I feel utter disdain in having “Gandarrappido: the Revenger Squad” close my MMFF experience. It exemplifies everything that is deplorable with the current MMFF: it has minimal substance (if any), motivated solely by profit, and does not contribute whatsoever in cultivating moviegoers’ tastes in local films.
Directed by Bb. Joyce Bernal, “Gandarrappido: The Revenger Squad” tells the story of Gandarra (Vice Ganda), Rapiddo (Daniel Padilla), and Kweenie (Pia Wurtzbach) – superheroes living in disguise among ordinary humans. Together, they must defeat an enemy from their past, Mino, whose m.o. is to use fake news to spread chaos and confusion in order to gain back his true form.
One hopes that there’s more to this uninspired and confusing premise, but sadly, that is all there is to “The Revenger Squad”. It’s two agonizing hours of tasteless slapstick, poor screenwriting, and a bunch of people yelling at each other that they’re ugly. The storyline is so bad that it’s almost embarrassing to see the actors on screen. It’s also worth mentioning the poorly-designed costumes, which are complete eyesores; you wonder if they could have been more literal with their outfits.
The filmmakers were probably hoping that going viral online also translates to ticket sales, seeing how they dumped a hodge-podge of pop culture trends and memes so randomly into the storyline. Personalities of online fame like KaladKaren Davila and Gigil Carlos make several appearances in the movie, and it even puts on a lame attempt at social relevance by adding fake news as a central element of the plot. This attracts mass appeal, but the film could have done a lot more in effectively incorporating these trends into the story. Instead, fake news was thrown around meaninglessly, and terrorism is depicted as nothing more than a bunch of goons who can’t seem to land a single hit.
Strangely, the film breaks the fourth wall every now and then as an added attempt at humor. At some point a camera is shown, Vice Ganda’s Gandarra asks for Direk Joyce, and Daniel Padilla even calls out his real-life mother, Karla Estrada, who also appears in the movie as the superhero, Barna. Sadly, breaking the fourth wall does nothing to salvage the movie, except make the whole of it feel more confused and awkward.
MMFF’s justification that they want a family-friendly movie that kids can enjoy gets thrown out of the window with “Gandarrappido: The Revenger Squad.” How this film got a G rating despite its unnecessary and bloody violence is beyond me. And don’t get us started with shit about moral and values, because fat shaming and physical violence (a prominent cast member in itself and has more screen time than Pia Wurtzbach), is in no way funny nor kid-friendly.
Sadly, no matter the pile of scathing reviews “The Revenger Squad” gets, it will still become a “blockbuster hit”. In fact, it already is. Star Cinema would still get away with raking in millions from producing shameful, mediocre movies with the justification that this is what the masses want. I say this is what the masses consume, because they aren’t offered anything better. We deserve more than these crash-grab films created by capitalists who disguise their greed as entertainment.
Gandarrapido!: The Revenger Squad
2017 / Comedy, Fantasy / PH
Direction: Joyce Bernal
Screenplay: Jonathan Albano, Daisy Cayanan, Danno Kristoper Mariquit
Stars: Vice Ganda, Daniel Padilla, Pia Wurtzbach
The story of Gandarra (Vice Ganda), Rapiddo (Daniel Padilla), and Kweenie (Pia Wurtzbach), who are all trying to attain and protect what is most precious to them. Family is the only thing that binds them, but as they stick to their separate missions, dark secrets arise and threaten to destroy everything they hold dear. Can they set aside their differences to find the only great power that will make them “super”?