'Jack Em Popoy: The Puliscredibles' review: Complacency kills the fun

The biggest problem of Mike Tuviera’s Jack Em Popoy: The Puliscredibles is not that it’s not entertaining, because it is. More accurately, it is for very specific target markets – the combined audiences of Vic Sotto’s Eat Bulaga and Coco Martin’s Ang Probinsyano, two television shows with ample captured markets.

One of its bigger problems is that it never endeavored to expand its kind of fun. For all the film’s crisscrossing between comedy and action, it never felt anything more than just a generic hodgepodge.

Foe of creativity

Complacency is the biggest foe of creativity, and the creative team behind Jack Em Popoy have all the reason to be complacent.

With nary an effort and just having Sotto, Martin and Maine Mendoza do their usual shtick of throwing a random punchline or performing acrobatic stunts or making funny faces, the film already showcases the type of lowbrow fun that its audience has gotten very addicted to. If the ultimate goal is to simply entertain, then Jack Em Popoy is able to complete its mission without even lifting a finger.

Casting alone makes the film a hit.

The jumbled plot is perhaps the most novel thing in the film.

Popoy (Sotto) is a senior cop who despite his years in service hasn’t risen the ranks. Jack (Martin) joins the department as his partner. Emily (Mendoza), Popoy’s adopted daughter and also a cop, is at first at odds with Jack but after a few missions together, develops an affection for the brash newcomer. As with most actioners being produced recently, evil comes in the form of a drug dealing family who has something to do with all the tragedies that link Jack, Emily and Popoy.

Recycled jokes

This doesn’t mean that the story is revolutionary because it definitely is not.

It is just that everything else in the film feels second-hand. The jokes are recycled. The cameos are unnecessary. The action sequences are sloppy and lazily conceived.

For example, the trio of Wally Bayola, Jose Manalo and Paolo Ballesteros again play closeted gays, unimaginatively repeating the farce instead of attempting at some semblance of innovation. Characters appear out of nowhere, contributing nothing to the progression of the plot and existing only to crowd the film with familiar faces.

Definitely, Jack Em Popoy doesn’t stray far from its variety show origins. There is some dancing, rap, and comedy skits to shroud the glaring lack of substance. The meager plot only frames its supposedly fun but nonsensical bits.

Death count

The other bigger problem of Jack Em Popoy is that for all its focus on boorish fun, it makes the many deaths it showcases, especially in its climax, so casual to the point of callousness.

Sure, the film is an actioner and people, especially the nameless and faceless thugs, will get shot, but the film, with its propensity to segue to jokes, almost wants its audience to be desensitized to senseless shootings and killings. 

If this kind of violence-based entertainment has become so mainstream to the point that it is readily fed to children, then there is a bigger issue here than just the gross lack of creative ambition. – Rappler.com

 

Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas' Tirad Pass.

Since then, he's been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.