Roman Perez Jr. once again showcases his unique blend of gritty violence and explicit content in a movie that dives deep into the tumultuous world of street gang wars. Vivamax subscribers are in for a treat with an engaging story of animosity, power dynamics, and betrayal set against a backdrop of raw emotion and physicality.
Viva executives continue to trust Perez, acknowledging his knack for delivering precisely what the streaming platform’s audience desires. He crafts stories that not only entertain but captivate.
Set in “Sitio Diablo”, a notorious slum near Baseco Compound, the narrative revolves around the power struggles among its criminal factions. The Diablos once held sway here, led by the formidable Tonix (played by Benj Sangalang), but his incarceration paved the way for the Ilustrados and the Aztecs to dominate. Kiko Estrada portrays Bullet, the leader of the Ilustrados, and is romantically involved with Aina (AJ Raval), the sibling of Tonix. This complex web of relationships intensifies when a corrupt officer (portrayed by Joko Diaz) orchestrates Tonix’s release, further fueling the fires of conflict and rivalry.
The film paints a vivid picture of how vulnerable communities like Sitio Diablo are exploited by political bigwigs, primarily during elections. The grim depiction of the locality, replete with squalor and deterioration, provides an apt setting for Perez’s storytelling style. The infusion of hiphop music further accentuates the raw, urban ambiance of the story.
AJ Raval delivers a commendable performance, torn between loyalty and love, drawing parallels to the timeless tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. A particular scene, where her character reveals a twist, stands out as a testament to her talent.
However, it’s Kiko Estrada who shines the brightest as Bullet. His portrayal is both intense and nuanced, proving his mettle as a leading actor. A scene where he persuades AJ’s character to seek a better life elsewhere showcases his ability to evoke emotion without resorting to dramatic overtures. Contrasting with another character’s boisterous presence, Kiko’s subtle approach proves more impactful. His promising performance suggests a bright future ahead in the industry, and one can only hope for more roles that tap into his potential.