Vic Sotto, Coco Martin, and Maine Mendoza are three of the biggest names in showbiz today due in large part to their ongoing TV shows that are seen in rival networks and rule the ratings game.
Vic and Maine headline the longest-running noontime show, Eat Bulaga on GMA-7. Meanwhile, Coco stars in the longest-running prime-time drama-action series, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano on ABS-CBN.
Their Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) 2018 entry, Jack Em Popoy: The PulisCredibles succeeds in giving all three stars and the TV shows that they represent equal exposure and importance.
It also switches things up and offers some surprises, much to the great enjoyment of MMFF viewers.
Vic plays veteran policeman Perfecto “Popoy” Fernandez, who’s also fondly called Pops by his colleagues and neighbors.
Maine’s character, Emily “Em” Fernandez, is a young policewoman, and she calls Popoy her Tatay Pops.
Coco is newly promoted policeman Jacinto “Jack” Halimuyac, whose determination in life is fueled by the hardships that he and his mother suffered after his father abandoned them.
Their lives get intertwined as they work in the same law enforcement department and run after a family-owned drug syndicate.
Director Michael “Mike” Tuviera has his work cut out for him, and he delivers by resisting the temptation to rely solely on the cast members’ star power.
In this MMFF 2018 entry jointly produced by Vic’s M-Zet Productions, Coco’s CCM Film Productions, and APT Entertainment Inc. (with Direk Mike’s father Antonio P. Tuviera as co-owner), the story goes beyond the simple police story and the execution offers more than what is expected from a potboiler.
Direk Mike ably mixes elements from genres such as comedy, drama, action, musical, and rom-com in order to depict a story tackling family, charity, friendship, teamwork, and the never ending battle between good and evil.
Vic, Coco, and Maine play characters that are not very different from their onscreen personas but they are also given opportunities to step out of their comfort zones.
Vic and Maine have drama and action scenes that they are able to pull off.
Coco shows his funny side through his comedic scenes and musical sequences.
Many in the supporting cast are already seen either with Coco in Ang Probinsyano or with Vic and Maine in Eat Bulaga! but in this movie, they belong to different camps.
It’s quite refreshing to watch Vic’s usual cohorts and fellow Kapuso stars Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola, Paolo Ballesteros, Ryzza Mae Dizon, and Baeby Baste interacting with Kapamilya stars.
Coco’s former and current co-stars Lito Lapid, Ronaldo Valdez, Tirso Cruz III, Cherry Pie Picache, Arjo Atayde, Ryza Cenon, Mark Lapid, and PJ Endrinal provide great support.
The same goes for Chai Fonacier, who’s in another Kapamilya teleserye, Halik. The breakout actress of the acclaimed movies Respeto and Patay na si Hesus, plays a cop smitten with her superior, Jack.
Despite Direk Mike’s best efforts to make the story believable and acceptable, there are still few instances when suspension of disbelief doesn’t work.
The police department’s headquarters, for instance, looks too corporate to imagine actual law enforcers holding office there.
Additionally, the whole plot twist on Jack’s reconnection with his estranged father gives that awkward “it’s a small world” feel.
Cherry Pie’s character is laudable because she provides the moral compass in the antagonists’ side led by drug lord Antonio Montenegro (Ronaldo Valdez) and his children Andrew (Arjo Atayde) and Andrea (Ryza Cenon).
Cherry Pie plays Antonio’s current wife, Valerie, who tries to talk her husband and stepchildren out of their illegal family business,. She makes a valiant effort to become the voice of reason.
Seasoned comedians Jerald Napoles and Pekto’s cameos are likewise praiseworthy. They appear in the fictional “Poging Pulis” segment in Eat Bulaga, in which Coco, as Jack, is a fellow contestant.
In the Q&A portion, Jerald’s character makes a comical social commentary on how the Philippines lost one of its 7,107 islands.
Maine’s fans will not be disappointed in seeing their idol hold her own beside established stars Vic and Coco.
The TV host-actress, who rose to fame as one-half of the phenomenal AlDub love team, has always been vocal about her struggles in the acting department.
She seems to have overcome her stumbling blocks because in this movie, she’s more relaxed and confident onscreen.
Yes, she has a scene with Arjo, with whom she has developed a friendship with while filming, and it’s quite a tight scene.
Over-all, Jack Em Popoy: The PulisCredibles is an enjoyable viewing experience that’s worth what’s left of your 13th month pay and your little ones’ collected aginaldo.
Ed's Note: The "PEP Review" section carries the views of individual reviewers, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the PEP editorial team.