10,000 Hours REVIEW: Robin Padilla is on top of his game in this action-drama



10,000 Hours is a triumph. Ambitious in scope, it succeeds because the team behind it is willing to go big.

It is satisfying to see a Filipino movie that feels limitless in execution. Nary a thing is spared to make it: not budget, not creativity, not bravery, not over-the-top action.

Starring Robin Padilla, 10,000 Hours tells the story of a policeman-turned-senator Gabriel Alcaraz.

On the day that he is planning to expose a corruption case that will implicate the President of the Philippines, he is accused of murdering his former police partner.

Feeling trapped, he escapes to Amsterdam to look for evidence that can prove his innocence.

What's most commendable is how 10,000 Hours chooses to tell a grand story and run away with it. Viewers may recognize that Gabriel Alcaraz's plight closely resembles the story of Senator Panfilo Lacson, who went into hiding for 14 months after being accused of murder.

But the similarity ends there—the events in 10,000 Hours are fictional, and it is noteworthy that the filmmakers went this route without worry of public backlash.

It all results from a good script. The story is doled out slowly and smartly, with no tiring flashbacks or clunky expository dialogue. There are also no annoying side stories that deviate from the plot.

Granted, some scenes are preposterous: for instance, there's a chase scene in Amsterdam where the protagonists ride a slow boat along the river but the police still can't catch them. But these are easily forgivable.

Robin Padilla is on top of his game in this action-drama movie. He is believable as a principled-but-broken politician, working only for his family and country. There's no hint of artificiality when he espouses lines about patriotism or the love for truth, making the story all the more credible.

With perfectly choreographed fight sequences, Robin is every bit an action star at 44 years old.

The other members of the cast should also be commended.

Mylene Dizon is stellar as usual. She plays Robin's suffering wife, and she has an affecting breakdown scene that would probably be the basis for another acting award.

Bela Padilla gives the performance of her career as Maya Limchauco, a TV journalist whowants to help Senator Alcaraz. Her character is written and acted so well that it doesn't seem preposterous when a twist about her is revealed.

Ketchup Eusebio, Maya's assistant and cameraman, serves as the movie's comic relief. He's a competent actor, and it's always a welcome relief to see him in movies. He steals all the scenes he's in.

But the movie's breakout star is Carla Humphries, who's smoking hot as Isabel Manahan, the Filipina beauty who helps Senator Alcaraz as he hides in Amsterdam. She's not a romantic interest for our hero, but the sexual tension still keeps the movie afloat even in its dullest moments.

All in all, 10,000 Hours is a great mix of a grand story and a competent ensemble cast coming together to make a good whole.


Ed's Note: The "PEP Review" section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial staff.



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