Ang Panday banks on the mass appeal of Coco Martin to recreate the legendary character of Flavio, originally played by Fernando Poe Jr.
In this modern version, which also marks the directorial debut of Coco (using his real name Rodel Nacianceno), one may be inclined to think that a worthy replacement for FPJ has finally come.
Coco’s character, Flavio is a seemingly ordinary kanto boy in Tondo.
Unbeknownst to him, he is destined for something bigger: saving the world from evil.
Flavio finds himself in the midst of a battle with the immortal Lizardo, played by Jake Cuenca, who threatens to destroy the home in Tondo, where Flavio and his family live.
An old man comes to reveal that Flavio is the rightful one to hold the balaraw (dagger). As the descendant of the Panday (the blacksmith), Flavio is the world’s only hope in conquering Lizardo and his horde of supernatural beasts.
You have to hand it to the first-time director for orchestrating old and familiar elements of the classic Ang Panday, from impressive visual effects to countless fight scenes.
As Flavio travels to the world of diwatas, moviegoers will get to see picturesque locations that showcase the immense beauty of the Philippines.
The film shows painstaking attention to detail: Flavio’s family shanty in Tondo has an industrial-inspired design, and the selection of camera shots and angles are reminiscent of Hollywood action films.
If you watch Ang Probinsyano on a daily basis on TV, you’ll see a lot of familiar faces in Ang Panday, which is fine, except that some parts are too similar: a posse of tambays who follow him around, and a large, extended family living with him at home.
There's also a smattering of Pinoy movie cliches, like the song and dance number to serenade the leading lady, a barangay beauty pageant, and encounters with enchanted creatures. And when you hear Flavio being referred to as tagalupa, well, it could evoke memories of a fantasy world all of its own.
In the same way, watching Jake Cuenca as Lizardo could remind you of Hollywood actors who played villains in the past.
What makes Ang Panday a family movie suited for Christmas is that it stays true to Pinoy values: unconditional love and acceptance for family, the importance of a pure heart over great power, and the value of surrendering to a higher being just when evil is on the verge of defeating good.
This upgraded version of Ang Panday lives up to the fabled character immortalized by FPJ, and now brought to life in modern times by the new “idolo ng masa.”
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.