MOVIE REVIEW: Guerrero is resilient

Knocked out.

Miguel Guerrero (Julio Caesar Sabenorio) rushes to his brother Ramon Guerrero (Genesis Gomez). Miguel sees the unconscious body of his brother. He runs towards Ramon.

The ring is a clue of sorts. This hints that Guerrero is not going to be your standard family drama, it is going to be a bit quirkier and more interesting.

Carlo Ortega Cuevas’ 2013 intentionally acclaimed film ‘Walang Take Two’ delivered a heartwarming story with bite. His portrait of second chances owed much to the quotable lines delivered by the characters.

Cuevas still makes the effort with his long-awaited follow-up. Inspiring quotes are one thing, the emotional language of cinema is another. The film has the makings of laughter and poignant scenes. Cuevas staged it to fully utilized the characters’ different emotions.

Guerrero begins as quirky comedy but becomes a sharp-edged drama of love, family and faith.

We first see Genesis in the movie, roaring like a lion, as droplets of sweat pour down his face. It sends the audience into a tizzy. Immediately, the camera zooms back to a middle-class home. Guerrero spends a lot of time in the beginning to give its central family, especially Ramon, a certain personality.

The film is taking a challenge – tapping new actors – but this becomes the film’s strength.

Gomez seamlessly embodies brave at the hands of events that are beyond his control. Sabenorio is funny and good-natured. Their mother is a typical matriarch.

Stiff in manner and polite in language, Joyselle Cabanlong, who plays the role of Abby, is a combination of love and passion.

Mia Suarez’ casting is a huge part of the film’s success and it is solid across the board, beginning with a flawless and appealing performance of Gomez.

“Ang tunay na matapang ay marunong magtimpi.”

“True braveness can control anger.” The scene when Sabenorio’s character hits his playmate teaches us to control our anger.

The film tackles different kinds of love – between brothers, a son and his mother, boy-meets-girl.

“Ang pagkunsinte ay hindi tunay na pagmamahal.” 

Love and tolerance are not the same. Gomez’ character tries to explain this to his brother when he was asked why he opted to dispute his younger brother instead of taking side with him amidst his wrong action.

The film not only stays true to the natural feelings of the actors, it adds love that enhances this already ordinary yet extraordinary story. It is more than just a boy-meets-girl that will lift your heart. Cuevas and Genive Tuban’s script works by hugging to specific details, like a stand-up show Gomez has to perform in front of Cabanlong. The film bounces between romance and comedy with ease, an especially impressive feat given the potential whiplash one could get jumping when Miguel tries to push Ramon to Abby.

The lead characters become closer. The relationship between the two Guerreros changed. The younger one seeks attention. The elder Guerrero could not find time, he is busy with Abby.

The film leaves a question to the parents – would you support your son’s dreams even if you are unhappy? Would you support him even if it will cause him danger.

The family’s matriarch is not supportive of Ramon’s dream to pursue boxing. But the lead character shows perseverance and passion that lead her mother to say, “wala naman akong magagawa, galingan mo na lang.” (I can’t do anything with your decision, just win the game)

These words manifest how Filipino parents love their children. They are supportive even if they have their own dreams for their sons and daughters. But dreams should not be influenced by the world – the film continues to share us life lessons.

Ramon has a rematch. His mother and Abby watch the game. Miguel recites the poem he wrote for his brother before his class. Ramon fell. Miguel sees the unconscious body of his brother. He runs towards Ramon. That is the story, that is the beginning.

Five years later, the unconscious Ramon wakes up. Everything has changed. Her mother died. The gym was destroyed. Abby has a family. Miguel cannot be found.

“Ang kuwento ng buhay ay hindi tungkol sa pagbagsak. Ito ay kuwento tungkol sa pagbangon.”

Life is about redeeming yourself from your fall. We see how Ramon accepted the change. We see him being introduced into a new faith – which later on became an answer to his questions.

All of these stories of a story maintain a cinematic quality, with credit going to cinematography director Giancarlo Escamillas and Christian Albert.

Cuevas injects his overly dramatic melody, forcibly manipulating to direct the audience’s emotions through ‘Nandiyan’ performed by Cabanlong.

Guerrero is a type of film that feels like it was carefully put together. It simply shows a man’s passion and braveness. There are moments where you’ll want to throw your popcorn at the screen out of frustration, times when you’ll laugh at Guerreros’ funny yet surprisingly heartwarming performance and more than a few instances of profound quotes.

“Ang bawal na salita – ‘yong salitang hindi ko na kaya.”

Do not just say, “I can’t take it anymore.” Guerrero teaches us to seize every opportunity and take challenges with faith. Guerrero is not just a Filipino, a boxer, a son, brother, lover. He is resilient. That is the message he wants us to take from his story.

ALSO READ: #GuerreroMovie kicks off with Red Carpet premiere

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Carlo Cuevas and Genesis Gomez with the Chairman and Executive Editor of VoicePoints

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About the Author

Paul Michael Jaramillo
Paul Michael JaramilloExecutive Editor
Paul is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a youth and environmental advocate, leader, writer, blogger, filmmaker and an organist. He’s the former Chairperson of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines-Ilocos Chapter. As a writer, he has found focus and interest on reproductive health, deaf rights, youth development. At the age of 14, he has fully embraced the call of leadership by leading student organizations and college publications. He was a recipient of the PGMA Campus Journalism Award. He joined and won national contests and published some articles related to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in a Spanish paper and website. Some of his articles were also published in leading Philippine news websites and featured in international organizations website.

He launched his career as a CPA in KPMG R.G. Manabat & Co. Paul is currently leading the Data and Analytics Network (and its university arm) of KPMG in the Philippines. He is also the Business Lead for Innovation. He provides trainings to KPMG professionals in the Philippines. He also joined Financial Services Academy for Shared Service Centres (SSC) as a presenter. He is part of the Technical Advisory Group of the Firm's Department of Professional Practice, focusing on data and analytics, audit methodology, accounting standards, root cause analysis, system of quality management, and financial statement quality control review. He represents the Firm as a resource and motivational speaker, arbiter, adjudicator and judge in academic conferences, audit conventions, accounting and audit cups, and audit case study competitions. He sits as a member of Root Cause Analysis team of the Firm. Paul is an Audit Methodology Champion and Workforce of the Future Champion of the Firm. He is also the Firm's System of Quality Management Implementation Manager.

Paul is the Review Master and Head Coach of PREMIERE Review School.

Paul is a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) and a Church officer in their locale congregation.