seeks to replicate the success of Ang Panday
in the most direct way possible: by essentially creating the same movie. The fated hero Flavio yet again shows up in a bunch of sandy locations and fights off waves of bad guys that never seem to be able to do him much harm. There are hints of something developing, but the film glosses over them as it heads to a cliffhanger that promises a third iteration of this already tired franchise.
The movie picks up more or less where the last one left off. Hero Flavio (Bong Revilla) has just defeated the evil wizard Lizardo (Phillip Salvador), and is getting ready to marry the lovely Maria (Iza Calzado). That is, until the witch Baruha (Lorna Tolentino) resurrects Lizardo. Maria is then kidnapped, sending Flavio on yet another quest to defeat the evil wizard.
Itâs pretty much the same movie as the last one. There details are different, but it all plays out the same. Flavio bravely declares his intention to take out Lizardo, and then goes off in a random direction, encountering all sorts of villains along the way. Thereâs no sense of progression or geography to his journey. He largely just goes from one pointless fight to another. Itâs actually a lot like watching the Power Rangers
. Flavio is brought to some barren location, he fights off a wave of faceless, completely ineffectual baddies, and then the movie cuts back to main villains, who bemoan their inability to get beat the hero. Baruha might as well be Rita Repulsa.
Themes are hinted at but never developed. Flavio is warned not to have too much faith in his sword, but ends up needing his sword to win anyway. The villagers are lectured about the way they treat their heroes, but thatâs dropped by the middle of the movie. Thereâs a whole thing about pacifism thatâs hilariously simplistic. In the end, the film is just about setting up these big, effects-heavy set pieces. The movie emphasizes spectacle over any sort of logic. In the final battle, people from Flavioâs village are fighting as well. Never mind that they wouldnât have known that the battle was taking place, and that the movie never showed them arriving. There just needs to be more people fighting.
At the center of all this is Bong Revilla, who is just as effective as he was the last time. Which is to say: heâs not very effective. He plays Flavio like a mannequin, with no thought put toward the characterâs growth or the internal conflicts that might be plaguing him. He looks stiff in the action sequences, which are pretty much the same action sequences from the last film. There isnât a whole lot to say about the rest of the cast. Phillip Salvador and Lorna Tolentino have some fun as the villains of the piece, but theyâre never really menacing. Marian Rivera is fine as well, though her strengths are somewhat underplayed.
It might be safe to say that if you liked Ang Panday
, youâre going to at least enjoy Panday 2
. In the same way that if you like the first slice of pizza, youâd probably enjoy a second. Though some pieces have been moved around, it is more or less the same film. It features the same fights, the same bad guy, and the same inability to move the story forward in any meaningful way. The production values remain high, with much of the same crew handling the production design and the special effects. But itâs all just fancy toppings on what is clearly a subpar crust. Itâs hard to stomach a second time.