Rakenrol – The Review

The Hapipaks band was created because after years of being friends Odie (Jason Abalos) suddenly sees Irene as “Jackson” material. Basically Jackson is defined as the person you want to molest.

By the way, Irene is being played by Glaiza De Castro.

Anyway after they find a former Titik O axeman-turned-barista and an angst-driven drummer, they form an ambitious rock group that’s bound to make the OPM rock scene awesome again.

This is the review of Rakenrol!


*** SPOILER ALERT!!! ***

What I Liked:

The writing. The research. The acting. While I wouldn’t be surprised why Quark Henares and Diego Castillo had seriously extensive info on the history of Pinoy rock, there is a reason why I hate Trinoma for not screening this. This is an awesome movie! This is a barkada movie that a group of friends can converge at! I all of a sudden warped back to the days when OPM Bandmania is good and less angst-filled. The movie is mix of all the stoner flicks like Fanboys, Miss March, Empire Records, Harold and Kumar, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Happy Gilmore, and all those kinds of awesomeness. I’ve watched and I felt the acting here is genuine because let’s face it – it’s not as if there’s no kid that didn’t want to front a band.

The music is awesome. The references on various OPM band-related subjects are fine. While I am not a fan of Urbandub (sorry), I am happy that the band scene was ably represented in this flick. I kind of liked the Ely Buendia “Hugh Hefner from Miss March/Chubbs from Happy Gilmore” almighty figure shtick although people will definitely kind the scene cheesy. I dunno... maybe it’s just the fanboy in me.

Where is Parokya ni Edgar? 

Anyway, Jason Abalos struggled at the start of the movie but managed to hold his own playing Odie. I think his character is somewhat molded a la Jhun from the defunct Culture Crash segment One Day Isang Diwa (kung sino man humiram non sakin pakisoli). Fact is his character is kind of normal compared to the others in the movie and the audience needs to feel his underdog spirit before they can dig his persona.

Glaiza De Castro is great in this film. She’s basically “Jackson” in terms of acting and she didn’t come off as annoying despite being the ultimate rock geek. It was fun to see her dance to Disconnection Notice (she was part of the music video). Her naive groupie interactions with Diether Ocampo are also good.  Her first gig at Mayric’s is also epic.

Their love story is also swell. You can see the intensity between Odie and Irene during their confrontation scene.

Alwyn Uytingco amongst the four main cast members had the meatiest role. His curses were well-timed and of the four, his character garnered the most change. At the start of the movie you’ll hate him but in the end you see him getting the love. Hell, I can see the film getting anchored on his standpoint and I believe it will even look better.  

Ketchup Eusebio is the “most natural” actor in the film. I am actually surprised that he isn’t really used much as a sidekick in John Lloyd Cruz movies. My girlfriend exclaimed that it was as if his acting is effortless in the flick and his interactions with Jason Abalos and Alwyn Uytingco are solid. The cigarette-puffing purveyor of sanity in the group also had solid interactions with Jun Sabayton.

Speaking of Jun Sabayton, if you weren’t a fanboy of Strangebrew, TV5’s Word of the Lourd, or any Furball-inclined production, then BE ONE! Sabayton’s icky “intelligent Sammy Lagmay” approach in the movie is funny as hell. Actually he is funnier here compared to Ramon Bautista’s Flame character (a gay director minus the artistic qualities) and that says a lot considering the Ramon Bautista’s antics here were awesome (albeit short).  

Where is Tado?

Matet De Leon playing a fictional/real-life (eyng?) version of her self is cool. I thought they would have done more insanity in this idea considering how a stunt like this pushed Neil Patrick Harris’ career back to relevance. I was bent that all interactions in the movie will start with “diba ikaw yung batang cute dati”?

And last on the list is Diether Ocampo. He is the film’s version of Aldous Snow. More on this later.

The love story formed in the movie is kind of predictable but relatable. It has the Wonder Years effect on it where the point of view of Odie is talking us through on his early band experience. Come to think of it, it seems that Quark Henares and Diego Castillo researched more than the bands’ discography but band life in particular. We zero in at the different situations and problems that a band can have.

I remember a certain band breaking up because the vocalist broke up with the guitarist. I also remember a certain guitarist quit the band after his heart was stomped by the vocalist.

I also remember a band guy kissing a band guy.


Moving on.

What I Hated:

I don’t really hate the movie because I understood it. Given the circumstances though, I think the film needed to secure a broader audience in order for the film can work on mainstream. I mean my girlfriend was laughing at the jokes but she finds it hard to understand who the great Rakistas are.

I don’t really want to Diether Ocampo in my hate spot because he is perfect in portraying the annoying dick with the wonderful body and the rich kid status. However, I don’t know if he needs to emphasize his lines more or if he needs to Tagalize it. Instead of channelling Russell Brand maybe they could have it a la Baron Geisler or at least totally over the top it. Also the secondary characters are adorable than the four. I was actually hoping that we see more from Jun Sabayton and Ramon Bautista.

As for the secondary characters though, I think they dropped the ball on Ricardo Cepeda. The Genta Ogami shtick is outdated and people don’t even remember it. The real-life guy swindled people and help fund Roland Gan Ledesma action movies, Mateo Family showbiz careers, and Chibugan Na.

Do people miss Philippine Bengga Association?

I don’t think so.

Of course, the movie was rich in music but I just hoped the film featured popular bands and not those bands that they only know. One classic scene that could have used familiarity was the bed jumping scene where they featured Cambio’s Patlang. I like the song, no question about that, but maybe I would have gone with something mainstream to make people relate to the feeling they are having. Sandwich’s Sugod while gasgas is relatable. If they are bent on using a Cambio song, they could have used Pasaway. Imagine Odie and Irene jumping in slomo with that.

And maybe the ending could have been grander. I mean sure, it was set up by Ely Buendia (like I said... spoiler alert) but maybe there could have been more. Sure they are planning to have a star-crossed lover situation but like I said, the ending really failed to hook my satisfaction level. If this was me I would have given them an intimate moment while singing their last song where it either Irene will kiss Odie or leave him in tears.

This would set up the record bar scene where The Songs For Irene album is getting attention.

The Verdict:

Rakenrol is actually a very enjoyable movie. Watching the movie without the awesomeness of Dolby Surround sucks! SM Cinemas should really take care of their cinema’s audibility. Despite the kinks in its formation, I still tip my hat for the persons responsible for Rakenrol. I was cameo hunting throughout the movie and just like the fascination of Odie when he went to Jacci Rocha’s party, it would be an awesome experience to talk and drink in front the Ebe Dancel, Buddy Zabala, and the most awesome musicians that Pinoy Rock ever produced.

I am certain that this movie can have a sequel considering there are a lot of questions that weren’t really answered. Yes, the movie has franchise tendencies.

Like I said, I am seriously loving Philippine Cinema right now.

Game over!


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