos dumami 'yong indie films. Maraming naglabasang magaling. Maraming hindi rin magaling, but still nagkaroon ng venue para sa lahat. So, I think it's a good thing," reflected Ian.

The actor's aesthetic taste has also matured through the years. When asked if he's willing to do an action movie again should the genre make an improbable comeback, Ian paused a bit before answering.  "Oo, pero not the same stuff that I've been doing before. Siguro action-drama, action-suspense and kung may mga action scenes man, hindi lang para mag-stunt nang mag-stunt, tumalon-talon at magpaputok ng baril.

"Siguro mas conscious na ko ngayon sa importance ng story, 'yong depth ng character, 'yong relationships ng characters. Mas naa-appreciate ko na 'yong ganun pag nanonood ako ng movies. So, kung gagawa ako, gusto ko ganun na din."