MARIA EXCELS, UNAPOLOGETICALLY, AT WHAT IT SEEKS TO BE: A FUN, PULPY, VIOLENT B-MOVIE ACTION ROMP, BUILT UPON REVENGE
‘Maria‘ transports us into a compelling story of a woman scorned—a plethora of unknown power that women can hold.
The story follows Lily/Maria (Cristine Reyes) who thought she escaped the world of killings when he retired to a happy life with his husband, Bert (Guji Lorenzana). However, when a series of unfortunate events unfolded that led to Maria’s happy world collapsing —she is forced to bolster herself once again into the messy underworld she swore to leave behind.
A QUICK SYNOPSIS
She likely would’ve lived a peaceful life if not for the arrogance and brutality of Kaleb (Ivan Germaine Padilla), a young mob prince who happens to be Maria’s ex-lover. He cruelly snuffs out the last vestige of Maria’s humanity. Of course, the entire cartel got into this as well — poor Victor (KC Montero) thou, who pre-emptively jumped in. he has no idea how bad things will turn out for him and his gang; he has no inkling whatsoever as to the strong ties of Maria to the ultimate assassin Greg (Ronnie Lazaro) or the grave repercussions of messing with a legendary assassin. But Victor’s father (Freddie Webb) knows all too well what kind of maelstrom of death is coming – and he makes any and all preparations possible to bring Maria down by ordering both his sons to join forces to take her out for good.
The product of newcomer writer Yz Carbonell—and an unexpected union between Cristine Reyes and the amazing stunt coordinator Sonny Sison -turned this film into an amazing action-packed film that boasts a lot of amazing effects that could easily be likened to our Hollywood counterparts. Though we wished that the team focused more on a single deeper engrossing storyline than trying to punch in a lot of half-assed stories, this film is still widely entertaining.
Director Pedring Lopez and Producer Rex Lopez truly did show how Filipino films can excel. Unapologetically, it certainly exceeded what it seeks to be: a fun, pulpy, violent B-movie action romp, built upon a plain old revenge plot.
The script for the film’s main highlights are the pleasantly surprising comic relief-styled puns by Greg that never takes itself too seriously and delights in creating humor amidst all the brutality.
So I guess our take is this—’Maria’ is coded to shock and surprise you. It will give you a preview of how women can actually rule and dominate the once male-centered genre of action. It will show you that our Filipino production teams are actually very capable once they are equipped with the right budget and tools, and it showcases how we should have more producers who are willing to take risks.
Lastly, this goes to show that the Filipino audience is ready (dying even) to get more out of the Philippine Cinema, out with the usual “hugot themed” stories or even the usual “kabit” storylines—it is high time for the Filipino creators out there to take note of projects such as ‘Maria’, may this be an inspiration to future filmmakers and producers.
We believe that now is a great time to explore beyond the “love” genre, there are a whole lot of storylines out there waiting to be told, and I could probably be the middlemen in between—as I speak for our Filipino viewers when I say that enough is enough—we need creativity, we need stories that make us think.
As for the actual narrative: it’s blessedly simplistic and unsophisticated, with no illusions of grandeur: Maria is wronged, someone has to pay, and anyone who gets in the way as she makes her odyssey of vengeance ends up in a body bag. Simple yet tastefully depicted with blood and more blood.
Check out our recap of the Maria Red Carpet Premiere right here:
Have you seen Maria in a cinema near you? Or are you planning to see it soon? Hurry and let us know what you think! You can leave your thoughts down the comment section below or send us a message on our Facebook or Twitter @UDoUPh.