Bringing back the action

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GEORGE VAIL KABRISTANTE

It has become an oft-repeated reminder among mainstream moviemakers about how action flicks virtually died with the passing of the King of Action Movies Fernando Poe Jr. Or perhaps even long before his monumental death as claimed by serious industry observers.

Cited as reason could be that local viewers long exposed to watching Hollywood action films with panache have virtually outgrown local productions wanting much in craftsmanship and realistic story content.

Enough that Caveat has yet to see receipts of a local action film, mainstream or indie, making break-even or raking in returns at the tills. The latest to dive into the ditch was Toto Natividad’s action caper billed “Double Barrel.”

This explains why even the more popular and extant junior action stars have avoided falling into the trap of resuscitating their respective career by venturing into movie productions themselves. For to do so is perhaps short of financial suicide.


Action star of the late ’70s to early ’80s Rhene Imperial, however, thinks otherwise, saying that if the problem is viewership or audience reach, by all means grab the bull by its horns. He means that producers ought to re-educate themselves in selling movies thru the unconventional way of promoting and marketing, not to rely solely on walk-ins or spending one’s fortune on TV ads and the like.

Over and above, however, Rhene emphasizes that the key to selling a movie is in the commercial viability of one’s finished product, not to necessarily bank on its purely aesthetic content.

This goes without saying that the film in-progress titled “Jacob … Ubusin Ang Druglords” with him in the lead is his own guinea pig of sort to test his logistics of selling a film in the most unorthodox way.

As the cliche goes, the film title itself is as timely as today’s era of fake news and controversial headlines. Rhene considers the film at hand his comeback vehicle helmed one of his favorite directors, William Mayo.

In the long hiatus that he was not seen onscreen nor highly visible to the public and showbiz, Rhene confessed to having lived the life of an insulated, though high-valued gambling lord for years during and after Martial Law. One wonders if it was a case of becoming himself a mimic of the underground and notorious characters he had portrayed many times over onscreen?

Some of the popular movies he made were “Ninong,” “Boy Singkit,” “Tatak Munti” and “Sigue-Sigue Brothers.”

Power and influence then easily came to his head as money flowed from his hands like water. He thought he was untouchable and on top of the world as he took with impunity to sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll until hubris came down on him through successions of heart attacks that were almost irreversible.

But he believes God gave him a second wind in life. His laminated heart melted away. He is now a certified preacher, a born-again pastor. Rhene Imperial would like to believe that his film project is in fact an offering to God and an atonement to the people he once turned away from.

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