Hari ng selda: Anak ni baby ama 2 (2002, Philippines)
I haven’t had access to this with subtitles, sadly. And I’m not even sure of what the title means; Tagalog is notoriously tricky. I think it means something like: ‘King of the cell: Son of the baby father’, but it could just as easily be ‘King of the cell: his fling with a little rich kid.’
Robinhood Padilla (or Robin to his friends) wrote and stars in this film, in which he apparently reprises his role as Anghel from Anak ni baby ama (1990). It seems likely that he also drew in part upon his real-life experience as a prisoner in Manila’s New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City (where he apparently served part of a two-year sentence for illegal weapons possession in the late ’90s before converting to Islam and being pardoned).
He shares centre stage with Angelica (Angelika dela Cruz), who is a sweet, virginal college student from a good family, approaching graduation. In her college trip to Bilibid, the national penitentiary, she sees prisoner Anghel (Padilla) – and falls for him. Anghel commands fear and respect in the prison and is initially annoyed by Angelica’s attention, but later succumbs to her charms after she removes a bullet from his chest (I think) and has a gun held to her head by a jail official (while Anghel holds a gun to the official’s). If that doesn’t make you want to stay romantically attached to a heavy criminal, nothing will.
Later, but not before they marry, of course, there are syrupy love scenes… after he avails himself of the opportunity to escape during a mass breakout (in which guards then shoot many defenceless prisoners, and avenged to a small degree later by one guard being bound and having bullants placed down his pants and a rat taped to his body in a bottomless box. Oh, and through a gun-battle riot back at Bilibid as well).
The New Bilibid Prison, which features in the film, opened in 1941, so the ‘New’ part is a bit relative. The storyline doesn’t claim to be new… and isn’t. But a prisoner resisting the interest of a young attractive girl, however fleetingly, just might be.
And, yes, I do appreciate that it’s a little rude to rate a film understanding only the bits that lapse into English. But I guess I’m always a little suspicious of men who write screenplays about charismatic men to whom beautiful, much younger women are fatally attracted… and then cast themselves in the lead role.
Posted on April 25th, 2016 at 7:57 pm. Updated on April 25th, 2016 at 7:57 pm.
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