Some live in passing by strictly observing their rule-bound job while others bleed to death by breaking the traditional rules to achieve something greater. Whichever case you may be in, the question is: how dedicated are you to your job, really? And worst comes to worst, how much are you willing to risk?
Stringing the audience along to the bloody, corrupt, and manipulative minds of those in power, On the Job is an engrossing action thriller that will make every Filipino proud and hungry at the same time.
It has been decades since the local film producers focused on the quality of a compelling action movie plot more than the success of proven romance-comedy formulas. Not until this year where director Erik Matti relived the desire by creating an action-packed film that has been 10 years overdue in the conception.
And surprisingly, Star Cinema is a part of this project. Yes, the mainstream production famous for the formulaic films took a risk and teamed up with Reality Entertainment to produce a big budget film meant for the local audience, yet premiered early this year in the Cannes Film Festival, receiving standing ovation from the foreign audience.
That’s a good sign, isn’t it?
Starting out with a line that says inspired by true events, the film gives a brief representation of how some prisoners were being released to accomplish killings under the order of those wealthy and powerful and if ever busted, has a ready alibi: how can they do the killings if they were in prison all this time?
Mario “Tatang” Maghari (Joel Torre) is a prisoner who sidelines as an experienced hitman training his protegè Daniel (Gerald Anderson) to replace him once he retires. Francis (Piolo Pascual) on the other hand, is a lawyer agent of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) who teamed up with the old and righteous SPO1 Joaquin Acosta (Joey Marquez) to study the case of successive killings. The encounter of the two groups lead to conflict in the film.
Meanwhile, former military Gen. Pacheco (Leo Martinez) and Congressman Manrique (Michael de Mesa) as Francis’ manipulative father-in-law, stand as the masterminds behind the killings.
One remarkable instance on the film is the steamy killing scene with dark musical scoring that casually drifts to a nursery song playing in the background right after the mission, emphasizing abrupt shift in the aura. It’s as if nothing happened and life goes on, even after a gruesome crime.
Why you should watch it:
Production design, tasteful cinematography, beautiful ensemble, and brilliant musical scoring –everything is applaudable. Here is a film that contradicts traditional spoon feeding of thoughts and feelings, instead it will let you do your own assessment and judgment. The overall aesthetics has left me speechless right after. You can see the characters flesh out, depicting the reason behind every decision they make, revealing that there will always be gray areas and no sure closures.
Zooming in to the unusually gritty prison system up to the highest government posts, On The Job kept me at the edge of my seat from the first get go scene up to the closing curtain.
You will be amazed by the portrayal of each actor. Joel Torre’s slick character as a hitman did not overshadow the fact that despite an odd job, he is still a loving husband to Angel Aquino and a caring father to Empress Schuck. Meanwhile, Gerald Anderson portrayed the role that was supposedly John Lloyd Cruz’s and challenged himself to go up a notch in his acting career, which he successfully delivered. Then there is Joey Marquez’s right comedic timing and eternal quest for truth and justice, eventually compromising his own son portrayed by JM de Guzman. And of course, Piolo Pascual as an outright good-looking agent torn between his family and call of duty. Rayver Cruz, if ever there’s a sequel, will probably play a major part so I’m definitely rooting for him.
The ensemble cast proves that there’s no big or small role because everything plays a vital part in the story.
I hope this will mark the beginning of the resurrection of quality Filipino action films because we’re hungry for more.
Watch the trailer HERE.