Movie Review: Manila Kingpin – The Asiong Salonga Story

Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story is a film made by Scenema Concept International, distributed thru VIVA Films and with help of CMB Film services. It has an all-star cast led by Jeorge Estregan, Carla Abellana, Phillip Salvador, Joko Diaz, Ketchup Eusebio, Yul Servo, Baron Geisler, Jay Manalo, John Regala, Jaycee Parker, Ping Medina, Paloma, Valerie Concepcion, Dennis Padilla, and a whole lot more. Screenplay by Roy Iglesias and Rey Ventura, Directed by Tikoy Aguiluz and produced by Maylyn Enriquez and Leonard Villalon. 

It is one of the 7 entries on the 37th Metro Manila Film Festival held within the period of December 25, 2011 – January 7, 2012.

Its story is based on the life and times of one of the Philippines’ “Public Enemy #1” in  the name of Nicasio Salonga. He was named Hito, Asiong and Manila Kingpin for doing Robin hood-like tactics. He stole money from other gangs just to give money to the poor. And self-proclaimed owning Tondo and protecting his people from the other gangsters and rivals. He turned out to be popular then and a Liberal party follower. On how he managed to fight and brutally kill his enemy hoodlums.; He faced his life sentence and managed to get passed by the police and the penalties of his numerous cases; how strong his advocacy for change, and even his untimely death of that fateful day of October 7, 1951.

However, this film was hampered by controversy inside its personnel and its releases. Movie Director Tikoy Aguiluz took a legal action that removes his name from the reel, promotional materials and that includes even in the side of social media and the internet. He prompted to take the action due to reason that there are scenes that had been re-shooted without his consent. Another thing is the so-called “sabotage.” In fact, this film was shown to only 17 out of 51 movie theaters in Metro Manila in Christmas Day of 2011, prompting lead actor whom was also known as Laguna Governor ER Ejercito to cry “Sabotage!”

But here’s my take: 
  • Technical aspects, they’re really doing good. Even if there are some bits of lapses, it doesn’t really matter. They executed things up with as perfect as they could. I’m talking about visual effects by the way. The sounds, musical scoring, very appropriately. What I really mean is that in some cases or scenes in this film that may went wrong in the eyes of the viewers, some factors also filled its gap — which is good to keep the momentum and flow as the story goes by.
  • Story. Well, I know some excerpts of this movie were not really shown or the other way around, but at least what more can I say? Of all the 7 entries of MMFF, this thing’s a real deal! I mean, real story, real news, everything. And one more thing — Quotable quotes. There are lines from the movie where you can feel the real swag of one’s character.
  • Cast. Nothing more to say. It’s always been like every year that every movie entry to the film fest were star-studded. What’s the difference on this movie is that perhaps the mixed fusion. There were old veterans of action movies in this one with the younger ones whom were representing the other side of today. (You know what I mean, perhaps)
  • Soundtrack. I haven’t heard yet any songs from the other movies if there are any, but the 2 tracks showcased in this film were barely amazing. Ely Buendia had a cameo role in one of scenes where he was playing the band’s singer for the movie track “La Paloma,” while the other track “Hari ng Tondo” were performed by rapper Gloc-9 and Denise Barbacena.

see the enitre playlist at:

Well, whether they’re running last or not in terms of sales-speaking, I can only tell another thing: This film deserves to win! If not here, then at the international side of life. (Well, it’s kinda impressive that they have won several awards in the last year’s awarding night) Lead actor, whose uncle former-Philippine President Joseph Ejercito Estrada also played the lead role of the same movie in 1961, insists that the goal is not to be the festival box-office top-grosser, but instead focused on the other side. “Our objective is to make a quality film that we can proudly send to festivals abroad.” He is pleased with the high mark from the CEB. “It made us forget all the hardships and sleepless nights.”

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  1. May mga tanong na di nasagot sa movie,example bkit maraming pera si Asiong,pero sa kabuuan maganda ang movie,Influence ng Sin City,Max Payne,Casa Blanca,Etc yung cinematography..Tapos ganda ng soundtrack,my cameo pa si Idol Ely Buendia,Tapos Gloc 9 yung OST.ginamit yung Mad World ng Tears for Fears.Cool di ba?..Tataka bkit konti n lang quality film na ganito,yung mga drama natin Inu-ulit lang storya di kagaya nung 80’s oro plata mata,etc.tapos love story natin saksakan ng kakornihan atsaka mga comedy ni vic sotto.Yung Panday maganda sana kaya lang ginaya ang mga monster sa Clash of The Titans,Eragon,Etc..Bakit di sila gumawa nung sariling atin,Higanteng Tikbalang,Kapre,Manananggal,etc?

    • actually nung ni-research ko yung story behind nyan e may mga events din na parang hindi naipakita o hindi nasunod sa plot ng movie.

      i had the same though as yours pagdating sa present trend ng mga pelikula sa pinas ngayon. you can blame it on commercialism + piracy as its poison pill. samahan mo pa ng colonial mentality ng karamihan dyan.

      it’s a tough time for them to rise anew, and let’s face it.

  2. Heh, two things irked me really bad about this movie (among other things). First, the instrumental of Mad World. I couldn’t stop smacking my face. 😛 The other thing was when one of the guys disappeared, then reappeared on a bicycle, shooting in slow motion. I laughed out loud a bit and proclaimed “whaaaaat?” I have things against this film…and I was just a bit disappointed after seeing the trailer. I would really like to see what the director’s cut looks like because I’m sure some things are clearer. Had nice cinematography though. 🙂

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